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Regeneration of the old combing proves a winner at Sunny Bank Mills


The regeneration of the historic Old Combing building at Sunny Bank Mills in Farsley, near Leeds, has proved to be winner with its occupiers.


Mill Kitchen and Grumpys, two of Farsley’s most popular cafes restaurants, are expanding within the building, while children’s play gym Jackaboos has signed a brand-new three-year lease.


Ailsa Youngson of the Mill Kitchen café and delicatessen explained: “This is tremendous news for us. We’re planning on using it to do all of our baking – we make all of our cakes and savoury bakes (sausage rolls, scones, quiches) in-house, so this will give us some useful extra space.


“We’ve also bought a bread oven and will start to bake our own bread for use in our sandwiches and on our breakfast menu with a view to expanding into retailing different types of bread and pastries.


“I think it’s a great next step for the business as we really enjoy producing as much of what we use in the kitchen as we can, not only so we can guarantee the quality and freshness of it but so we can tailor it to our tastes and requirements.


“We’re really happy with the location, we didn’t know much about it before we moved here but it’s a great spot for us to get customers from across the West Leeds area (and beyond) and Farsley seems to be going from strength to strength with lots of other independent businesses opening up.


“John and William Gaunt of Sunny Bank Mills have been great as landlords. We have been impressed from the beginning with their attention to detail, knowledge of their business and commitment to doing things to a high standard,” said Ailsa.


Meanwhile Alex Rogerson of Grumpys commented: “The expansion to our back of house and kitchen area will allow us to become even more creative with our menu. The additional space will mean we can experiment with new side dishes and desserts to accompany our popular wood fired pizza menu. We also look forward to adding new drinks products along with an extra craft beer line on the bar.”

The popularity of the Old Combing received another boost with the news that children’s play gym Jackaboos had signed a new three-year lease.


Owner Angie Walker explained:  “For over 13 years Jackaboos has had a presence at the Old Combing within Sunny Bank Mills and we look forward to many more. Being just off Farsley Town Street is a great location and Sunny Bank Mills provides a rich heritage and culture for the town of Farsley.


“Being one of the long-standing tenants here has meant we have been a part of the journey as Sunny Bank Mills has improved with spectacular renovated units and the upcoming newly-refurbished car park. This will enable visitors near and far to explore the variety of businesses that Sunny Bank Mills has to offer.”


Many original features of the Old Combing building, where the mill used to comb the wool tops prior to spinning the worsted yarn used in the weaving of some of the finest worsted cloth in the world, have been kept, and these are complemented by recycled and reclaimed furniture.


John Gaunt, joint managing director of mill owners Edwin Woodhouse and Co Ltd, said: “The Mill Kitchen, Grumpys and Jackaboos have proved a tremendously popular members of our Sunny Bank Mills community in recent years. We are delighted to help them all build on their success they have already achieved.”


William Gaunt, co-managing director, added: “One of the key aspects of our strategy at Sunny Bank Mills is to help our tenants if we possibly can. The regeneration of the Old Combing building has allowed us to do exactly that. We look forward to the Mill Kitchen, Grumpys and Jackaboos going from strength to strength. That’s not just good news for everyone who works here, but for Farsley as a whole.”


There are now 70 companies, and more than 355 employees, at Sunny Bank Mills, where YTV’s Emmerdale and Heartbeat used to be filmed.