Posted by: dianesims | December 10, 2016

Newsome Mill owner will apply for Listed Building Consent for demolition and clearance works

Demolition equipment at Newsome MillsLook out for an application for Listed Building Consent which will tell us more about the owner’s intentions for the Grade II Listed structures at Newsome Mills. The application is likely to seek permission for some demolition works. This post explains the application process – and why it’s necessary that we follow it.


What’s currently happening on site?

The buildings owned by Panorama Living Limited at Newsome Mills are Grade II Listed, so Kirklees Council need to grant permission before any works can be carried out. Following the fire in November 2016, the owner asked for permission to begin clearing the debris from the site. Kirklees Council agreed that Kayedem Demolition could begin carefully clearing the debris on behalf of the owner.

The council told us that these works would be taking place, and they made clear to us that Kayedem did not have permission to carry out any demolition works – so all the remaining structures should have remained untouched. As these are Listed buildings (and because the structures pose no immediate risk) it’s unlawful for anyone to carry out demolition works on the site without the consent of Kirklees Council.

On Monday 28th November 2016, Kayedem removed several courses of stone from the gable-end mill wall at the corner of Ruth Street and Naomi Road (adjacent to the gateway arch) and this was witnessed by concerned residents who contacted us promptly. We reported this to Kirklees Council, who asked Kayedem to cease work on the mill immediately. They have since expressed concern that Kayedem’s planned method for removing the debris goes far beyond the works that Kirklees Council deem necessary.

Kirklees Council say that the remaining structures are all currently sound, and should be retained during any clearance works. Kayedem say that the structures are not sound, and their plan for the clearance works also includes demolition of the remaining mill walls and the North light weaving sheds.

There is as yet no agreement between Kirklees Council and Kayedem Demolition over the procedure that should be followed for clearing the debris, so work has currently ceased on site. Conversations are ongoing, and Kirklees Council feel that the best way forwards is to ask the owner to apply for Listed Building Consent for any proposed clearance and demolition works.

What is Listed Building Consent?

Any works to demolish any part of a Listed building (or to alter or extend it in a way that affects its character as a building of special architectural or historic interest) require Listed Building Consent. This application process is part of the legal protection that is given to Listed buildings, to ensure that our built heritage is safeguarded. The owner of a Listed building must formally apply to the local planning authority (in this case, that’s Kirklees Council) for consent. It may be a criminal offence for someone to fail to apply for consent when it is required:

Undertaking works, or causing works to be undertaken, to a Listed building which would affect its character as a building of special historic or architectural interest, without first obtaining listed building consent is an offence under section 9 of the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990.

Who makes the decision – and how?

The process of making a decision about whether to grant Listed Building Consent is similar to the process for a planning application, although some different forms of consultation are needed. For example, Kirklees Council will need to consult Historic England if the owner applies for permission to demolish the buildings. The application will automatically be referred to the Conservation officer for Kirklees Council, who will make a recommendation based on all the evidence. This would then be signed off by another group leader in the Planning service.

Alternatively, the application could be referred to the Planning Committee, in which case it will be discussed at a meeting of the committee. The councillors who are part of that committee would then make the decision. If this is the case, the Conservation officer will still make a recommendation first, and this will be heard at the planning meeting. Others will also have an opportunity to speak at the meeting, for or against.

How to get your voice heard

As with planning applications, there will be a three week public consultation period before any decision is recommended. Our ward councillors and the Newsome Mills Campaign will be notified when the application for Listed Building Consent is received and we’ll let people know. You will see site notices appear on lamp posts around the site when the application is active, then residents and others will have 21 days from that date to submit comments about the planned works. You’ll be able to comment online via the Kirklees Council web site, via email, or by writing a letter.

It’s really important that everyone who has an interest in Newsome Mills – and especially those who live nearby – takes this opportunity to let Kirklees Council know what you think. We’ll be here to offer advice and support throughout the process.

What will the application include?

At this stage, we do not have a clear idea of what the owner will include in the application for Listed Building Consent. It may include complete demolition of some of the buildings. We’re not expecting this application to include any works to the clock tower, or to the gate lodge, gateway arch or office building. The owner has previously agreed that these are structurally sound. But we must emphasize that the scope of the application is as yet very unclear.

Kirklees Council have asked that the owner makes clear what the justification is for any demolition works, including an explanation of why any remaining structures cannot be re-used. The council have also asked that the application includes an idea of how the owner sees the site being used in the future. All of this will help residents and others to get a clearer idea of what’s being proposed. You can then decide whether you support or oppose the application and you can share your comments.

Is this good news or bad news?

In short, it’s both. It’s clearly bad news that the owner is still seeking to carry out further demolition works at Newsome Mills, despite the huge trauma that our community has already been through, and in spite of the possibilities for developing the remaining buildings. However, the good news is that an application for Listed Building Consent will make it very clear to everyone what’s being proposed. Even if you disagree with the contents of the application, you will know what the owner’s intentions are, and you will be able to voice your concerns.

Whatever the outcome of this application process, we should come out of it knowing exactly what has been agreed – we’ll know what can legally happen (or not happen) next. This puts us in a good position to continue to challenge any inappropriate works, and to be part of the conversation about what happens to the Newsome Mills site.

Given the uncertainty of recent weeks and how badly this has affected many Newsome residents, we think that Kirklees Council have made the right decision in asking for works to cease whilst an application for Listed Building Consent is made.

If you have any questions in the meantime, please let us know.

Please also continue to be vigilant.


  1. Personally I think they should be made to rebuild the mill. If they hadn’t left it to go into dereliction, leading to the arson attack, it could have been put to use years ago.

  2. Reblogged this on Jaffer's blog.

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