Posted by: dianesims | June 11, 2017

Together we can save Newsome’s historic mill pond

Newsome Mill pond

Let’s not lose another part of the historic Newsome Mills site

A planning appeal by Benjamin Bentley means that our mill ponds are once again under threat of demolition. You have until Friday 23rd June 2017 to let the Planning Inspectorate know how important this site is to Newsome.

In January 2017, Kirklees Council’s planning committee voted unanimously to refuse plans to build 22 houses on the land at Hart Street. They spoke up for our local heritage and recognised how valuable this open space is for local people. The leaseholders Benjamin Bentley have now lodged an appeal against that decision. They say that destroying our 19th Century mill pond will have no impact on our local heritage or on our community. If you disagree, please join our campaign…

How to make your views heard

The appeal will be considered by the Planning Inspectorate. If you have already commented on this planning application, the inspector will receive a copy of your comments. You can also send in extra comments now – and if you didn’t comment before, you can write in now. Please take this opportunity to say that we should keep this important part of the Newsome Mills site. Here’s how to make your views heard…

Object to the appeal online now at: 

Choose ‘Make representation’

Or email:

Or write to: Michael Joyce, The Planning Inspectorate Room 3N, Temple Quay House,
2 The Square, Bristol BS1 6PN 
(you must send 3 copies of your letter).

You must make sure that the Planning Inspector receives your comments by Friday 23rd June 2017.

You must quote this reference in emails and letters:

Together we can save our historic mill pond – advice sheet (PDF)



What you can include in your comments

Your comments should be about planning issues, such as the loss of open space, the impact on our local heritage, increased traffic, flooding and drainage issues, or the importance of this site for the character of the area.

The inspector will be particularly interested in any new evidence – so you could comment on what has changed since the planning application was made last year. For example, we think it’s important for the inspector to hear that these mill ponds still matter after the loss of the upper floors of Newsome Mill.



What the Planning Inspectorate have said previously

This isn’t the first time that Benjamin Bentley have appealed again a planning decision on this site. An appeal for a very similar planning application was held in 2009. The inspector at that time turned down the appeal, saying:

“The openness of this previously undeveloped part of the site provides valuable visual relief in what is otherwise a fairly densely developed urban area.

“The loss of previously undeveloped open land resulting from the proposal would have an unacceptable impact on the character and appearance of the area.”

We believe that this judgement should still apply today.

The reason Kirklees Council gave for refusing plans to build on this site was:

“The proposal would result in the loss of an area of open space and a habitat of principle importance that would detract from the character of the local area, contrary to Policies D1, D2 parts vii, and viii, NE6 of the Kirklees Unitary Development Plan, and the guidance contained in part 11 of the National Planning Policy Framework “Conserving and enhancing the natural environment”.”



Open space issues

The potential loss of this open space remains a key concern. We know that the Newsome Mill Ponds site has a high amenity value for local residents. We see how people benefit from the open space on a daily basis, including many people living nearby who have reduced mobility and other long term health conditions. It offers much needed relief in what’s otherwise a densely built up area, and gives people contact with wildlife who can’t otherwise access green spaces.

It’s very clear that nearby residents derive a huge amount of use, enjoyment and wellbeing from this site. Local voluntary organisations have also carried out wider consultations, including household surveys, to gather attitudes about land use in the Newsome area. The draft Neighbourhood Development Plan for Newsome (which is being developed by Newsome Ward Community Forum) recommends that the ponds should be retained, based on this evidence.

Yorkshire Wildlife Trust have highlighted that the plans would have resulted in the loss of two mill ponds, habitats that are identified as being of principle importance in the natural environmental and rural communities act, and are regarded as conservation priorities. The loss of the ponds would be contrary to policy PLP30 in the draft local plan, and the guidance contained in paragraph 118 of the NPPF.

At the planning meeting in January 2017, the case officer made clear that both the ponds and the land at Hart Street are considered open space. He also emphasised that the situation in terms of the need for this open space has not changed since 2008/9 when a similar planning application and an appeal were refused. The planning committee agreed that the open space is needed.


Heritage issues

Huddersfield Mills by Vivien TeasdaleAlthough the nineteenth century mill pond does not have Listed Building status in its own right, it is an important part of our local heritage. The ponds cannot be seen as separate from the other structures at Newsome Mills.

Huddersfield Civic Society objected to the plans to build on this site, stating that the removal of the ponds is tantamount to demolition of a listed structure, in contravention of the Planning Act 1990 and the guidance contained in NPPF paragraphs 131-133.

Local historian Vivien Teasdale, who featured Newsome Mill and its ponds on the cover of her Huddersfield Mills book, also joined our campaign to preserve the mill ponds.

If we look at the remaining structures at Newsome Mills as a whole, the ponds and the coach house buildings help us to make sense of what’s there today. The connection between these and the clock tower (and the other Grade II Listed structures on the site) is something that we need to retain. We will continue to look for ways to bring all the remaining structures at Newsome Mills into use, and to conserve our local heritage.

Despite the impact of the fire. Newsome Mills remains the most prominent site in Newsome. It’s also an important part of Huddersfield’s heritage. Our mill on the hill, unusual in itself, is only here because water could be gathered from the hillside to supply the mill. The 19th century mill pond is the oldest surviving part of the Newsome Mills site. Without this pond, there would have been no mill here, and no village growing up around it. When Lowry painted his famous view of our town from Chapel Hill, he would have seen no iconic clock tower on the hillside overlooking Huddersfield. It is part of our shared heritage.

Please take this opportunity to let the Planning Inspectorate know that it matters.

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