Discussion Forum
Walkley Clogs

From Nicola M
Tuesday, 19 June 2007

Thought it should be noted that on the back of the expiring planning application for Walkleys, the company - good old Revegate again - have resubmitted their bid to refit. Whilst the previous application had been approved for 32 apartments, the new application is to consider 51 apartments.

Further information is detailed on Planning Watch.

From Andrew Hall
Monday, 25 June 2007

Thanks, Nicola, for drawing this to our attention.

I'd always thought that conversion of Walkeys would not entail much external change. However what is proposed here is demolition of a large part of the mill and a series of bizarre looking shoe boxes up against the main road.

Hopefully it represents what people want and is not just the obtuse fantasy of an avant-garde design house......

From Jasper
Monday, 25 June 2007

I really like it! I've taken a look at the sketches and think it looks great. I've even enquired about buying 'off plan'.

The plans show what should be 'affordable' living space. More units mean lower unit cost. Let hope these could even be 'starter homes'!

From Jacob
Tuesday, 26 June 2007

Good for you Jasper.

Affordable? I think not. Expensive properties with a delightful outlook onto an increasingly congested main road more like. Having said this, with the supply of cheaply built apartment accommodation in Hebden Bridge currently exceeding demand, you may be able to pick up a bargain.

From Lauren B
Tuesday, 26 June 2007

I am disgusted that yet again there are going to be more ugly apartments built in the Heben area. This town is not Leeds or Manchester and should not be filled with little modern boxes for people to live in. I would like to think that the people of Hebden and Mytholmroyd will get behind the objection of this development as they have with many others. What about the increased traffic flow bought about by 51 extra houses on the already busy Burnley Road? what about the people who live in front and behind the mill who have to wake up every morning and look into peoples apartments? (burnley road is not very wide so it wont be from a safe distance!). and Jasper £200K for a box in amongst 51 other boxes is not affordable.

I am absolutely furious that there is another scheme to take away the character of this grea town and that it is even being considered.

From Lou
Wednesday, 27 June 2007

Ahhhhhh yes ... Studio Baad yet again with what looks to be some weird "design features".

No doubt some or all of the other names which are usually connected with Studio Baad will also be involved ... Mango, Fletcher and Clyndes to name just three.

Do we relly want to see these weird and not so wonderful "features" in this area? I am all for redundant mills being converted into apartments if they cannot be of any other use, but can't they be more sympathetic to the surrounding area?

And ... what will happen regarding the very rickety bridge over the river? I am assuuming that at least some of the car parking for the apartments will be where the old car park for Walkleys was.

Do the owners/developers intend to rebuild the bridge to make it safe to both drivers and pedestrians?

From Andy M
Wednesday, 27 June 2007

Can't really tell a lot from the sketch - but the design appears to make a nod to mill factory design with north facing lights etc. Personally I'd prefer something a bit more adventurous if the site is going to be used for housing.

Out of interest what would people like to see instead of housing?

From Zilla Brown
Wednesday, 27 June 2007

I agree with Lauren B on this. Having seen the plans I think this is another Studio Baad (good name!) horror... their in-touch approach typified by the yacht shown sailing on the Calder on the plans. The building would maybe be OK in Leeds or Manchester but not at the entrance to Hebden where it will completely overwhelm the surrounding buildings. One of the nice things about driving though that area is the way the valley opens out and the hills can be seen above. One look at this and the ambience would be destroyed - and where did they get the idea for those huge windows?

Then there are the practicalities - 51 apartments = at least 70 more cars. This road is often gridlocked and not just in the evenings now. The area is an accident black spot with more than one death on the road in that area. Any more traffic, even with a revised site entrance (and maybe even lights?), will cause problems and slow things down even more.

The bridge over the river is too narrow for modern traffic and has been missing part of its parapet down to road level for some time as traffic regularily runs into it.

Finally, as others have said, there are more than enough apartments about standing empty. They are not affordable housing.

From Phil A
Thursday, 5 July 2007

I totally agree with Lauren and Zilla.
Just a note to anybody who wants to make a comment about the plans only has until 6th July.

