Listed buildings in Haverhill town centre could be demolished to make way for new developments.
A design principles document for changes to Chauntry Mills in the High Street advocates the demolition of several buildings on site to allow the ones that remain to be appreciated in a better light.
The distinctive French-gothic style building must remain, as must the building housing the factory’s old steam engine, Caroline.
“It’s about economic viability,” said Damian Howard, director of Gurteen and step-son of the building’s owner, Christopher Gurteen.
“There’s health and safety to consider as well as fire compliance and statutory legal obligations. In its current state, it’s not up to that.”
The space that is freed up by the demolition of the less significant buildings on site could end up being used for mixed office and retail space, with an emphasis upon mixed usage on site.
Mike Carpenter from CODE development planners, said: “The alternative to doing nothing is, I’m afraid, no alternative at all.
“The roofs are in dire need of repair. What we really need is a long-term, sustainable use for these buildings.”
Any developments on the site would need to retain the character of the existing buildings, keeping the red brick exteriors and double-pitched roofs.
Due to the building’s internal structure, it is thought the building is unlikely to attract larger retailers. Instead, it is hoped a number of smaller businesses could set up within the building.
“We have to be sensitive to the heritage of the site,” said Mr Howard. “Our roots are in Haverhill and we’re sympathetic to that.
“We want to embrace the aspirations of the community.”