Posted by: dianesims | March 6, 2017

An alternative vision for Newsome Mills – ideas from architect Richard Hannay

Proposals for Newsome Mills seen from Ruth Street

Demolition or Regeneration?

Demolishing Newsome Mill and replacing it with an arbitrary series a housing blocks that make no reference to the mill might seem the easiest thing to do from a developer’s point of view. However, that option may not generate the best financial returns (certainly not in the longer term) and it isn’t be best option for Newsome.

We know that we need more housing, but we might not want to have our collective memory and historical legacy erased by having the remaining elements of our mill demolished in the process. I say ‘our’ mill, because isn’t the developer supposed to be the custodian of our heritage if they choose to buy a site with a listed building on it? 

Are they not duty bound to explore all other options first, other than demolition, to determine if these elements can be incorporated into their proposals and in so doing giving them a new sense of purpose for a new function and a new century?

Demolishing the remaining parts of the mill and leaving the clock tower isolated without even the ability to carry out its basic function (that being to tell the time) has to be the worst and most depressing option of all. Imagine walking up and down the street looking at this sad vestige of what was a proud period in our history reduced to a meaningless, mutilated park folly.

So would it not be desirable if it were to become a new symbol for the community, with a more optimistic future, fully functioning and part of something new?

Proposals for Newsome Mills, aerial view

Although this may appear as a fully worked through design proposal, it is still only one possible option for how the existing buildings could be used. It offers 63 desirable dwellings where people want to live (compared with 39 compromised ones suggested by the owner), plus 647 sq.m. of commercial units that would offer an annual rent, and 107 parking spaces.

Do the people of Newsome believe demolition, either now or later, of what remains of our heritage is more desirable than adopting a more thoughtful approach, where our heritage is given a positive future through its integration into something new?

My aim is to shine a light on what can be achieved at Newsome Mills with a little more thought. It is my hope that these ideas will generate discussion and debate, and help people to realise that we should be demanding a richer outcome from any development on this site.

Richard Hannay
Architect and former resident

Take part in the public consultation now

A three-week public consultation about proposals to demolish Newsome Mill is open from Tuesday 28th February to Tuesday 21st March 2017. We believe that opposing the demolition is the best  way to protect all the buildings at Newsome Mills, and to give residents a voice in what happens next.

Join us in opposing the demolition of our mill:

Object online to the demolition of Newsome Mill

(up to 500 words)

Or email your comments to

(no word limit)

Please quote reference 2017/90377. You must comment before 21st March 2017.

Deadline now extended to Friday 31st March 2017.


Spread the word:
Download our advice sheet to share


Say no to the demolition of Newsome Mill – advice sheet (PDF)


  1. Would it be worth posting some of the A4 flyers showing how to object that you had at Growing Newsome through doors in the area? I’d be happy to do Newsome Rd from crossroads towards town and hillside crescent? Might just get a few more people objecting!

    • Hi Kirsten. Thanks very much – it would be very helpful if you can do that. There’s already a link to the advice sheet on this page. You can follow the “Say no to the demolition of Newsome Mill – advice sheet (PDF)” link at the end of the blog, or follow this link:

      Click to access say-no-to-demolition.pdf

      I’ll update the blog so that it’s easier to spot. Thanks again.

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