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Nutclough Mill extension

From Julie C

Saturday, 8 September 2012

The idea of an extension for Calrec is great, and it shows commitment to high quality manufacturing in the valley.

However, having looked carefully at the plans at Calderdale's on-line portal I am very disappointed. The building makes no concessions to the setting, either in position, dimensions or proposed materials, and will be truly horrible for the families living on Nutclough Terrace.

How about opening up the design to wider competition, and having a beautiful, sustainable and useful contribution to our townscape.
A green roof garden perhaps, maybe glass between the extension and the historic mill, so that the original structure is still in view. The present plans take up just the land between the mill and the houses, what about a larger footprint, but at a lower level, this could include a single story below Foster Lane, at present a landscaped bank and car park.

A concession to Nutclough and Foster Lane residents for the disruption of the development would be to grant them overnight and weekend parking permits on Calrec's outdoor car park.

Come on Calrec make us look forward to your development, not dread it.

From Isis C

Monday, 17 September 2012

The Nutclough Mill owners and Calrec could really have a potentially award winning building with support from the public instead of their opposition if they were to listen.

As the plans stand, such a large industrial building would be really detrimental to the area and the whole town.

Their lack of interest on any suggestions for concessions (car park space, extending the number of gardens at the back of the cottages, a green roof garden etc.) speaks volumes. Put simply, it would cost them money (in insurance premiums, building costs or otherwise).

I don't think they are considering the effect that such building would have on neighbours or the impact this would have on the conservation area of Hebden Bridge, the views from the valley or the look and feel of the town.

The Wikipedia definition of sustainable development is: ''Sustainable development (SD) is a pattern of economic growth in which resource use aims to meet human needs while preserving the environment so that these needs can be met not only in the present, but also for generations to come.''

In my view, this is not sustainable development and it should most definitely be.

From Bob Deacon

Monday, 17 September 2012

I wish to add my comments to those who have objected to the character of the proposed extension to Nutclough Mill and make a suggestion regarding how the important heritage value of this building might be enhanced and better appreciated both by Hebden Bridge residents and visitors. While an extension which provides new jobs has to be welcomed the key issue is the claim of the applicant that the plans conform with the planning requirement that they "do not affect the architectural character or appearance of Listed Buildings or their settings and respect the detailing of the building including the form, design, scale, methods of construction and materials". This is clearly not the case given the nature of the materials to be used to clad and roof the extension building.

Others have suggested a lower rise building, and, I would add, one built of stone, might be more suitable. This will cost more money. This is where I want to make the point about conserving the heritage and enhancing it. Pennine Heritage saved the mill in the 1980s and restored some of it because in the 19th the century the mill became very well known as the home of the Fustian coop, described by Fabian socialist Beatrice Potter as the most brilliant example of producer cooperation. Could not an application be made to the Lottery Heritage fund to contribute to the resources available to enable the extension to conform to the requirements?

My proposal is that if this were done the heritage money would be justified because space could be made available in the old building (space made available as the plan suggests by the move of the manufacturing activities to the extension) for a small museum or display, open to the public, which celebrated those early cooperative days and made the link to today's cooperatively spirited Hebden Bridge. This could be perhaps on the 4th floor which was refurbished and restored by Pennine Heritage?

I am making this suggestion in the context of working voluntarily for Pennine Horizons on a way-marked e-trail on early Radicalism in the Upper Calder Valley (see Pennine Horizons: Work in Progress). The trail, when finished, would take walkers past a number of sites such as the Basin Stone above Todmorden where Chartists used to gather and Hardcastle Crags where the Clarion Cycle Choirs used to sing progressive songs. My idea is that the trail includes the Nutclough Mill and indeed the Town Hall, where the Chair of the Nutclough Coop has a room named after him, the Fustian Needle in the town centre, and other such historic sites linked to early radicalism within the town. Ideally all these places would be marked with a display celebrating the early roots of Hebden's contemporary radicalism. I can't think that Calrec would object as on their very own community web site they carry videos celebrating the mill's history: Nutclough Mill and Hebden Bridge .

So the idea is yes to a single story stone extension built to blend with the old mill and funded in part either from heritage funds or other local charitable or philanthropic resources with a part of the old mill being given over to a historic display. Perhaps the Hebdenroyd Council, the History Society, Pennine Heritage, Pennine Prospects, the Hebden Bridge Partnership and other agencies concerned with the governance of the town could think this through?

From Julie C

Wednesday, 19 September 2012

I was concerned on adding my comments on the Calderdale planning site to discover that under the section on Consultants comments there are none from what I would have thought might have been helpful advisors - they count 0 comments from: Conservation officers - English Heritage - Ancient Monuments society - Society for Protection of Ancient Buildings - Council for British Archaeology - Victorian Society - Save Britain's Heritage.

