Plans submitted to develop Nutclough Mill, one of Hebden Bridge's finest old buildings.
Friday, 7 September 2012
A planning application has been submitted for a large metal factory building next to Nutclough Mill. An article in the HB Times on 9th August announced the plans - essentially a press release by the developers. Calrec, current tenants of the Mill, want to rationalise their production to a single space and need a large industrial building to do so. The owners of Nutclough Mill propose to build such a building next to the mill for Calrec to lease.
The building is described as an 'extension' to the mill. It will be upto 5 storeys high, approximately twice the width of the main part of Nutclough Mill, and extend far beyond the main building towards Foster Lane. It will be constructed of metal cladding and roof, with cedar wood cladding to the front façade to Foster Lane/Heptonstall.
Despite the fact that this application concerns a historically sensitive site, a conservation area and amendments to a listed building, minimal information has been supplied in the application. Residents requested that artist's impressions/ sightlines/ contextual views be provided showing the building in context so that people can see how the building would look, because the plans and elevations do not allow the visual impact of the proposals to be judged, and the developers agreed to supply these. The plans were (belatedly) put only display in Hebden Bridge library, on the first floor. The drawings showing context and views have not been provided as promised.
The proposed scale, design and material for the building are unprecedented in Hebden Bridge. The building is deeply out of keeping with the townscape in general and the location, and it would obscure the Listed Nutclough Mill from the sight line coming down Keighley Road and Foster Lane. The building would be visible from almost every direction owing to its scale, and would damage the outlook from scores of houses on Foster Lane and Lees Road, Nutclough and Birchcliffe. It would also be conspicuous in the view of Hebden Bridge from Heptonstall.
Crucially, if planning permission is granted, this will set a precedent of deviation from the protection offered by Hebden's Conservation Area status. The building would deviate from the Hebden Bridge Conservation Area Appraisal and Management Plan with respect to appearance, scale, materials and damage to important views. Hebden Bridge's vibrant economy is very largely based on its character and attractiveness. If a building so flagrantly out of keeping with the appearance of the town were permitted, future applications similarly out of keeping with the vernacular architecture and scale of Hebden Bridge would be almost impossible to oppose, leading to the erosion of Hebden Bridge's outstanding attractiveness and hence its economy.