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.

Say no to demolition

Not sure whether to object to the demolition of Newsome Mill? Here are 10 important things that you should know:

 

1. What’s happening?

The owner is proposing to demolish the entire ground floor of Newsome Mill, along with the weaving sheds at the corner of Hart Street. As the buildings are Grade II Listed, they cannot be demolished unless Kirklees Council grants permission (this is called Listed Building Consent). The owner has applied for this consent, and a public consultation has opened to give people a chance to comment.

2. When is it happening?

The public consultation is only open for three weeks – it closes on Tuesday 21st March 2017, so if you want to comment, you need to do it before then.

3. Who can take part in the consultation?

It’s an open public consultation. It’s really important for Newsome residents to take part. But many other people have a connection to Newsome Mill, such as people who grew up in Newsome and still have family here, people who worked in the mill or had family who did, and those who went to school in Newsome. It’s your heritage too – anyone who is interested in Newsome Mill is entitled to comment. Both national and local heritage organisations and campaigners will also be commenting.

4. Can we keep our mill?

It’s important to recognise that the former four-storey mill, the weaving sheds and Newsome’s iconic clock tower are all part of the main building at Newsome Mill. They were designed and built as a single structure, in the 1880s. The building is contemporary with other surviving buildings on the mill site, such as the Coach House. This means that the buildings have value as a coherent group, and Historic England say this is an important consideration. Despite the terrible damage, the building is still recognisable as a mill and is still Grade II Listed. It’s still here and could have a future.

5. What happened to the weaving sheds?

The weaving sheds at the corner of Hart Street were not damaged by the fire, but by the demolition company. Kirklees Council did not give consent for the demolition of the wall along Ruth Street, which forms part of the main wall of Newsome Mill.

6. What will happen to the clock tower?

Although the owner’s proposal does not ask for specific consent to demolish the clock tower, it also does not seek permission to make the tower watertight and secure. Huddersfield Civic Society say that the wording of the application does not offer sufficient reassurance that the tower will be retained. We believe that opposing the demolition is the best way to protect the tower in the longer term.

7. Are the buildings structurally sound?

Kirklees Council made a public statement on Friday 25th November 2016 saying that “the tower does not form a health and safety risk and whilst requiring some work it most certainly does not require demolition.” We have also had confirmation from Kirklees Council that they consider all the remaining buildings to currently be structurally sound. Historic England have said that there is no justification for demolishing the buildings.

8. Can the buildings be reused?

We believe that all the buildings on the site can – and should – be reused. Newsome-born architect Richard Hannay has designed his own scheme for the site, showing how the remaining buildings might be re-used. We’ve used these suggestions as a way of gathering feedback from our community about what people would like to see on the site now.

9. Why does it matter for Newsome?

Newsome Mills is at the heart of Newsome – both geographically and historically. The village has grown around the mill, which was the main local employer for a long time. Many families who live in Newsome today have a direct relationship to Newsome Mills. Since the fire, we have seen an outpouring of affection for our mill, and a growing aspiration to regenerate the site in a way that creates a fitting future for local residents, whilst conserving our heritage and local identity. We want to make sure that those voices are heard in the current consultation, and in whatever happens next.

10. Why does it matter for Huddersfield?

Our mill played an important part in the textile heritage of Huddersfield and West Yorkshire. Historic England say that it is significant. The Victorian Society have previously included Newsome Mill in their list of the Top Ten Endangered Victorian Buildings in the country. Huddersfield Civic Society have said that our landmark clock 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.”

If you’d like our mill to be part of our future as well as our past, please object to the proposed demolition of Newsome Mill.


Take part in the public consultation now

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 DC.Admin@kirklees.gov.uk

(no word limit)

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

Deadline now extended to Friday 31st March 2017.


 

Can you help us to spread the word about the proposed demolition of Newsome Mill? Please share these messages on social media or print our campaign advice to share with your neighbours. You can also sign up to Join the campaign to receive updates, or email us at savenewsomemills@gmail.com to ask for advice. Thank you.


