A long-running saga over the future of a former Montrose textiles factory once branded a “monument” to slavery looks set to come to an end.
ARKTX Architects has submitted an application to covert the former Chapel Works, also known as Paton’s Mill, into 26 flats.
Founded 1795 as a linen and rope works, Chapel Works has been on the buildings at risk register for a number of years after closing in 1967.
The dilapidated building was due for complete demolition in 1991, but the order was overturned.
ARKTX Architects want to build 10 one-bed, eight two bedroom, and eight three bedroom flats.
A multi-million-pound development for 96 houses on the wider site was unanimously backed by councillors in 1999 but plans fell by the wayside.
At that time, the late SNP councillor Sandy West, who died in 2013, said he would have preferred the site to have been levelled after closure, and not retained as a “monument” to the conditions mill staff endured.
“It would have been different if this had been a religious shrine or another monument but it was simply a monument to people’s greed,” he said.
“Eight hundred people worked there but it was a job where the long hours and poor pay were more akin to slavery.”
The new socially-rented homes would be maintained by Hillcrest Housing Association, which manages around 6,000 homes in Angus, Dundee, Perthshire and other parts of Scotland.
In the planning statement, ARKTX Architects wrote: “The proposed residential development is of benefit to the site and to the immediate and wider context of Montrose.
“It helps to make the town more sustainable and provides a commendable use for a brownfield site, which has lain dormant for a number of years.
“By preserving and enhancing the historic character of the site, whilst bringing a new, much needed use to a derelict brownfield site in the conservation area.”
Angus Council still have to approve the application before any work can go ahead.
The façade – which has a large central arch with the date 1795 in the centre – is currently B-listed, with developers planning to retain and restore the wall in the new development.
The factory was once one of the earliest single storey spinning mills in the district, but the façade is now in very poor condition with windows boarded up and stonework crumbling away.