Should the applicant have approached these organisations, or perhaps Calderdale Planning, or is it the job of local people? - whoever's job it is, will someobody get in touch with them please before it is too late.

From Chris Standish

Monday, 24 September 2012

Some very interesting and considered views here. Bob - i think you really get to grips with the key issues.

There is no doubt the application will be approved. In my view - it should be approved. The planning system is there to assist businesses and help bring development forward.

It is though a shame about some of the design aspects. The proposal is tucked away though. The applicants retain the possibility of creating some form of 'green roof' which would be great.

It is all about financial viability and the funding envelope available to the company to deliver the scheme. Lets hope that the planners and the applicant can find the optimal balance and agree some conditions that will enhace the design as much as practically possible.

Overall though, lets get behind this and support the application. A great company in a lovely mill that supports many families throughout the Valley.

From Graham Barker

Tuesday, 25 September 2012

What may not be fully appreciated is that in heritage terms the Nutclough Mill 'package' includes the adjacent terrace of houses. As part of the mill's curtilage, these too are listed buildings. Only a few years ago the owner of one of them installed uPVC windows and was immediately forced to replace them with identical wooden frames because uPVC was deemed inappropriate. Now Calrec proposes to stick a huge mass of inappropriateness slap bang in the middle of this highly visible and much visited heritage site. If they get permission to go ahead, it will make a mockery of conservation in Hebden Bridge and create a precedent for other inappropriate schemes.

It's great to have a world-class manufacturer in Hebden Bridge, and I wouldn't dispute the economic benefit Calrec brings to the town. But there is no guarantee that in another few years they won't decide that for business reasons they need to move elsewhere. Would they then take their new building with them, or would it be left as an eyesore in perpetuity? I appreciate that they have a space problem to solve, but this is a wretched way of dealing with it.

From Jim M

Wednesday, 26 September 2012

 I always think one of the weakest arguements against any development is the 'what if' one.  Because of course 'what ifs' are infinite.  I am sure that a rational decision maker has to ask is this satisfactory now, and not think about whether the occupier might move away in years to come.

From Alison Woolley

Wednesday, 26 September 2012

Although I wholeheartedly support Calrec with their flourishing business I fail to understand why they feel that they are able to achieve this at the expense of all of the residents of the Nutclough terrace whose homes will be blighted forever by this development. As one councillor stated at last weeks council meeting "it is a carbuncle and akin to having a football stadium built in your back yard".

There are serious concerns regarding the methods of building and the potential damage to the integrity of the foundations of the terrace properties, there is no guarantee that the roof will be "green" this is only an option that could be considered. The second floor of the building will block light from homes and anyone in the office will be able to look directly into our houses. The building materials are totally out of keeping with the rest of the area and B2 planning permission is sought meaning that if Calrec should relocate at any time we could be stuck with a very noisy business right outside our back doors.

One of the great features of the mill is the rear view and the crescent of houses, people come here to view this. This will be lost forever. To my mind this extension is too big, too close and too high.

From Annie Potter

Thursday, 27 September 2012

I was shocked when I heard what Calrec wants to do to the beautiful Nutclough Mill and cottages. I do not want them to move away and welcome growth but not like this. They are very being very short sighted and want growth and convenience even if this is at the expense and detriment of others. Could they not build the underground car park elsewhere, have a stone single storage building and do away with the proposed monstrous tower? Could they not compromise with neighbours and offer them some kind of compensation and make the area better? They could but they will not; they want what they want, period. Wherever they originated from, they are not a small homegrown company. From what I hear, they are part of a large American corporation (D+M group, I believe) and like most corporations they do not seem to care about anything or anyone else but their own profit. Sadly, conservation, history or heritage does not seem to be part of their agenda, never mind safeguarding their own neighbourhood or town. Shame on them!

The new building would not create many (if any) new jobs; they are merely wanting to have their existing sites in one to streamline their production and yes; save/make more money.

What guarantees are there that they would create a green roof once the plans have been approved? Absolutely none.

As other people have said, this building would only bring detriment to the town short and long term without bringing any real benefits.

Chris Standish, the building is tucked away?? From what angle?? Certainly not from my part of town.

From Helen Taylor

Thursday, 27 September 2012

To reiterate what others have said, Nutclough Mill is a Grade II listed historic building which has exceptional heritage value integral to this historic town. It has similarly exceptional aesthetic value with its crescent of attached millworkers' cottages which were an integral part of the Mill estate, built in its heyday and which, together with the iconic mill itself, form a landmark vista.

I understand that Calrec have been proud to be located on this prestigious site for precisely these reasons, and am certain that if an unrelated company wanted to build this building next to the Mill, they would feel outrage at the idea of a construction so large and vulgarly designed, blocking the light on the lower floors of the mill, blocking views out for employees, and spoiling the setting of their headquarters. And rightly so.

