Finding a future for Historic Ellesmere Yard
By: Janet Richardson
BUSINESSES and new enterprises are being encouraged to come forward and express an interest in becoming part of a unique canalside heritage location in Ellesmere, in the historic market town in north Shropshire.
Ellesmere Yard is located just outside the town on the Llangollen Canal, formerly the Ellesmere Canal. Much of the site is listed grade II* including the remaining blacksmiths forge and joiners shop, dry dock and various outbuildings. The Yard’s development dates from around 1806, once typical, is now a rare example of an unspoilt canal yard.
The Canal & River Trust has commissioned Hyder Consulting to explore the options available for the reuse and adaptation of the Yard which was reputedly, once the workplace of Thomas Telford. The Yard continues to this day, 200 years later, as an operational yard for the maintenance of the local canal network and is a base for the newly established Trust.
The historic buildings and canal facilities will require substantial investment for their longer term conservation and also to bring them into a more economically viable use. The Trust are working to identify mechanisms to attract new investment and funding, however, finding new economically viable uses for building is also essential to underpinning this new investment.
The buildings lend themselves to a mix of use traditional and contemporary uses, and the character and importance of the site means this is a unique opportunity for businesses looking for a heritage and canalside location with potential to attract visitors and continue the tradition of using traditional skills.
The Yard benefits from a fully operational dry dock, a working blacksmith forge, carpenters workshop, storage building and offices. New and existing businesses are being asked to come forward with their own suggestions for the Yard. As well as the Trust retaining its offices on site, initial work has identified the Yard has potential for a variety of new uses including visitor related enterprises, office, light industry particularly those that reflect the history and use of traditional crafts and skills including blacksmiths and carpentry. Conversion of the building could create opportunities for new workshops and studios.
For further information and to express and interest please contact Tom Watson on 02920 926714 or email: Tom.Watson@hyderconsulting.com
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