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Bringing Mills into the new Millennium

PUBLISHED: 10:41 12 August 2015 | UPDATED: 10:41 12 August 2015

Silvertown's Millennium Mills

Silvertown's Millennium Mills

Archant

Take a walk around Silvertown in a decade’s time and chances are most of it will be unrecognisable.

Inside one of the rooms in the Millennium MillsInside one of the rooms in the Millennium Mills

Three thousand homes, a new school and plenty of offices are set to be built in the area as part of a long term project.

But in the centre of the regeneration stands one landmark, linking the area’s past and present.

The Millennium Mills, built at the turn of the 20th century, was for many years a bustling hub for the flour industry.

Now it is hoped it can play an important role once more.

The view from the top of the Millennium MillsThe view from the top of the Millennium Mills

Olaide Oboh, who works for site developers Silvertown Parnership, said: “A lot of people have heard of the ExCeL and City Airport but not of us.

“We want to put Silvertown on the map.”

The first phase in the area’s £3.5billion development is to redevelop the 60ft high Mills, due to be completed by 2018.

The building will become a centre for start-up businesses, with subsequent phases seeing 3,000 homes built on the 62-acre site.

Some of the old equipment will be keptSome of the old equipment will be kept

According to OIaide, these will be a mixture of sizes and tenures

Site manager Paul Fawcett is in charge of the demolition work, which began in January.

He said: “We’re hoping to be finished by the end of the year.

“We have a lot of large machinery to save and preserve that will go back into the Mills later on.”

The Mills are undergoing a massive redevelopmentThe Mills are undergoing a massive redevelopment

Hundreds of items from the days of flour production have been put aside, with the intention of finding a new place for them inside the redeveloped Mills.

Quite how they will look will be down to people living in the area who can make suggestions for the best way to preserve the historic artefacts.

The top of the 60ft building offers spectacular views over London, while the iconic mural on the side can be seen from the air as planes take off from nearby London City Airport.

“It’s absolutely beautiful,” said Olaide.

A lot of work needs to be done to the buildingA lot of work needs to be done to the building

“We’re going to start major work next year but we’re going to keep the shell.

“It’s an important piece of history in the area and we want to keep that intact.”

As part of the redevelopment, a new footbridge will be built to link the Mills with Custom House, which will have both DLR and Crossrail services.

Left derelict for years, the Mills requires a lot of work.

Asbestos needs to be removed, holes in the floor need to be filled and the entire complex needs to be made structurally safe.

Once complete, however, the first phase will show a glimpse of the exciting, bustling future Silvertown has ahead of it.


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