Because of its historic nature, this site is simply not a suitable one to house the building that is proposed, and to argue otherwise requires the special pleading which is evidenced in the planning application. I understand that the applicants are in the process of producing some artists' impressions of the proposed building. I think these images will speak for themselves and the reasonableness of the proposals for this building on this site will then be more easily judged than from simple plans and elevations, particularly for those less familiar with the site and location.

I am certain there are many other and more suitable sites where Calrec could expand/rationalise their production operation which would bring investment to the area in the same way as the proposed building would do.

From John Hanson

Sunday, 30 September 2012

You lot always make problems for any potential planning application... Chances are, you've only been in the town for less than ten years... Calrec should be given a clear light - there's not much industry left in this town, it's their land... And I can think of a lot more eyesores round that area than what there trying to build.

From Alison Woolley

Sunday, 30 September 2012

I would like to ask that everyone who objects to this proposal writes to the planning department with their objections. There are links to the application on the Council website. The objections need to be challenging the Council's own policies and how this proposed development is not in line with these policies and in particular regarding the fact that the mill and the terrace form part of an important conservation area.

I can assure the contributor to this thread that from where the residents of Nutclough terrace live, that this is not "tucked away" and out of sight. The building will be situated a few meters away from our homes and directly beneath our kitchen, sitting room, bathroom and attic windows. It will be so close that we could almost cultivate our own gardens on the proposed green roof (for which there is no guarantee and is more likely to be an industrial metal roof). Anyone working in the proposed office block will be able to look directly into our houses and the loss of privacy, light and ammenity will be huge.

There are no guarantees that any new jobs will be created and we have serious concerns about the damage which could be caused to our own properties when the builders start to excavate around party walls to build their foundations. Please write to the planning department and ask that Calrec looks again at where they site this extension.

From Dai Hallgarth

Sunday, 30 September 2012

John Hanson, whatever are you on about? Who is "you lot"? I moved to Hebden Bridge in 1976 and well remember the boarded-up Nutclough Terrace and the dilapidated mill. If you care to see David Fletcher's highly informative videos on Calrec's own site, you will see that Pennine Heritage bought the buildings and land for the princely sum of £1 and saved it from Calderdale's proposed demolition.

The terrace, underpinning Keighley Road, was successfully argued to be an integral part of this highly important landmark building benefiting the new residents of previously unwanted housing and giving the fledgling Calrec the tenanted premises they needed at that time.

Please refer above to Bob Deacon's reasoned and intelligent proposals for a superb alternative to the proposed plan which, apart from most welcome funding, will enhance the site, follow in the footsteps of the pioneering founders and not impinge on the Nutclough residents' amenities.

Calrec is an undoubted feather in our local cap; my attempts to help play a part in rescuing traditional textile arts finally failed. Calrec are undoubtedly a more than worthy successor to the textile forebears, growing from strength to strength but simply becoming too big for their existing premises.

Graham, Alison, Annie and Helen all acknowledge the value and importance of Calrec as a rare globally-successful local employer, but I wholeheartedly agree with them that the proposed development will not only be detrimental to the residents of Nutclough, Foster Lane, Unity Street and Hebden as a whole, but will create a serious precedent allowing developers to trample roughshod over and around any other of our listed buidings. If Bob Deacon's intelligent solution is not possible, then relocate!! Hebden will take the consequences - as it has innumerable times in its history.

From David Thompson

Sunday, 30 September 2012

If you want your objection to be considered by the Planning Committee, your democratically elected representatives, make sure that you secure an objection from a Calderdale councillor. Do not put your faith in the Calderdale planning officers.

From James Baker

Tuesday, 2 October 2012

Mytholmroyd would be very happy to have Calrec if they want to move into one of our business parks. The jobs having a firm like this kept in the local vicinity can't be underestimated.

From Jim M

Tuesday, 2 October 2012

The suggestions that Calrec should move if they do not fully meet all resident requirements strikes me as wrong somehow. Are the company and those who work there and others who benefit in the wider economy not just members of the local community as well - and their requirements worthy of consideration.

What if they said, and I am sure they would not, 'if residents don't like what we do they should move' Just thinking.

From James Baker

Tuesday, 2 October 2012

Sorry for the missing grammar in that last post! I meant to say of course the jobs created by having this business in the community shouldn't be underestimated. I'm very much in favour of backing Calrec, and disappointed that the Town Council (as a statutory consultee) voted to oppose the planning application.

Sadly our old mills can't just be kept as museum pieces. All over Calderdale mills that have fallen into disuse have ended up becoming derelict and then pulled down. Just look at what has happened in Todmorden which now has gaping holes where mills once stood.

The design doesn't radically alter the actual building, it is placed behind the mill. It's a functional design, that I admit isn't going to win any great awards but it isn't an eyesore either.

What did frustrate me about the presentation that residents gave at the Town Council meeting was the talk of Calrec not being a good employer and that any jobs created will be of a low quality. This smearing of the company was I felt quite unfair.

