IT WAS a working mill for more than a century, before being earmarked for flats and an enormous boarding school.

Now, Egyptian Mill, in Slater Street, Halliwell, has been given a new lease of life as a huge self storage unit.

And its new owners say the historic mill will become an “Aladdin’s cave”, as users transform storage space for all manner of uses.

With units rented out so cheaply, they have been used as everything from personal gyms to rehearsal studios at similar facilities across the country.

The mill, which was last year earmarked for an Islamic girls boarding school, has been turned into the self storage business by the Alligator Self Storage group.

The old cotton mill, a five-storey brick building built in 1861, and a working mill until 1960, was put up for sale by its previous owners when it became surplus to their requirements and they attempted to sell it on as a residential development, which proved to be unviable.

The Egyptian Mll site is Alligator’s first unit in the North West.

Alister Jack, Alligator chief executive, said: “Self storage businesses are a veritable Aladdin’s cave. You would be surprised at the diversity of uses storage rooms are put to.

“When you convert a building like Egyptian Mill to become a storage centre, the diversity of uses for the building is incredible.

“We anticipate all sorts of businesses will make use of the space, from builders and plumbers using it as a lock-up, to lawyers and accountants using it for archive space.”

The Midlands-based Al-Ehya Trust last year submitted multi-million pound plans for the 424-capacity college, but withdrew them after becoming frustrated with a lack of progress.

In an email to Bolton Council, Derek Tandy, of Coventry agents DNT Technology, blamed an “underlying feeling of resistance”

from the planning committee.

He added: “We came to the conclusion there was no point in investing so much money in the scheme because the committee did not seem very supportive and continued to delay the decision.” In the US, where the self storage concept was born, the self storage industry is now bigger than the music industry.

Alligator is the UK’s second largest independent self storage operator with 17 storage centres across the UK.