Gilford residents give views on future of mill

Gilford Mill
Gilford Mill

Ideas ranging from an hotel to a community hub to a retirement village were among those put forward by the public for the future of Gilford Mill.

Members of the community had been invited to share their views at a public information meeting organised by the mill’s new owners, the Karl Group.

The Karl Group acquired the mill in 2016 and since then have cleaned up the site, including clearing the hogweed, and made the building structurally sound.

The meeting was attended by representatives of the company as well as a consultant tasked with the job of collating and considering all viewpoints.

Upper Bann DUP MLA Jonathan Buckley, who attended the meeting, said Gilford Community Centre was “packed out” due to the high level of interest in the future of the listed building.

He said, “The Karl Group were very interested to hear the community perspective. They told the audience they want to see a tangible, community benefit from whatever they do with the building.

“Of course, they have to look at what is feasible in terms of money.

“The people of Gilford have had their hopes raised and then dashed so many times on the mill and they want to see something really happening this time.”

There have been a number of plans for the mill over the past number of years, which have all come to nothing, ranging from a retail centre to an hotel and art gallery.

The mill, which was built in 1841, was once the largest industrial undertaking on the Upper Bann before production ceased in the 1980s.

Urging the Karl Group to continue to engage with residents, Mr Buckley added, “Gilford Mill has played a central part in the village’s history and widespread feeling exists for it to be restored so that it can play an important role as Gilford moves forward in the months and years ahead.”