Anyway it will be interesting to see what happens now at Calderdale level.

From Alison Woolley

Wednesday, 3 October 2012

Re James Baker's response.
"What did frustrate me about the presentation that residents gave at the Town Council meeting was the talk of Calrec not being a good employer and that any jobs created will be of a low quality. This smearing of the company was I felt quite unfair".

Maybe we were at different meetings, I spoke at this Council meeting about the impact that this current proposal would have on Nutclough Terrace residents and some of our concerns regarding building methods. At no point did I mention Calrec as employers as I have no idea whether they are good or bad employers and at what level any proposed new jobs would be.

Many of the residents affected are not against the expansion of Calrec. Several of the objections to the planning department make this point very clear. What is being asked is that they look again at the size, height and proximity of the extension to the terrace and the materials proposed.

From Helen Taylor

Wednesday, 3 October 2012

In response to James Baker's comment above. I think James must be referring to what I said.

I and Alison Wooley, who also comments above, were the two members of the public who attended the town council meeting to which I think James refers, at which the planning application for Nutclough Mill was on the agenda, along with all the other current local planning applications. Both of us in turn took up on the opportunity, kindly granted by the mayor, to speak to the town council about our own feelings in respect of the proposed development. This was not a "presentation".

On the matter of what James described as "smearing" of Calrec: along with my concerns about the design and visibility of the proposed building from many angles, I voiced the fact that, in the light of what I personally have heard from a few other people about many of the positions Calrec offers being relatively unskilled and hence relatively low paid, I am balancing in my own mind the possible benefits of any new jobs created (24 are stated in the planning application) versus possible detriment to the local economy in terms of damage to the appearance and place value of Hebden Bridge and hence potential impact on its tourist economy. I qualified what I said thoroughly as my own thoughts, based on things I had heard from third parties, and I made no reference whatsoever to Calrec being good, bad or indifferent employers, nor to the "quality" of any jobs (whatever that may mean?)

As I and so many others on this string have said: of course, I absolutely support Calrec as an employer and the long-term tenant of a landmark building in the town where I live; it would be surprising if I did not and frankly should go without saying. I have no desire whatsoever to see them or any other employer leave. I am certain no-one does.

It seems to me there is no reason why they need to leave Hebden Bridge; if they elect to, for any reason at any time, that will be a business decision for them. If the building they want is not, for whatever reason, able to be built exactly as they want it on the Nutclough Mill site and as a result the company opt to vacate the Mill entirely, that will be a sad situation for many, and perhaps most importantly for their employees. No-one locally wants that and hopefully it would not happen, whatever the planning decision for this particular proposal or any other in future.

They claim to value their lovely site and the town.

Let us not be sentimental about any one business or building, large or small, nor take simple business decisions, of whatever kind, personally, but take the long and broad view, the one which has made Hebden Bridge what is and hopefully can continue to be, which is an exceptional place, both aesthetically and economically.

From James Baker

Thursday, 4 October 2012

Alison I was referring to the comments Helen made about the quality of the jobs on offer. I fully appreciate that lots of other points were made about the suitability of the material, the design, and the obscuring of the view etc. I am glad you and other residents got to put your views across, even if I personally am very much favour of the application. I quite liked how the contemporary design contrasted with the old mill and allowed an industrial building built in a different era to have a new lease of life.

Helen by quality of jobs I mean the alleged low levels of pay that you made reference to. Maybe this is true, maybe it isn't. It's something you have heard people say and you did as you say make that clear. I just personally didn't think that particular comment was particularly fair to the company. It came across to me as someone trying to put down the company on matters are not material planning considerations.

I think there is a risk that if businesses can't be allowed to develop and expand their existing sites they will be forced to relocate. I am very much pro-business and jobs and my concern which I am sure many share is that if they had to relocate it would impact upon the local economy here in Cadlerdale. I also think honestly I wouldn't mind living next to the proposed development.

However it seems though my view was in the minority as most local town councillors voted to oppose this development.

From Bob Deacon

Thursday, 4 October 2012

Can somebody keep this thread updated about the next steps please. When is it likley to be considered by Calderdale Planning Commitee? Also in case Calder Civic Trust is reading this; given their new book on "Hebden Bridge: Conservation Area" (today's HB times page 17), are you intending to make a statement about the failure of the extension plan to conform to listed building requirements? Same goes I guess for HB History Society and Pennine Heritage?

From James Baker

Saturday, 6 October 2012

I was very disappointed to see on our latest set of council papers a complaint from someone wishing to speak in favour of this plan. They allege they were told the wrong date of the Town Council meeting, and there is an email that seems to suggest this was what happened.

This is a serious break-down in the democratic procedure if only one party has been able to put aside their side of the story.

