The old penny ‘oyle at Wharfebank Mills has been transformed by three new tenants, who have really brought this old building to life again.
Following an extensive refurbishment, The Pennyhole, which used to be the clocking-in area for mill workers in days gone by, is now home to Abbey CCL, Bridges Pound, and Fleetcare. Three businesses who were located in Ilkley, Leeds and Guiseley until earlier this year.
Apparently, mill workers who were late clocking in were fined a penny, which is where the building gets its name: The Pennyhole.
However, no such draconian measures for our modern day workers. Instead, they have a smart new communal area and kitchen to use in their ‘down’ time.
How times change!
Abbey CCL – Project managers and consultants to the building industry
The first tenants to occupy this revamped part of Wharfebank Mills in March 2018 was Abbey Construction Consultants Limited, who moved from Ilkley, where they had been based since 2006. They also have an office in Hull.
Graham Holden, one of the original founder members explained the background to their company:
“The company was formed in 2002, by myself and Keith Philpott (who retired in 2016)
“We left our previous positions with a company based in Bradford and created Abbey Construction Consultants Limited to provide a range of construction-related consultancy services to high street retailers such as Clinton Cards; property-owning companies such as First Bus; and Town Centre Securities PLC.
“Demand for services such as ours was due to the ever-increasing burden that European legislation was making on companies.
“In addition, new legislation such as the Disability Discrimination Act and its impact on service providers had major implications for companies, as they struggled to comply with their legal duties. This was a huge undertaking.
“Further legislation such as the Control of Asbestos at Work Regulations 2012 once again put major duties on such companies.
“More recent changes such as removing the issue of fire certificates from the Fire and Rescue Service, and making individual companies responsible for determining their own fire risk assessments and fire precautions, further increased that burden.”
Graham went on to explain:
“We initially based the company on Manningham Lane in Bradford, but after various issues with theft, vandalism and traffic congestion associated with working in the city centre, we moved the business to Ilkley in 2006 where we were located until earlier this
“Nowadays we have three people working in our Otley office and expect to have another member of staff in the next few weeks, we have four people in our Hull office and two individuals who work for us from home.
“Our services have increased over time and we are now more heavily involved in Health and Safety, dealing with the Construction Design and Management Regulations for a range of clients such as: Odeon, Cineworld, Everyman, Pizza Hut, McCains, Coca Cola, Pure Gym among others.
“We also work for private individuals, carrying out Home Buyer Surveys, dealing with boundary disputes, dealing with issues with building contractors, or determining remedial works when homeowners find dampness or other issues, and acting as Party Wall Surveyors.
“We work nationally, so quite a bit of travel is involved.”
Graham finished by saying:
“Business is very good just now, long may it continue!”
Bridges Pound – Structural and civil engineering specialists
Damian Rafferty, the Leeds Director of Bridges Pound, shares his office in Otley, with fellow engineer Chris Brown.
Together they occupy one of the two offices that make up Pennyhole West. Their office has dual aspect arched windows where the old carriageway into the mills was sited before it was built into the River House building and became office space.
As Damian explained to us recently: ” Bridges Pound are specialists in structural and civil engineering who operate on projects up to and over £50m. They also have dedicated insurance auditing and temporary works departments.
“The company was set up in 1984 in Kenilworth, Warwickshire and in London, by Brian Bridges and Rod Pound.
“Twenty years later they opened up an office in Leeds and they now employ more than 20 members of technical staff, who operate nationally, from three offices.
All the directors are chartered structural engineers: Stuart Heaton is the company’s managing director, Brian Cochrane is the London based Director, and Damian Rafferty is the Leeds based Director.
Damian lives only a stone’s throw from Wharfebank Mills, in Otley, and Chris cycles to the office from home in Wetherby most days.
Just as well we have bike stores and showers on site
Fleetcare – independent fleet management provider
Fleetcare was created as a joint venture with Epsom and St Helier NHS trust in 1992, and emerged as a specialist independent fleet management provider. They supply an end to end solution to public sector organisations previously managed in-house by area health authorities across the UK.
They became a private limited company in 1999.
Operations Manager, Diane Lamb, explained that throughout the last 25 years, Fleetcare has embraced change in line with the ever-changing needs of the public sector and today provides a fully tailored fleet management service to numerous organisations across the UK, many of which have been clients since the company began.
Additionally, Fleetcare is an accredited Crown Commercial services supplier and a member of the BVRLA.
Their clients range from companies whose car fleet size ranges between 10 to 1000 vehicles of varying makes and models.
Fleetcare’s services include sourcing lease vehicles for best value, fleet administration, accident management, driving license verification and most recently private contract hire and private sector contract hire.
Diane, told us “We pride ourselves in assisting drivers to navigate an ever-changing and complex marketplace to find their best fit vehicle.
Diane is based in Pennyhole West , Wharfebank Mills, with colleague Alex Acklam, Fleetcare vehicle selection advisor.