A final farewell to Berry’s chair works factory

Demolition in progress - the site of the former H.J. Berry and Sons  chair works
Demolition in progress - the site of the former H.J. Berry and Sons chair works
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Going, going, almost gone ... a landmark former Lancashire chair works in Chipping will soon be consigned to the pages of history - literally.

Demolition work at the former H.J. Berry and Sons’ factory in Chipping is now in its final phase.

The long established family run business, renowned for its rush seated chairs and other fine furniture, closed in 2010 when it went into administration.

Current owners SCPi Bowland of Bolton, part of SCP Investments, say they will soon be remarketing the site and the adjacent Grade II listed Kirk Mill, which has been restored.

The mill and factory site was first marketed by their agents Savills as a prime development site with planning permission for uses such as a prestigious hotel, spa, restaurant and wedding complex last year.

SCPi Bowland company director Steve Chicken said:“We’re getting lot of interest in the scheme. We’re planning on relaunching as soon as demolition is done - hopefully that will be in the next three weeks or so. The factory has almost gone.”

All that remained of the former chair works’ main factory building at the start of this week was the facade and section which fronts on to the highway. Demolition slowed recently because of the need for asbestos removal.

Meanwhile the historic stone built 18th century Kirk Mill has been restored. Mr Chicken said: “It has been completely re-roofed and re-pointed.”

The agents say the site provides a “unique opportunity to undertake an exceptional development in one of Lancashire’s historical villages” and to “comprehensively redevelop the historic former cotton-spinning mill”.

Noting that the consented scheme will form the centre piece of the wider Kirk Mill Conservation Area, Savills adds: “This is a rare opportunity to acquire one of the best surviving examples of an ‘Arkwright-type’ mill in Lancashire with consent for extensive extensions, mill pond and land.”

Savills’ director Tom Cunningham said the site might be sold, rented or managed: “We are just going out on a flexible basis to see what interest is out there.”