 

Campaign images to share on Facebook

Say no to demolition

Say no to demolition of Newsome Mills

Save Newsome Mills dot org dot uk

Suggested Facebook post #1

Do you want to see demolition or regeneration at Newsome Mills? Find out how to make your voice heard at: http://www.savenewsomemills.org.uk

Suggested Facebook post #2

If you want Newsome Mill to be a part of our future as well as our past, please object to the owner’s plans for demolition. Find out more at: http://www.savenewsomemills.org.uk

Suggested Facebook post #3

Will you join the campaign to save the Grade II Listed Newsome Mill from demolition? You can object to the demolition from now to 21st March 2017. Info and links at: http://www.savenewsomemills.org.uk

 


 

Campaign images to share on Twitter

 

Say no to demolition

Say no to demolition

Save Newsome Mills dot org dot uk

Suggested Twitter post #1

Do you want to see demolition or regeneration at Newsome Mills? Make your voice heard at: http://www.savenewsomemills.org.uk #newsomemill

Suggested Twitter post #2

If you want Newsome Mill to be a part of our future as well as our past, object to the owner’s plans for demolition: http://www.savenewsomemills.org.uk

Suggested Twitter post #3

Join the campaign to save Grade II Listed Newsome Mill from demolition: http://www.savenewsomemills.org.uk Consultation open to 21st March #newsomemill


 

Campaign advice sheet – print and share (PDF)

Say no to demolition advice sheet


 

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 DC.Admin@kirklees.gov.uk

(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

saynotodemolition

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


Posted by: dianesims | February 27, 2017

Demolition or regeneration – what’s next for Newsome Mills?

weaving sheds at Newsome Mills


“What’s next for Newsome Mills?”

Visit our display at the Growing Newsome event
Saturday 4th March 2017, open 10am to 1pm

Newsome Scout Hall, Newsome Road South, Newsome, Huddersfield HD4 6JJ

Just over 100 days after the devastating fire at Newsome Mills, a three week public consultation period begins on Tuesday 28th February 2017 to gather responses to the owner’s plans for demolition of the mill. We’ve organised a special display in Newsome village on Saturday 4th March, which will offer advice and information to residents, along with ideas about how the current buildings could be regenerated.

Panorama Living Limited have applied for Listed Building Consent (application number 2017/90377) to demolish the entire ground floor of the mill and the weaving sheds at the corner of Hart Street. Along with the iconic clock tower, these structures formed the main building at Newsome Mills, and were designed and built as single structure in the 1880s. The building is Grade II Listed.

Clock tower at Newsome MillsWe want to make sure that the views of local residents, people who grew up in Newsome and the wider Huddersfield community are considered. If you’re interested in the mill site, please get involved in the public consultation to let Kirklees Council know what you think.

Despite the awful events of last November, we still believe that Newsome Mills is an important part of our future, as well as our past. For anyone who is interested, this is a chance to come and see some ideas about how the area could be regenerated, hear what’s happening with the mill right now, and share aspirations for the future.

Take part in the public consultation

We will also be providing information and advice for anyone who would like to take part in the public consultation (which is open from Tuesday 28th February to Tuesday 21st March 2017).

It’s important to understand that the current application from the owner is seeking permission for demolition of the Grade II Listed buildings. This is different from a standard planning application in which people can comment on specific plans.

This public consultation is purely about whether people are for or against the proposed demolition of Newsome Mill. Our aim is to make sure that local people have a voice in that decision, so we’d like everyone with an interest to take part.

The Newsome Mills Campaign are currently working with Newsome-born architect Richard Hannay and with the Architecture school from the University of Huddersfield to create ideas for the future of Newsome Mills. The aim is to give people a starting point for discussions about what might happen next, and to make sure that the Newsome community have a strong voice in what happens to Newsome Mills.

The “What’s next for Newsome Mills?” display will be open at the Growing Newsome event on Saturday 4th March, from 10am to 1pm at Newsome Scout Hall, Newsome Road South, Newsome, Huddersfield HD4 6JJ.

If you can’t make it to the event, we will also be sharing further advice about responding to the public consultation via this blog soon.

 

You might also find this blog useful:

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

 
 

Posted by: dianesims | January 19, 2017

Newsome Mill Ponds will stay

Newsome Mill Ponds
On Thursday 19th January 2017, the Planning Sub-Committee for the Huddersfield area voted unanimously to refuse planning application number 2016/91479. The application proposed the destruction of the 19th century mill pond and culvert at Newsome Mills, which is the oldest surviving part of the Newsome Mills site.

Kirklees Council’s planning service had recommended refusal of the plans to build 22 houses on the Newsome Mill Ponds site, and every member of the committee agreed with this recommendation.

The reason for refusing the planning application is:

“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”.”

93 people wrote to the planning service to object to the proposals. 4 people wrote in support of the proposals.

Some of the main concerns raised by local residents were:

1. The proposal would have an adverse effect on residential amenity, particularly on properties on Hart Street.

2. There are severe on street parking difficulties in the area already, these would be made worse by an additional 22 dwellings.

3. The site represents an important green area in the centre of Newsome Village that is an otherwise densely built up area.

