Posted by: dianesims | August 21, 2017

The 30 year fight to save Newsome Mill Ponds

Newsome Mill Ponds

On Thursday 17th August 2017, Kirklees Council were informed that the Planning Inspectorate have overturned their previous planning decision about Newsome Mill Ponds and the land at Hart Street. This means that the leaseholders now have Outline planning permission for 22 houses on the site.

If this development goes ahead, it will destroy the oldest surviving part of Newsome Mills, and take Newsome’s green heart with it.


 

About the planning appeal

In January 2017, Kirklees Council’s Huddersfield Planning Committee (who are a group of councillors from all the political parties on the council) voted unanimously to refuse planning permission for the land at Hart Street. They made it clear that they take the concerns of residents seriously, and that they believe this site is not suitable for the proposed development. They commented on the amenity value and heritage value of the site. The leaseholders, Benjamin Bentley, then made an appeal against Kirklees Council’s decision. The Planning Inspectorate have now decided to uphold that appeal.

The inspector has acknowledged that “the proposed development would cause harm to the character and appearance of the area” and that this is a valuable open space for nearby residents. He also noted that the outline plan does not “demonstrate that the proposed quantity of development could be accommodated within the confines of the site given the constraint created by the protected trees.” It’s unclear how many units of affordable housing could be secured as a proportion of the planned housing, but it is the potential social value of affordable housing that has swayed the inspector’s decision.

In 2009, the Planning Inspectorate turned down an appeal for a very similar proposal from Benjamin Bentley and Partners. At the time, they said the plans would have a significant impact on our area, and should not be approved. The only material difference between then and now is that Kirklees Council don’t currently have an up-to-date planning policy framework.

Appeal Decision (PDF) 

read this to see the inspector’s evaluation in full

Planning application 2016/91479

see the ‘Appeals’ section for more letters about the appeal


 

About our local planning policies

The new Kirklees Local Plan (which shows how land across Kirklees will be used for housing and jobs in the future), was submitted to the Government in April 2017, but at the time of writing is still going through the process of being assessed. Because the Local Plan hasn’t been approved, the inspector says that Kirklees Council cannot demonstrate that we have made enough land available in Kirklees for a five year supply of new housing. In the draft Kirklees Local Plan, the land at Hart Street is not allocated for housing.

In our Neighbourhood Plan (a more local planning policy), which is being put together by Newsome Ward Community Forum, the land at Hart Street is specified as a site that should be retained as open space. In every local consultation about this land in recent years, there has been a clear consensus that the people who live here would like to see our mill ponds retained. Not everyone in Newsome agrees with that, but the evidence shows that it is what most people who live nearby want, which is one of the reasons why we have actively campaigned to protect our mill ponds for the past decade.


 

What happens next?

The leaseholders have “Outline” permission only. Work cannot start on site until a number of conditions have been met. The leaseholder or the developer will need to submit a “Reserved matters” planning application, including full details of the layout, type of houses, how the site will be drained, how the protected trees will be retained and much more.

The inspector has specified that there must be provision of affordable housing and that public open space must be included in the plans (which may affect the financial viability of any scheme). All of the inspector’s conditions must be agreed with Kirklees Council within 3 years. If any of the conditions are not met, or if the plans are changed considerably from the original outline, a new planning application will be needed.


 

Our press statement about the appeal decision

“This is simply the wrong decision for Newsome. We know it will leave nearby residents fearful about the impact that disrupting a 200 year old network of water courses could have on their homes. These are the same families who were most badly affected by the terrible fire at Newsome Mill in November 2016. On that night, West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service used the water from both mill ponds to bring the fire under control and stop it from spreading to nearby homes and businesses.

“It’s understandable that many of the people who live here will be devastated by this latest blow to the Newsome Mills site. Our community has protected these mill ponds for over 30 years. They have become a peaceful wildlife habitat that has given people much solace. The ponds are part of the identity of Newsome, a community that has already lost so much in the past year.

“We will do everything we can to stop more of the places that are valuable to our community from being destroyed. In every local consultation about this site in recent years, there has been a clear consensus that the people who live here would like to see these mill ponds retained. We will continue to listen to what our neighbours tell us, and we’d like to thank our Newsome ward councillors and the Huddersfield Planning Committee for their support.”


 

Timeline of planning cases on the land at Hart Street

1985 – Outline application for residential development withdrawn

1995 – Outline application for retail development withdrawn

2007 – Application for 24 dwellings and 8 apartments refused

2008 – Application for 28 dwellings refused

2009 – Planning appeal refused

2016 – Outline application for 22 dwellings refused

2017 – Planning appeal upheld


 

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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: www.savenewsomemillponds.org.uk 

Choose ‘Make representation’

Or email: North2@pins.gsi.gov.uk

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:
APP/Z4718/W/17/3173711

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.

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.

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