The applicant has been talking to conservation officers at Cadlerdale for a year before putting in this application. This has resulted in the cost of the plan doubling to enable high quality natural materials to be used.

The extension is the minimum the company requires to keep it's manufacturing operation on the site. I really think Hebden Bridge is facing the risk of losing a major employer here.

From Graham Barker

Saturday, 6 October 2012

The owners of Calrec might have been talking to Calderdale conservation officers for a year before submitting their application, but they haven't been talking to their neighbours who would be most affected for anything like that long. Perhaps this too could be considered 'a serious breakdown in the democratic procedure'.

From Helen Taylor

Sunday, 7 October 2012

Graham, you make a great point. Let's look at the timeline that seems to be being revealed. I think it speaks for itself in demonstrating the extent of 'consultation' with residents which has been made much of by the applicants in the planning application and in recent publicity about the proposals:

Autumn 2011 – applicants begin consultation with Calderdale conservation officers
November 2011 – drawings are at Revision C
Mid-July 2012 – nearby residents receive invitation to a presentation at Nutclough Mill to inform them of the plans
July 23rd 2012 – presentation to residents by Calrec about the company, and the plans are revealed
July 30th 2012 – residents hold a meeting to discuss the plans
August 1st 2012 – residents send minutes of their discussions to the applicant and request a second meeting to discuss concerns and ideas for changes or compromises
August 14th 2012 – Second meeting at Mill between applicant and residents, at which ideas for changes/compromises are responded to by applicant
August 16th 2012 – planning application submitted to Calderdale MBC

Residents are having a further residents' meeting at the White Lion pub on 15th October.

We understand that the application will be decided at Calderdale MBC Planning Committee on 13th November.

From Ian M

Monday, 8 October 2012

If I was the owner of Calrec, right now I would be looking at alternative sites to move my business to!

I find it remarkable that people are willing to risk the loss of a hundred plus skilled jobs just because they feel that an extension on an industrial building in an industrial town will spoil the view from their terraces. Let's not call them cottages, because they aren't.

The alternative is an empty building falling into disrepair, being vandalised and being used for goodness knows what at night, until it burns down in a mysterious fire!

For goodness sake, there are only a limited number of waiters and shop assistants that this town can support!

From Paul Clarke

Monday, 8 October 2012

Cllr Baker, ever wondered why you seem to be in the minority on must issues, including being a member of a party less popular than UKIP?

The basis of your argument seems to be that in order to make sure that we keep a business we should just ignore the reasonable and well argued concerns of local residents.

I seem to recognise that sort of lame 'gun to your head' argument. Ah, it's same flawed logic that says the Condems have to attack our most vulnerable people because if we don't slash services and give the rich tax breaks then the country will collapse into economic ruin, and we all end up living in caves.

People have a right to say no to massive developments that could blight their lives without having to endure classic Lib Dem scare tactics.

Many of the same tired economic arguments were put forward when Garden Street was a live application and Calderdale rightly rejected it.

If I were the developer I would withdraw my application, have a detailed consultation and I suspect a compromise could be reached.

I suspect the costs of uprooting their business would mitigate against them pulling out of town.

It's depressing that this is the level of Cllr Baker's debating skills and he needs to understand that an obsession with the free market might be liberal but it is unhealthy.

From Bob Deacon

Monday, 8 October 2012

Thanks for the timetable of past consultations and future dates. I am not a "resident" of Nutclough, although I am a resident of Hebden Bridge, and so won't attend the "residents' " meeting (I am away anyway on October 15th) but want to reiterate my point about the failure of the plans to meet conservation standards.

The timely publication by Calder Civic Trust: Conservation Area-Hebden Bridge (available from Tourist Office etc) sets out the boundaries of the conservation are with Nutclough clearly within them.

What I cant understand is why, when the Civic Trust publication reminds us that "new developments (within a conservation area) must normally be built of natural stone..." that the Calderdale Council Planning Officer appears to have condoned the submission of plans which break this 'rule'.

I do feel this issue is fundamental to the future of Hebden as an historic town which is visited partly because of its heritage preserved in stone.

From Graham Barker

Monday, 8 October 2012

A few more observations to fling into the mix:

1 Calrec is not a UK-owned company. It was sold in 2007 to Japanese company D&M Holdings, which is itself owned by an investment fund. Strategic decisions about Calrec's future will therefore be taken thousands of miles away and based on bigger considerations than the outcome of a local UK planning application. Given the way global companies operate, even a short-term commitment to Hebden Bridge can't be taken for granted.

2 As I understand it, it's the owners of Nutclough Mill who want the extension in order to keep Calrec as a tenant. Calrec may want the extension but ultimately it's not theirs, so again it's justifiable to ask 'what if?' questions about longer-term need. Calrec may be highly successful but it is a business. It could stay in Hebden Bridge for decades, or it could be gone in a year.