Look at the pictures - they want to knock down half the mill and put a spiky glass and steal atrocity next to the river. This will be the main thing you'll see if you travel in from Mytholmroyd - a great big tacky symbol of soulless capitalism greeting you (probably with a "flats available" sign permanently on the wall).

From Andy M
Thursday, 5 July 2007

Or maybe they would see a building that showed the local community embraced modern design rather than living in some sort of heritage time warp?

The main issue seems to be the traffic increase but again, what would people like to see the mill used for, if not for housing?

From Phil A
Friday, 6 July 2007

Even if we agreed it was a matter of taste, the community won't have been embracing anything because it had little to do with them, unless of course lots of people told the council it was a good idea - I don't suppose we'll know. I feel using it for accomodation would be more acceptable if at a lower level - alternative uses such as retail, art studios etc. might be fun but not viable. Did you have an idea Andy?

From Andy M
Sunday, 8 July 2007

I agree that mixed use would be a good compromise, providing the retailers/groups were found to fill it, but I can't help feeling that housing is better than nothing...and I'd personally still like to see something completely different architecturally.

From Jasper
Sunday, 8 July 2007

Andy M, I read your previous about the town you visited near Zurich (Developing Hebden Bridge 18th June 2007) and it got me thinking.

I think modern architecture (eg steel and glass) would look out of place and 'clash' in the centre of Hebden ie Bridge Gate and St Georges Square. I genuinely believe we should keep the character of these areas, however false and contrived they maybe.

This is why I really like the proposed conversion of Walkley Cloggs. Although the sketches aren't too clear it does seem to be a fusion of the old and the new. There is little surrounding architecture for it to contrast with and is therefore the ideal position for a development of this kind. I really think it will provide a functional funky feature for a funky town.

The sketches of Commercial Street and The Garden Street car park are equally valid. The commercial street ideas show an aesthetically pleasing and imaginative conversion to derelict buildings which again wont detract from the 'old' architecture in the town centre. Although I have concerns on the validity of how the developers obtained the land and contract, I also believe the proposition for Garden Street will be an asset to the town. Those against seem to focus on the justification of the number of car parking spaces. Lets remember the proposition is for a mix of retail, living space and parking; again improving local resources.

I’m in no way connected to any of these developments or any of the companies or individuals concerned. I don't stand to gain or lose should they go ahead or not. Although I have registered my support with Calderdale Council and have also been asked to put on a waiting list for an apartment at Walkley Cloggs.

Andy M, you seem to hint that you’d like something more adventurous or striking for Walkley Cloggs Mill? What have you in mind? I believe with the backward thinking that opposes the current plans anything more daring would provoke an even more negative response.

I can’t help finding irony that in our former mill town there is a great deal of 'luddite' thinking!

From Andy M
Monday, 9 July 2007

Jasper are you sure you mean this?!

"I genuinely believe we should keep the character of these areas, however false and contrived they maybe."

Seems a bit contradictory!

Must admit I'm not entirely sure what I'd like to see at Walkleys but I can imagine a much more modern Bridge Street. Some of the houses/shops are ok but if you look back at the steps from the other side of the rives what looks ugly and out of place? Turners for one in my opinion - horrible plate glass, purpole and mock god knows half timbering. Imagine a mix of old and new with wood, glass, stone - terraces over the river, different levels.

Or maybe an emerald city to go with the yellow brick road!

From Zilla Brown
Monday, 9 July 2007

"I really think it will provide a functional funky feature for a funky town." What's the definition of funky when regarding Hebden?

In my view this kind of thinking is one the problems with Hebden Bridge at this moment in its history. Those who know it from years ago will remember its original ambience. A little faded, quiet streets, people just working in the local trades mainly-electricians, plumbers, farmers, shop workers, sewing machinists, textile operatives etc. We never thought about the future of the town, or so called progress, just got on with life.

