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Plans afoot for Mill of Black Monks expansion

By Katia Harston, Chief Reporter Friday 2nd May 2014

THE man who saved the building that is now Mill of the Black Monks restaurant still dreams of incorporating it into a cloisters-style development with overnight accommodation.


Owner of the building, former architect Malcolm Lister, 76, was granted approval for the 30-bed accommodation block scheme in October 1997.


However, to make it work he needed an adjoining third of an acre piece of land, owned by Barnsley Council, which he wanted to use as a car park for his proposed development.


But he claims his repeated attempts to buy it from November 1997 onwards have been hampered by Barnsley Council, despite intent of contract of sale being exchanged at the time.


Malcolm believes the reason the sale was delayed is because the council wanted to put a visitor centre there instead.


His plans have come to a halt because the sale has still not been resolved, more than 16 years on.


Mr Lister, who lives in Wakefield, said: "When I was restoring the mill I knew it was such an important building so I wanted to improve the area around it.

 

"I am 76 and was 52 when I started this and my son said, 'why not let it go dad?' but it's not in my vocabulary."
A council spokesman said the land is open space and it wanted to protect this.


He said 'a consistent position' was taken that the council would be prepared to sell the land if Mr Lister obtains a relevant planning permission for it. He said no contract had ever been signed.


"All the council has refused to do is to sell the land in the absence of such planning consent. Mr Lister has never progressed an application for planning permission."


He said senior officers have looked into concerns raised by Mr Lister and 'there is no evidence to suggest attempts were made to deliberately frustrate his aims'.


The mill, now used as an Italian restaurant, was built in about 1150 with parts dating back to about 700 AD.


It fell into disrepair and in the 1980s was owned by the council and used as a paint store.


The building had sunk into the ground and Malcolm used hydraulic jacks to raise it by six feet before refurbishing it and opening it as a pub.