FIRST tenants are set to move in this year to previously derelict parts of an historic Keighley mill complex.

Extensive renovation work on a section of Dalton Mills is progressing well and interest has been shown from potential occupants including retailers, cafes and arts facilities.

The front of the Genappe Mill area, encompassing about 80,000sqft of the landmark Dalton Lane site, has been sandblasted to restore it to its former glory and the roof is almost completely repaired.

Construction workers are now focussing on the interior.

Owner Paul Harris said "great strides" had been made during 2014 with the restoration of the mills, which were ravaged by a massive blaze almost exactly four years ago.

And he said the reaction to the work carried out so far had been very positive.

"I'm confident that this year will be the start of a bright future for Dalton Mills," he said.

"We are on track to have the first batch of commercial space available in the Genappe Mill and are in consultation about uses for the rest of the site, which could include a hotel, leisure facilities or a museum or heritage centre. We're happy to discuss any potential opportunities."

The fire of New Year's Day, 2011, caused huge damage at the site, particularly to the New Mill at the rear.

The future of the Grade II* listed structure was thrown into jeopardy.

But since buying the building in 2013, Mr Harris has embarked on an ambitious programme – supported by English Heritage – to bring the whole of the 200,000 sqft site back into use.

Its Clock Tower has already been converted into a thriving office development, which was almost fully let for much of last year.

Dalton Mills was built by the Craven family and remained in its ownership from 1866 until 2004.

In its heyday of worsted yarn production, more than 2,000 people were employed at the site.

Over recent years the iconic building has featured in several TV and film productions, including Peaky Blinders, North and South, Sunday Life and Bedlam.

It has also become popular with supernatural enthusiasts, hosting a number of events staged by ghost-hunting companies.

"Locals have commented on how great it is to see the mill looking good again and even Shadow Chancellor Ed Balls commented during a tour of the site that the mill was a monument to past success but also a big vote of confidence in Keighley's future," added Mr Harris.