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Norwood Green Mill, Halifax

Mill building to be demolished in small Calderdale hill village:


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Very important piece of heritage for this small village on top of the moors to the East of Halifax.

From an urban design perspective, the building is vital to the village centre, providing a strong building line on the edge of the village green feature.

From a conservation point of view, village mills like this are fascinating, because they are often the sole example of heavy industry in the settlement, providing an economic base for the rest of the village to thrive.

The buildings are all robust and are in use, and could achieve a fantastic market value. Sadly, for some unknown reason, the market is signalling for more semi detached dull stock fit for new families in the countryside.

There is an irony in despoiling the beauty and history of villages, on which elevated market desirability for these semis is predicated.

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Cellars Clough Mill, Marsden

Application to demolish, and develop 55 houses on  a site in rural Huddersfield:


Cellers Clough Mill.jpg

Celler Clough proposal.JPG

This mill found its way into the local press last year through a fantastic redevelopment that would have seen the building incorporated into an innovative mixed use scheme albeit with the sad loss of the chimney. Sadly this developer withdrew:

The new scheme includes plans for 55 dwellings and 143 spaces for vehicles, all of which will have to journey into Huddersfield or Manchester each day to keep the intended residents in employment.

The location is not sustainable by the councils own reckoning and my own predilection for saving heritage assets notwithstanding, there is surely a huge risk of flooding on what is effectively an island on a waterway at the foot of the Pennines (and it really does rain up on those hills).

The planning consultant argues the development will bring much needed ‘diversity’ to the area. What a sacred cow that word is. Diversity is actually the exact opposite of  throngs of white flighters looking for rural detached housing.

It is another anachronistic building in an awkward location. But it is also our heritage, and believe me Kirklees, if you hang on, something amazing will happen with this building.

Oughtibridge Mill, Sheffield

A large industrial site is to be cleared to make way for brownfield housing:

Oughtibridge Mill.JPG

Not an especially beautiful mill complex, however I am fond of this the sweeping road front. Makes you know just where you are.

In a perfect world this would be a mill shop. But we can’t save everything can we?

West Vale Works, Greetland

I’ve feared this one for a while now. An empty Victorian mill won’t stay put for long, what with all that brownfield land underneath it. The magnificent West Vale Works in Calderdale will be demolished:

West Vale Mill 3

Heritage England contemplated listing the building, but it would seem that if another example of said building exists (ie a Victorian Mill) then protection is not warranted, regardless of how important the building is to the landscape or local context. I’m glad this logic did not apply to the Colosseum.


West Vale Mill

The rows of terraces lead to the mill, telling the story of daily life in Victorian West Yorkshire.

West Vale Mill 2


No one really knows about West Vale. Some argue that it doesn’t exist, and it is in fact Greetland. I’ll leave that decision to the people who live there. I do know however that driving through this village just outside of Elland is West Yorkshire embodied. Photos sadly can not capture how to feels to move through this town past these monuments.

So perfect is the industrial townscape of West Vale, I considered moving there. The loss of this mill and the onset of suburbia in its place will personally devastate me. One by one, the places which embody our Northern identity are being sterilised. We long for authenticity in life, and allowing the market to dictate land use in this way will soon render England soulless.

Hilltop Works, Chapeltown, Leeds

Another grand old Mill building near Leeds is to be razed for housing:

Here is an aerial view of the existing site. I can not find any close up images of the buildings sadly.

Hilltop works aerial

Not the most inspiring Victorian building, but impressive nonetheless. As ever it is a shame the developer can’t see the value in conversion to domestic rather than erecting a suburban utopia. A lot of the site would need to be thinned out granted, but if the main edifice of the mill building could be retained, then another fragment of our unique industrial landscape would remain in place.

I am also quite sure that this building is situated in a conversation area – specifically a conservation area predicated on industrial heritage.As ever such designations are entirely meaningless when pit against the planning concepts of brown field land and five year housing supplies.

Former Council Depot, Thornhill

An application to demolish the old council deport at Thornhill has been submitted. The building, formally known as Overthorpe Halls stable block has been subject of local concern for some time, recognised as an important local asset
in a local newspaper.

The building represents the last of the Victorian stock in the area. The proposed replacement is a series of terraced houses that are of a mediocre design quality by an architect, that I suspect has not visited the site, such is the generic nature of the proposal. The extant building so unique and charming, and look robust enough for conversion as was noted in a recent listing on right move. Yet again, more short cited vision by a developer who likes to keep the housing market as simple as possible – build em flog em

.Edge top roadEdge top road 2Edge top road plan

The proposed massing ignores the street, and negates the courtyard feature, which would have provided much needed communal space.

A structural report – commissioned by the client (basically a formal statement to the sentiment of whatever the client requests) mentioned the building is beyond repair. This is simply not true, and an impartial report needs to be available to the council.

If only the developer could see the value of 8 dwellings in a converted Victorian building, when compared to 8 new builds. I thought the industry had realised this inherent value a long time ago.

Warehouse in Bradford conservation area

A grand imposing industrial building on Vincent Street, Bradford is about to be demolished:

Vincent Street BRadford demolition

Permission was in fact granted in 2013 to demolish this building in a conservation area. If only councils would understand that a conservation area requires all of its component parts to be protected to preserve the aesthetic of the area. Bradford’s industrial history had a statutory protection here, offering a window into how the brutal architecture of the city was an industrial necessity. And now these robust megolithic buildings have acquired a timeless quality, they are to be lost.

Please Bradford, understand that the difference between a listed building and a conservation area is that within a conservation area, it is both the buildings and the spaces between the buildings that need to be preserved.