4. The ponds are an important feature in the village and a valuable wildlife habitat to many types of birds and pond life. Their loss would have an adverse effect on the wildlife and biodiversity in the area.

5. The local infrastructure, such as schools and doctors surgeries, are already overstretched.

6. The scheme shown would have a detrimental effect on the trees along the boundary of the site (which are the subject of a Tree Preservation Order).

7. Similar plans have already been turned down in 2008/9.

8. The loss of the ponds would be irreversible, and would damage the character of the area and the setting of Newsome Mills.

9. The ponds are an important part of the surrounding surface water drainage system and their loss or filling in could have significant implications for the surface water drainage of the area.

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, 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 and this was acknowledged at the meeting. Several members of the planning committee spoke about the importance of the ponds and said that they cannot be seen as separate from the other structures at Newsome Mills.

Huddersfield Civic Society objected to the application, 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 the 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 recent events, 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 – and it matters.

Thank you

I know that not everyone agrees with protecting these mill ponds. But I’ve been so overwhelmed by messages of support that I have no doubt that continuing to find a way to retain all of the structures at Newsome Mills (whilst making sure that we still get a good housing scheme on the land behind the mill) is the right thing for Newsome.

I’d like to thank the Huddersfield planning committee for listening to the concerns of local residents. I’d also like to say thank you to everyone who has spoken up to share their comments throughout the planning process, whatever your views. And thank you to everyone who has helped to spread the word – you’ve made sure that Newsome’s residents had a voice in this decision. And that matters too.

Posted by: dianesims | January 2, 2017

3D model of Newsome Mill

These photos were taken by Nigel Coxon, using drone footage. Please take a look at Nigel’s 3D models of Newsome Mill, before and after the fire, created from the same images. They are sobering viewing, but they are also an important historical record of Newsome’s most prominent building – and of the impact that the fire and its immediate aftermath have had on the Newsome Mills site.

mill-before-after-fire-nigel-coxon-drone

Newsome Mill – 18th May 2016 & 4th December 2016. Photos by Nigel Coxon.


Before the fire


After the fire


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.

Newsome Mills after the fire

In the early hours of Thursday 17th November 2016, the main building at Newsome Mills was destroyed by a terrible fire. The impact on our community has been devastating – three weeks on, we are still coming to terms with our loss.

This post focuses specifically on how the fire has affected the built structures at Newsome Mills. The information we’re sharing about the condition and status of these buildings is correct at the time of publication and has been verified with our local planning authority. Please bear in mind that things may change.


 

Structures in the ownership of Panorama Living Limited (formerly Royalle Estates)

The buildings at Newsome Mills which are owned by Panorama Living Limited are all Grade II Listed. The damaged caused by the fire and in its aftermath has not changed that. These buildings are:

1. Newsome Mill (the former four-storey mill on Ruth Street)
The entire interior structure of Newsome Mill – including the roof and all the original wooden floors, supporting columns and office partitions – collapsed at 6.08am on Thursday 17th November 2016. West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service had 20 pumps working on the site throughout the night to bring the fire under control and to stop it spreading to other buildings. In the morning, the four-storey shell of Newsome Mill was still standing.

A site inspection took place on the morning of Thursday 17th November 2016, between the Fire Officer in charge, a structural surveyor from Kirklees Council’s Building Control service, and a member of Kayedem Demolition (acting as the representative of the owner). As a result of this inspection, when the Fire Officer signed over control of the site to Kayedem, the notice given specified that the four-storey walls of the mill must be reduced to a safe height in order to avoid the sudden collapse of the building. There was no remaining internal structure, all the braces had melted in the fire, and the walls were sadly no longer stable.

The Newsome Mills Campaign was informed of the decision to demolish Newsome Mill shortly before 11am on Thursday 17th November 2016. This information came from the Conservation and Design group leader at Kirklees Council, who explained that the walls would be pushed in so that the debris would fall within the footprint of the mill, and that the walls would be reduced to the height of the first floor level. With the exception of the damage caused to the North light weaving sheds (see below) this is the procedure that was followed by Kayedem. We were also informed that the works would take place very quickly, under the powers of The Building Act 1984 – section 78 (Dangerous building — emergency measures). Demolition equipment arrived on site that evening and the demolition took place that night.

The Newsome Mills site has since been re-inspected by Kirklees Council. The council have given consent for the debris to be removed from the buildings (following a request by the owner), but the method of doing this is yet to be agreed. Kayedem claim that the remaining walls of the mill and the weaving sheds are unstable and should be demolished, but Kirklees Council disagree with this assessment.