3 Most Nutclough residents are not against the extension in itself - just the two-storey part that will be too close and too obtrusive. As the owners of the mill appear unwilling to compromise on that, residents have little alternative but to oppose the whole application.

From Julie C

Wednesday, 24 October 2012

I thought this might be helpful it is taken from 'Century of Change.'

1979 Clearance Order for Nutclough Terrace - resisting the order was Hebden Bridge Conservation Group who said the houses were part of the townscape and should be restored as starter homes for young couples.
The Conservation group went to the High Court in London - the judge ruled that houses because of the walkway link were part of the mill curtilage, if the mill was to be preserved the terrace must be preserved also - Granted the group an injunction against demolition and costs of £3000.

Calderdale went to the Appeal Court. In August 1982, 3 Judges ruled in favour of the Conservation group. They ruled that the terraces were a structure fixed to the mill, granted the Group £12000 costs and refused the Council leave to appeal to the House of Lords.

In 1984 Calderdale allocated £120,000 to restore the Nutclough housing.

This is an example of one of the battles to preserve the fabric and character of Hebden Bridge fought in the not so distant past. I feel it raises the status of the Nutclough Terrace as an intrinsic part of the townscape - and that the impact of any development on the Terrace should be carefully considered.

From Bob Deacon

Tuesday, 6 November 2012

Before Calderdale Planning Committee makes a fateful decision on November 13th allow me one more appeal for a sensible outcome of this planning application. It is clear that Calrec are a reasonable employer who wish to remain a tenant of Nutclough Mill and will do so if it can be extended to suit their production needs. Hebden Bridge need those jobs to stay. The owners of the mill; Nutclough Mill Ltd are Steven and Thomas Jagger (father and son). No accounts of this new company are filed yet but we can assume that as owners they will look forward to a reasonable income from continuing to let the mill to Calrec. Thats OK.

The problem is "only" that the scale and design proposed for the extension drives a coach and horses through the conservation area policy for Hebden Bridge. The company who submitted the design is JT Jagger Ltd, the same Thomas Jagger. Although the web site says conservation is one of their specialisms there are no testimonials or even any past projects listed on the site at present to enable us to examine the track record.

The outcome on the 13th should, in my opinion, not be total rejection of the extension plan. This could lead to Calrec not signing the next 15 year lease which I believe they are due to do soon. The outcome should neither be acceptance of the existing plan. Any future attempt to conserve the architectural heritage of HB would be undermined by this. We would also all be ashamed that we let this shoddy building go up.

The obvious compromise is either a deferral to await a revised application that proposes a more suitable building or an agreement to accept the plan in principle on the very strict condition that the northern and western facades of the building which are the most visible should be clad in stone (ideally recycled) to reflect the Mill design and possibly some of the roof done in slate. The Calder Civic Trust think the same in their submission to the planning department.

The objection of the owners is that this will add an extra cost. The response has to be that they will need to charge Calrec a litle higher rent to cover the cost. People of good will should be able to solve this one.

Why do I care? Lots of reasons, one of which is that as a Friend of the Town Hall I am currently supportive of their plan to obtain Lottery Heritage money to restore the old town hall building. Part of that application depends on the link of the Town Hall to Greenwood, the chair of the earlier Nutclough Cooperative. What an irony it would be if just as the the Town Hall sells itself as believing in the importance of preserving Heritage a major part of that Heritage is damaged in front of our eyes. Indeed why should the Lottery fund put money into conserving one part of the town when its governing body (I mean Calderdale) is overseeing the damaging of heritage just up the road.

Thats it. I hope by these interventions I have not annoyed too many people. Bob.

From Chris Standish

Wednesday, 7 November 2012

I agree with you Bob.

I think it will be approved by the planning committee but I hope that sensible conditions can be written to ensure that the design and massing aspects can be properly adressed.

There is an old conservation phrase I used to use quite often when applications were poor quality - dabasing the coinage of what Conservation Areas stand for. Lets hope this doesn't happen here...

From Graham Barker

Wednesday, 14 November 2012

Tonight's Calderdale planning committee meeting decided to defer a decision on the application in the light of information received, in the nick of time, from a solicitor specialising in planning law. He was acting for Nutclough residents on the initiative of Helen Taylor, to whom very grateful thanks are owed.

It transpired that Calderdale planners did not know that the Nutclough terrace houses - which would have been adversely affected by the extension - are also Grade II listed buildings by virtue of being within the mill curtilage. (A point made by me in an earlier post!)

The application hasn't gone away, but it has had a large spanner thrown into its works. It has presumably been recognised that what was originally thought to be a proposal to build next to a heritage site is actually a proposal to build right in the middle of it.

Quite how this oversight occurred, after the owners of the mill had been in discussions with Calderdale planners for many months, is difficult to say.