Suddenly along comes Anneka Rice and her TV program (I think that was the turning point) and the area is pin pointed. Already a few "offcomedens" were living here and they added a zest to the town's mix. The problem now in my view is that the mix has changed too much - once people started talking up Hebden and believing the (frankly) bullshit written about it, people who may otherwise have despised it suddenly felt it was trendy to live there and could afford it.

They may be surprised to find it is still after all a gritty northern town based on past generations very hard work, with all its problems and an underlying population of locals doing the dirty or ill paid jobs. No wonder the "posh" shops fail, the "posey" funky developments end up empty. Who really wants or can afford them? Don't believe everything you read.

I feel Walkeys would be best put to use as units to let for small buisnesses and offices but I guess that wouldnt make the owners enough money.

From Andrew Hall
Monday, 9 July 2007

Zilla - I agree, 'funky' is a horrible word. Looking at my online dictionary, most of the definitions are fairly negative - 'foul smelling', 'overcome with great fear', 'unwashed odour' etc, etc. However, the last definition is 'Characterized by originality and modishness; unconventional'. This presumably is the definition that the proponents of the word would have us believe.

And fair enough. No problem there. The problem arises when people become overly self-conscious of the word. 'We're funky, we are! We're wacky! We're a little bit mental, we are!' Somehow, being aware of your 'funkiness' or your unconventionality makes things look a bit contrived and artificial. It's as though Hebden Bridge thinks it's become a brand - a marketable commodity. And, honestly, is there anything less 'funky' than being voted one of the funkiest towns in a national newspaper? As Groucho Marx said 'I don't want to belong to any club that will accept me as a member'

But back to the development in question. No, I don't think the answer is units for small businesses etc. That, surely, has been tried there in the 80's and 90's, and failed. Where I do agree with you, though, is that the market for apartments/flats is weak - the real demand is for family homes, and that's something that the Walkley's Clogs site can never, ever be.

So if it's going to be anything, it's going to be apartments. And, given the drawings in the application form, ain't it just going to be a funky little development for funky people! And don't they just know it!

From Andy M
Tuesday, 10 July 2007


They seem to manage perfectly well throughout Europe and in may other world countries with flats as family homes - not sure I'd want one next to the river though with small children. People in this country view flats as aprtments or slums - a result of misconceived planning and the housing market?

From Joseph
Friday, 13 July 2007

Thanks Christine. So, for the record, can you just confirm that you will back the Walkleys Mill development with its 50 new homes, and by my maths 10 new affordable/social units as a result?

From Christine Bampton-Smith
Friday, 13 July 2007

Dear Joseph

I have no objections in principle to the development of Walkley's Mill. Any plan, however, has to be carefully considered to ensure it complies with planning regulations, especially with regard to traffic safety. Hebden Royd Council has a right to make recommendations to Calderdale on any plan in our area, but Calderdale makes the final decision and does not always agree with Hebden Royd.

From Tom Standfield
Sunday, 15 July 2007

What we need most in this area is more affordable homes for first time buyers. Is this proposal likely to do that? I think not.

Now that Labour, under its new leader, finally appears to be bringing back social housing, I would like to suggest that Calderdale MBC compulsory purchase Walkeys (ideally at no more than the price for which it was acquired plus inflation) and convert the mill into affordable accommodation. But not just accommodation. We need places to work too. So lets have work units there. Commuting is not environmentally friendly. Having more people being able to work locally would mean less traffic and a more pleasant existence for those who no longer have to travel in an out of the valley each day.

When considering this proposal, it is important to bear in mind the reputation of those involved with the application - see earlier posts in this thread.

Walkleys is a large local landmark and resource - so how about having its future the subject of a full and open public consultation?

From Ian M
Monday, 16 July 2007

I will believe in this new social housing when I see it being built. I don't think it stretches the immagination to think this might just be more "New Labour spin". I would also like to suggest that Calderdale MBC compulsory purchase your house and see how you like it. Brings a whole new meaning to "property is theft". Just because you don't like the suggestions for a building doesn't mean you can have it forcibly removed from its legal owners.

From Phil A
Tuesday, 7 August 2007

Just to let you know that we got a letter today to say that the Walkley's Cloggs Mill application has been refused.