Several courses of stone were removed from the gable-end mill wall at the corner of Ruth Street and Naomi Road (adjacent to the gateway arch) by Kayedem Demolition on Monday 28th November 2016. We believe this work was unnecessary and unauthorized, and we reported this to Kirklees Council, who are the local planning authority. Kirklees Council 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.

On Wednesday 5th December 2016 a Senior Planning Officer from Kirklees Council gave this statement to Kayedem:

“I’ve discussed the stability of the building with our engineers. It is our opinion that the walls are currently in a safe condition although loose masonry should be removed from the top. In brief our engineers consider the piers around each window are robust enough to maintain support and the internal localised cracking is limited to the pockets formed around the original burnt out floor beams.”

Kirklees Council’s engineers say there’s nothing to suggest that any structures on the site are unstable at this time. To date, no further demolition or clearance works have taken place.

2. The clock tower at Newsome Mill
Clock tower at Newsome MillThe clock tower is part of the main mill building. It was not designed as a stand-alone structure, but it is stable following the removal of the four-storey mill walls and it has been declared safe by structural engineers at Kirklees Council.

On Friday 25th November 2016, the assistant director for Place at Kirklees Council issued this very clear statement to Councillor Andrew Cooper, for which we are grateful:

“As discussed; yesterday officers from the council (planning, heritage and building control) met the developer and demolition contractor on site. The meeting was a productive one we are of the view that the tower does not form a health and safety risk and whilst requiring some work it most certainly does not require demolition. There will however need to be some work undertaken on it in the future to repair it and that work will need the appropriate consent.”

The tower is a very prominent Huddersfield landmark and has huge significance for the residents of Newsome and for people who grew up here. Restoring the clock to full working order was a condition of the previously granted planning permission for Newsome Mill. Our campaign, which aims to see all the remaining structures at Newsome Mills retained and well used again, began with the stopping of the mill clock during Easter 2007. Our work will continue.

North light weaving sheds at Newsome Mills
3. The North light weaving sheds at Newsome Mill

The weaving sheds at the corner of Ruth Street and Hart Street are part of the main mill building. This part of the structure was unaffected by the fire. A large section of the weaving sheds were demolished by Kayedem Demolition on Friday 18th November 2016.

We believe that the partial demolition of the weaving sheds was unnecessary and unauthorized and we have reported this to Kirklees Council. Kayedem have stated that these works were carried out at the request of West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service, but Kirklees Council have been unable to verify this.

Currently, the majority of this structure remains standing, and it has been declared safe by Kirklees Council (with the exception of the overhanging shattered glass in the North light roof, which will need to be carefully removed). Kayedem claim that the structure is unstable and should be demolished, but Kirklees Council disagree with this assessment.

If you can offer any evidence about the damage caused to the weaving sheds – either photographs, video or eye-witness testimony – please send your evidence to: SaveNewsomeMills@gmail.com

4. The gateway arch
The gateway was unaffected by the fire and remains intact. The damage at the apex of the stone arch was caused in 2007 during the initial site clearance. This structure has been Grade II Listed since 1978.

5. The gate lodge
The lodge was unaffected by the fire and remains intact. This structure has been Grade II Listed since 2008.

6. The office building
The office building was unaffected by the fire in 2016. The fire damage that can been seen to the office roof was caused during an earlier, small fire. The front office wall includes the setting for the Newsome Mills war memorial. The memorial plaque was stolen from the site in February 2008 and was recovered by the Newsome Mills Campaign in March 2008 following a public appeal. The war memorial was then placed in the custodianship of Newsome Ward Community Forum, where it remains today. The office building has been Grade II Listed since 2008.


 

Structures in other ownerships

Vent on the coach house buildings at Newsome Mills7. The coach house buildings
The main section of the coach house buildings on Ruth Street (the former bakery site) is now owned by a company who are based there and who have recently begun leasing some of the space out to other businesses. West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service prevented the fire from spreading to these buildings. The coach house has sustained some damage from the fire (including lost skylights, water damage and melted fixtures), but there is no structural damage. The business owners are continuing their work of getting the buildings up and running and we wish them well.

8. Private housing
Thanks to the efforts of West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service, there was no significant damage to The Coach House (private house on Naomi Road), to numbers 2 to 8 Hart Street or to other housing nearby. Some residents are dealing with damage to doors and windows, party due to the fire and partly as some doors had to be kicked in by West Yorkshire Police during the evacuation of the neighbourhood on the night of the fire.