From Bob Deacon

Wednesday, 2 January 2013

Late on New Year’s Eve Calderdale slipped onto its web site the report of its planning officer which recommends that the ugly, huge warehouse extension to the iconic Nutclough Mill be approved. See this Calderdale web page.

Knowing that the letter pages of HB Times for Thursday 3rd had already been put to bed and aware that most people would not notice as they slowly returned to work the officer is hopeful that next Tuesday 8th at 6.00 the plans will be approved.

The earlier report written for the planning committee meeting in November had to be withdrawn because the officer (among other things) failed to take account of the fact that Nutclough Terrace, which will be badly affected by the plan, was a listed building too. Now the officer adds insult to injury by stating that the Terrace was “listed by default”. Is this a snide way of getting back at the Appeal Court Judges who overruled Calderdale Council in 1982 by asserting that the terrace was a structure fixed to the mill meeting all three tests for listing by curtilage. English Heritage’s Conservation Bulletin said “It was clear that the cottages had a close, indeed contiguous relationship, that they had been owned by the same person in the past, and that their functions at some time had been inter-dependent”.

Once again, the new report tries to present an argument (less than coherently) that the building will not have a serious impact upon the residents in the terrace and that the whole plan is in keeping with the requirements of a conservation area. Calder Civic Trust is selectively quoted twice in the new report when its support in principle for an extension (to conserve jobs) is given prominence and no mention is made of its view that any such extension should be clad in stone and slate to be in keeping with all the neighbouring buildings.

The report also, in effect, ignores the Calderdale Core Strategy Plan which is out for consultation which limits the size of industrial development within Hebden Bridge to buildings which are half the size of this proposed extension.

All of this is because it is seemingly widely held that Calrec will move from the mill if their demand that the mill owners Nutclough Mill Ltd (Stephen and Tom Jagger) build this cheap extension ‘shed’ is not met. Tom Jagger has obliged by using his own company (JT Jagger Ltd ) to submit the design. Although his company web site says conservation is one of its specialisms there are no testimonials or even any past projects listed on the site at present to enable us to examine their track record in conservation. The current plan won’t provide such a testimonial either .

Calrec need to be asked whether it is actually their plan to move away if they can’t have built this exact building which trashes the conservation they claim to value being a part of? Could the company be asked by the Council to revisit the design, with a smaller and lower building made of more expensive recycled local stone and slate? The profit of Calrec in 2011 was £2,860,743 compared with £694,000 in 2010 (company house records). There is plenty of money there to pay Nutclough Mill Ltd a higher rent for a more expensive stone extension to the mill.

Perhaps because all of the current Calrec Directors (except the company secretary) now live outside Yorkshire (two in Cornwall, one in Berkshire, one in Oldham) they have no care for the original building that David Fletcher and Pennine Heritage saved from demolition so many years ago.

My point is once again that simply voting yes or no to this plan does not meet the needs of the situation. The decision should be deferred on January 8th until an exceptional meeting is convened of Calderdale Council, Hebden Royd Council, Calrec, Nutclough Mill Ltd, local residents, representatives of employees of Calrec and other parties to thrash out alternative options which keep Calrec in the valley (if they even have any thought of moving), save jobs, preserve the mill, provide Nutclough Mill Ltd with an income, and let the residents of Nutclough Terrace and the rest of the town sleep peacefully.

If this current plan is allowed to go ahead the next developer wanting to build a metal building in the Conservation area will be able to quote precedent and the Hebden Bridge Conservation Area would in effect be meaningless.

From Julie C

Saturday, 5 January 2013

After a bit of digging about I found the what Bob was talking about, I'd already looked at the planning page, and only found some small changes to the original plans. The Planning officers' detailed response is here.
Having looked at the altered plans and the comments it seems as though the planners have found justifications to back up what they wanted in the first place, ie. allow whatever the applicant wanted.

The possible green roof is not going to be insisted upon, and there will still be a large office block standing up above the level of the main extension, the height and pitch has only been minimally altered.
If the higher level office building was moved west, off the top of the manufacturing section, so that instead it was below the wall of Foster Lane, it would not impact adversely on the cottages and detached house above. Much of that land is a poor quality landscaped bank and car parking which could be re-organised.

If this option was undertaken, the complete extension. Would be absorbed into the existing townscape with minimal impact on adjoining properties.

If you haven't had a look at the plans yet, you can still see them on Calderdale's planning site.

From Helen Taylor

Monday, 7 January 2013

Well said, Julie C.

As one of the homeowners on Nutclough I am finding that most people assume this is a modest, sensitively designed, green roofed 'extension' which will be hidden away behind the mill. It is not surprising that this is what people believe, since this is how the situation has repeatedly been presented in various publicity. The applicants have become portrayed as a beleaguered bunch trying to please unreasonable homeowners. The story is that the applicants consulted widely on their plans and made big design changes. There is a belief that this building represents an expansion of Calrec.

I want to set the record straight on these things because they are not true.

