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Union Mills, Eccleshill, Bradford

Robust stone industrial mills and pond to make way for a Lidl:

https://planning.bradford.gov.uk/online-applications/applicationDetails.do?keyVal=OSBDUADHL3R00&activeTab=summary

Bradford Mill aerialLidl Bradford

A large amount of Victorian industrial building stock is to be lost for the expansion of Lidl’s empire.

A thesis could be written about the insidious colonisation of deprived areas by Lidl. Bad for health, the economy, culture, and the environment. Not wanting to digressing into sociological territory, I will try to summarise why this is a crime against conservation.

The mills of Bradford are being lost at an alarming rate, with the local authority not seeing the value (and being powerless) in retaining humble buildings such as Union Mills. What these buildings add to the local landscape is invaluable; punctuating the rolling countryside with implications of former industrial prowess. We diminish the essence of a place when we remove its history.

Particularly objectionable is the infill of the mill pond. Blue infrastructure is normally celebrated and protected. Not only for its value in biodiversity, but for the public who enjoy it as a destination for walking and angling.

The existing buildings function perfectly well. They are adaptable, and can be used for a variety of industries looking for different sizes of space. They provide economic opportunities that are vital for small businesses in the area.

The buildings that will replace them do not have these qualities. Lidl could very easily retrofit the existing complex for their purposes, but their rudimentary economic models can not integrate such innovative strategies into their expansionist masterplan. Cleared sites only please. And no architects. Shame on you Lidl.

 

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Greenside Mills, Skelmanthorpe

Application to destroy an important complex of small mills in Kirklees:

http://www.kirklees.gov.uk/beta/planning-applications/search-for-planning-applications/detail.aspx?id=2017/91046

greenside mill 2

These three story stone edifices provide an important aspect to the narrative of a Yorkshire village, protruding above the roof pitches of the surrounding terraces and cottages of the village, indicating the close relationship between industry and domestic life. To lose buildings as vital as this to the Yorkshrie townscape (not to mention buildings that are perfectly robust) is a crime.

There is no other reason for this that to allow the developer to build and sell ‘products’ that are homogenous and can fit into their capital program.

Please Kirkleses, intervene, and start saving your beautiful historic villages! There are not that many left now.

greenside mill 3

Above is the suggested layout. I am absolutely certain this will have been devised at a desk by a technician with no other remit for design other than ‘as many units can you get on there please mate’.

Future generations will one day ask why we made this country so boring.

Norwood Green Mill, Halifax

Mill building to be demolished in small Calderdale hill village:

https://portal.calderdale.gov.uk/online-applications/applicationDetails.do?activeTab=summary&keyVal=OHIC8LDWKAQ00

 

Screen Shot 2017-01-04 at 15.53.27.png

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:

https://www.kirklees.gov.uk/beta/planning-applications/search-for-planning-applications/detail.aspx?id=2016%2f91573

 

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:

http://www.examiner.co.uk/news/west-yorkshire-news/developer-who-said-marsden-residents-6776181

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:

https://wwwapplications.barnsley.gov.uk/PlanningExplorerMVC/Home/ApplicationDetails?planningApplicationNumber=2016%2F0350

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:

https://portal.calderdale.gov.uk/online-applications/applicationDetails.do?activeTab=summary&keyVal=O0U6L9DWL1400https://portal.calderdale.gov.uk/online-applications/applicationDetails.do?activeTab=summary&keyVal=O0U6L9DWL1400

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:

https://publicaccess.leeds.gov.uk/online-applications/applicationDetails.do?activeTab=map&keyVal=NVR2M8JB17S00

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.