9. Newsome Mill Ponds and culvert
The mill ponds are owned by Benjamin Bentley and partners, the former owners of Newsome Mill. On the night of the fire, water from the ponds was used to control the fire and to prevent the fire from spreading to the houses and businesses nearby. The ponds remain the subject of an active planning application (reference 2016/91479) which seeks to completely demolish both the ponds. The public consultation for this planning application closed at midnight on the night of the fire. The nineteenth century mill pond (off Naomi Road) is the oldest surviving part of Newsome Mills. It is a curtilage structure of the Grade II Listed Newsome Mill.

Newsome Mill pond


 

Open land on the Newsome Mills site

Land behind the mill
For clarity, the land behind the mill (off White Hart Drive) is owned by Panorama Living Limited. This is brownfield land which is allocated for housing in the draft Local Plan for Kirklees (we asked for this land to be designated for housing). The land behind the mill has had planning permission for new build housing for several years, but the planned scheme also included the conversion of the four-storey mill, so this is now invalid.

Land in front of the mill
The land at Hart Street (alongside the mill ponds, between Hart Street, Newsome Road and Naomi Road) is the former mill workers allotment site. This is greenfield land which is owned by Benjamin Bentley and Partners.

Posted by: dianesims | November 25, 2016

The week that broke our hearts, but not our spirit

Newsome Mill after the fireNewsome is recovering from the fire at Newsome Mill

In the aftermath of the terrible fire that destroyed the main four-storey building at Newsome Mills, our community are supporting each other in coming to terms with our loss.

Along with many people who live in Newsome or who grew up here, we are heartbroken by the destruction of Newsome Mill, and we’re deeply shocked that the lives of our friends, families and neighbours have been so recklessly put at risk.

But what we have seen in the week following this tragedy is an outpouring of affection for our lost mill, and a determination to help each other to hang on to what we have left. We have also seen new friendships forged in the embers of Newsome Mill, and a community spirit that cannot be extinguished. We are proud to call Newsome our home.

Residents who coped with the shock of the fire itself, followed by the great sadness of seeing the towering walls of our mill demolished later that same day, have also had to deal with an uneasy wait to hear whether we would lose even more. For the past week, the fate of the iconic clock tower at Newsome Mills has hung in the balance, along with the other Grade II Listed buildings that remained standing after the fire.

For nine years, members of Newsome Ward Community Forum have been working to protect these much-loved mill buildings at the heart of our community. We began the Newsome Mills Campaign in 2007 after Newsome’s iconic clock fell silent during work to clear parts of the site. Residents were eager to know what was going on and asked for our help. Since then, our community have remained keen to hear their familiar clock chiming again, and we have become greatly concerned about the ongoing deterioration of the buildings.

This strength of feeling is demonstrated by the fact that Newsome residents have kept a vigil on the clock tower day and night throughout the week, whilst the demolition equipment has stood ominously nearby. It’s heartening to know that hundereds of people have signed up to the SaveTheClock facebook group created by Helen Kingston, and thousands have sought information from local blogs. People have also been keen to share their memories and photos of the mill, and we hope to collect more of these to make sure that our heritage isn’t lost along with the mill.

After everything we’ve been through this week, we were delighted to receive the news from Kirklees Council today that the iconic clock tower at Newsome Mills “does not form a health and safety risk and whilst requiring some work it most certainly does not require demolition.” Repair work will be carried out in the future, which will require Listed Building Consent.

This means that all the remaining Grade II Listed buildings at Newsome Mills have now been declared safe. Not only our iconic clock tower, but also the weaving sheds, the gateway arch, the gate lodge and the office building can all stay, along with the surviving ground floor walls of Newsome Mill.

We owe a great debt of gratitude to West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue service, not only for saving our families and our homes, but for protecting what could be saved of our local heritage.

During our campaign over the years, we’ve dealt with other fires, theft, vandalism, flytipping, threats to destroy important heritage assets on the site and much more. With the help of The Examiner, we recovered the mill’s stolen war memorial in 2008. We secured national recognition for the building by getting Newsome Mill onto the Victorian Society’s list of Top Ten Endangered Victorian Buildings in the country. We’ve had some celebrations and some dark days along the way but, thankfully, we’ve never had to live through a week like this before.

It’s been a long journey already, and we know that today is just the start of the many years of hard work that are still to come. But we also know that local residents will support each other in doing it. We know that many people who grew up in Newsome or who have connections to Newsome Mill are full of enthusiasm and ideas too. We need all those people now to help us keep a watch on the buildings and be active in reporting any suspicious activity to the police. We choose to be hopeful.

This week broke our hearts, but it didn’t break our spirit. We may feel vulnerable without our mill looking down over us, but the community that grew up around Newsome Mill is still here. And we’re still going to campaign for a future for Newsome Mills.

Diane Sims
Newsome Mills Campaign co-ordinator

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