Posted by: dianesims | March 14, 2017

Heritage organisations are speaking up for Newsome Mill

Newsome Mill from Hart Street 12th March 2017

A number of national and local heritage organisations, including Historic England, have spoken out about the proposed demolition of Newsome Mill.

With the public consultation about the owner’s demolition plans due to close on Tuesday 21st March 2017, time is running out for people to share their views. The Victorian Society, who have supported our campaign over the past decade, say that Newsome Mills has reached a turning point – but it could still be saved.

James Hughes, Senior Conservation Adviser at the Victorian Society, said:

“Newsome Mills has been on our radar for some time, and even featured in our 2008 Top 10 Endangered Buildings List. The fire last November was truly devastating and a real setback for campaigners, however it need not dramatically alter the fate of Newsome Mills. Since the fire the upper storeys of the mill have been dismantled so no longer pose as a danger to the area, and the beloved clock tower has been declared safe, as well as the archway, lodge and office building.

“These listed buildings have been through so much and campaigners have fought for more than a decade to secure their futures, this is the tipping point. The proposal for substantial demolition would cause unjustifiable harm to the Grade II-listed mill and should not be permitted. The mill is a critical building and must instead form the starting point for sympathetic redevelopment of the site.”

The Newsome Mills Campagin are encouraging everyone who has an interest in the site to get involved in the public consultation. We are opposing the demolition as we believe this is the best way to protect all the Grade II Listed buildings, and to get better outcomes for local people. Newsome Mills is still the most prominent site in Newsome, and everyone who lives here or who is connected to the mill needs to know that you have a voice in what happens next, whatever your views.

Huddersfield Civic Society have expressed concern that the demolition plans do not guarantee the safety of the iconic clock tower at Newsome Mills, which is an important Huddersfield landmark.

Huddersfield Civic Society have said:

“The tower is a very significant feature of the setting of Huddersfield, second only to the Victoria Jubilee Tower on Castle Hill, and must be preserved, along with its clock, clock faces and bell.”

The former four-storey mill, the weaving sheds and the clock tower are all part of the main building at Newsome Mill. It was designed and built as a single structure, in the 1880s. Other surviving buildings on the Newsome Mills site, such as the Coach House, were built at the same time. This means that the buildings have value as a group, and together are an important part of the local streetscape.

Historic England, the public body that looks after England’s historic environment, have urged the owners to rethink their plans and retain all the Grade II Listed buildings in any new scheme.

Historic England have said:

“We are very concerned regarding the proposed demolition of the remaining main block and the single storey weaving sheds. The total loss of these buildings will considerably impact on the significance of the Grade ll listed building and we consider this harm is unjustified.”

Historic England have requested that the Secretary of State should be notified if Kirklees Council consider approving the current demolition plans.

The Association for Industrial Archaeology say that they are backing us on preservation of this landmark as it recovers and moves forward from the devastating fire. They have given feedback to Kirklees Council, saying that every effort should be made to retain the surviving walls of the mill building and weaving shed.

The Council for British Archaeology have also strongly objected to the demolition proposals, saying that the buildings are an important part of the region’s textile heritage which should be converted rather than demolished. They have highlighted that a long term management and maintenance plan for the Grade II Listed buildings is needed.

Local historian Vivien Teasdale, author of “Huddersfield Mills: A Textile Heritage” (which features our former four-storey mill on its cover), has also added her voice to the campaign.

We are very grateful to everyone who has spoken up for Newsome Mill.

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