The applicants (and the planning authority) know full well that the applicants did not carry out the reported "extensive consultation" with local residents, but informed us of their plans by showing us a finalised option, just 3 weeks (yes – three weeks!) before they submitted the planning application.

The reported "substantial modifications" to the design in response to residents' dismay is not an accurate representation of what occurred. The facts are that the building was merely shifted 1.5m north (simply to fulfil the requirement in our deeds that be able access the rear of our homes for repairs) and the maximum height lowered by 0.9m, to reach from near the top of the mill building to the top of the forth storey. A brief look at the before and after plans on the Calderdale planning portal shows how much change there has been in the design in response to residents' concerns.

The supposed green roof has never been represented to residents as a serious option. The applicants told us from the outset it was not feasible, would cost them extra and that Calrec wouldn't like it because it would look unsightly from the mill and unless there have been recent developments, nothing has changed. Unless a green roof is made a condition of planning (and the Officer has written that this will not be happening), the roof will be as originally planned and still on the planning application, a metal sheet roof.

The building is not "tucked away" behind the mill (yes, that's what I assumed too when I first saw it). It sticks out 12m past the main building and (since being lowered by 0.9m) comes upto the top of the 4th storey of the mill.

From Bob Deacon

Wednesday, 9 January 2013

Those who have said to me over the past weeks that I was on a 'hiding to nothing' in trying to modify the plans to build an extension to Nutclough Mill were, of course proved right last night when by a vote of 3 to 1 the Calderdale Planning Committee approved the existing plan with a few technical minor amendments. The cry of saving and creating jobs meant any consideration of conservation or of the loss of amenity to local residents were simply brushed aside. It may have been a good evening for those who believed (whether true or not) that without the extension Calrec would go elsewhere but it was a bad omen for those who want to preserve the architectural style of the town. I think that when, in some month’s time the huge ‘out-of-town B and Q like warehouse’ begins to appear above Foster Lane many who looked the other way on this one and kept quiet might feel a little sense of shame that they let the iconic view of two listed buildings, the Mill and the terrace of linked cottages be destroyed. What price the Hebden Bridge Conservation Area Policy?

The only positive aspect of the outcome was that Tom Jagger in presenting his case felt obliged, on the spur of the moment, to commit himself to providing a green roof to the main part of the building. This was not formally in the planning application and he has to be kept to that promise. Maybe in a year’s time the Hebden Bridge guerilla gardeners can throw a wooden walkway from Foster Lane to the roof and establish an organic market garden there.

Most disturbing about the meeting was the dismissal out of hand of carefully researched and reasoned criticisms of the planning officer’s report and of a damming Visual Impact Assessment tabled by two professionally qualified objectors. The Chair, in a dereliction of duty did not invite either the Planning Officer or the Members to respond to and consider the points made. A mumbled few words for and against by two members and the deal was sealed.

The lessons of this case are clear. A decision by Hebden Royd Council to oppose a planning application (which it did in this case) followed only by a four minute exposition of its views by the councilors on the night is not the way to ensure that the official Hebden Bridge view prevails. Hebden Bridge needs to develop its own town plan which provides a formal framework within which Calderdale will listen. Perhaps the Hebden Bridge Partnership can contribute to this? Needed, also is a serious pro-active engagement with the few big developers in the town and with the Planning Officer to thrash out compromises in repeat situations like this. Had there been such efforts put in this time we might have had built an extension to the Mill in local stone and imaginatively designed in a way that drew attention to, rather than detracted from the features of these heritage buildings.

From Cllr James Baker

Wednesday, 9 January 2013

I think I was the only Hebden Royd Town Councillor who voted in favour of the extension, and personally I think this will be good for securing local jobs and helping the local economy.

However I agree that we need a neighbourhood plan. This is something I have been very keen to promote as the Liberal Democrat group leader on Hebden Royd town council. Unfortunately the Labour group seem less keen citing the cost and the value of doing such a plan.

There was some funding available from the campaign to protect rural England, but the Council was to slow to apply for that. However there is some new money available from Calderdale Council, so hopefully this will be an incentive to get on with things.

Local people within the parish (which also includes Mytholmroyd & Cragg Vale and Brearley for now), deserve to have a neighbourhood plan that sets out what they would like to see developed (or not) within their community. Controversial planning decisions such as Calrec and Mytholm works just show how important it is the town council gets on with this piece of work.


From Eleanor Land

Thursday, 10 January 2013

I wish I had confidence in Councillor Baker's suggestion that a neighbourhood plan would in any way reflect the views of our local community because politicians rarely listen to the views of their voters once they achieve power. At local or national level they forget what the voters want and do what they like. A quick read of the last Lib Dem manifesto illustrates my point.

See also:

HebWeb News: Plans submitted to develop Nutclough Mill, one of Hebden Bridge's finest old buildings.

HebWeb Planning Watch