Archive | May 2014

Last of the commercial high street, Spring Vale

The former butchers shop on the high street of Spring Vale is to be demolished, along with the neighbouring commercial buildings. The planning statement gives us the reason that ‘current local market conditions will not support the reinstatement of the butchers shop’. But why limit our imagination to a purveyor of meat? I’m no shopkeeper, but high street commercial property is quite flexible. You could sell almost anything from this shop. Aren’t we trying to encourage small commercial centres that complement the larger hubs nearby?

Nope, knock it down, build some houses quickly and advertise them as being close to the M1.

4 townhouses – Spring Vale, Penistone



This was once a high street. There will be nothing left of it once these buildings are gone. A village becomes a suburb.


Ambitious restoration of a complex industrial site

For every developer who clings to the argument that financially viable development requires a flattened site, covered in detached dwellings and double garages, uniform in design, to be built from the cheapest possible materials – i give you this scheme which was submitted to Leeds council this week:

Redevelopment of Sunny Bank Mills 

The owners of this now defunct industrial complex could very easily hand their land over to an asset management company, who would offer it to a developer, raising it to the ground, as we see each week in the UK.

Instead, they have been upstanding in their sympathy for history and place, and have clearly put a lot of time and effort into developing a mixed use scheme that retains most of the original historic fabric of the complex, and most importantly, is quite clearly going to offer a hefty margin on their efforts.


I can not commend the actions of the landowner enough, in taking a risk, being innovative, and thinking beyond his bank balance. If anyone needs a case study to demonstrate that demolition of a seemingly esoteric building is avoidable, this is it.

Lets hope this sets a precedent in the industrial North.

Demolish Halifax textile mill for 22 houses

36 Textile mills remain in Halifax of the hundreds that would once punctuate this industrial landscape.

Spring Hall Mills is one of the remaining mills and has been derelict for some time, but the building and particularly the domineering Mill Street main edifice is robust and could very easily be converted into flats.

Application for full demolition can be found here.

Spring Hall Mill

I fully understand the developer wanting to use the workshop space to the rear as a brownfield site, but it would be quite easy (and lucrative) to use the main building to supplement the 22 houses will a number of flats. This takes care of  tenure mix, affordability quotas, and heritage contributions.

The footprint of the front building could be saved at the expense of two detached houses.

Although architecturally unremarkable, the mill is vital to this fantastic example of stone built landscape of terraced streets converging on the economic lifeblood that is the mill. This streetscape is West Yorkshire embodied.

Spring Hall Mill 2

Developer North Point Living, please keep it in tact (and increase your returns in the process)