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Demolition on Old Gate

From Julie C

Saturday, 6 July 2013

Application 07/02449/FUL

The application to demolish one of the oldest remaining buildings in the Town Centre was granted on 21st February 2008. In the permission it states that the work must be carried out no later than three years from the permission date which was 21st February 2008.

Yes this site is a hazard and a total mess - but I think this decision must now go back to Council and be talked about again. It is over 5 years since the permission was granted and much has changed in our town, not least our awareness of flood risk on Old Gate.

I understand demolition is to begin on 8th July - it doesn't take long to knock something down, but before that happens are we sure we now want shops, cafe and 6 apartments at this location?

From John Dunford

Saturday, 6 July 2013

As the 8th is Monday I think the only way to get this stopped is to ring Calderdale planning and try and get a stop order on the work.

It might be worth trying to contact the ward Councillors over the weekend.

From Tim B

Sunday, 7 July 2013

As the building is in a conservation area it may be worth checking if planning permission is needed for demolition. Was the original planning permission renewed before it expired?

From Juie C

Monday, 8 July 2013

I have contacted Councillors and used Calderdale's online form on Planning Enforcement.

The Conservation Area Consent, and the permission for Demolition and Rebuilding are outside the three year limit given in 07/08, so as far as I can see they shouldn't go ahead without going back to the Council.

From Ron Taylor

Wednesday, 10 July 2013

Bat survey began last night.

Just a thought - Is there a link between the fate of this building and the desire of some to redevelop Buttress Brink (see HB Partnership Draft Action Plan) currently a rather nice treed area that looks perfectly alright as it is?

From Juie C

Saturday, 13 July 2013

There is a mock-up view of the proposed new build shops and apartments on Calderdale's planning site.

I'd say they look a bit like the top end of Valley Road, with a kind of arcade in front of the shops. Can't see how they will deal with parking, deliveries, rubbish etc. also the ok for this development was pre the New Town Hall which has substantially changed the outlook from the Packhorse Bridge already. It will make it surrounded by nearby new-build on both sides, bit overwhelming for a Scheduled Ancient Monument.

Looks like one reason they got permission was that they agreed they would complete quickly and not leave it as a long-term eyesore, a condition they have ignored. I don't think the decision in 2008 was made in terms of an overall plan for the town, and it was made despite initial objections from the Civic Trust.

From Bob Deacon

Tuesday, 16 July 2013

The precise unbelievable story is this.

The planning application for the demolition and rebuild was due to expire on 20 Feb 2011. However on 11 February 2011 work to 'commence the building operation' involving 'the removal of a section of wall, following by excavation of a trench and the laying of concrete in that trench to provide foundations for the new building were undertaken on site on 16 February 2011'!

In other words, they knocked a hole in the wall 4 days before the deadline and left it untouched for over a further two years. The planning officer, Richard Seaman, has said on 8th July 2013 that "we are satisfied that the permission has been lawfully implemented".

So the shops and cafe and apartments will be built. There are several other conditions attached including the nature of the stone and slates which need to match the locality so we need to keep an eye on it when the building stars in September 2013. (Go to Calderdale's Planning website, enter 07/02449/FUL and select documents)

Incidently the idea floated in the Vision 2020 document about rebuilding the Buttress Brinks had nothing to do with this. Indeed if the owners of the building now being demolished had not got round the planning conditions in this sneeky way, there might have been the opportunity to combine the two ideas and build much needed low cost rented housing on both sites.

What is depressing about this story is yet again (remember Calrec extension in inappropriate materials?) there seems to be no organisation within HB that is keeping a watchful eye on upcoming planning issues. The Civic Society seems quite inactive?

A walk around the town centre shows just how many shops and other premises are or have been up for sale: and it seems we are unable to engage with the potential owners: Hole in Wall Pub, Fish and Chip Shop, Children's Toy Shop, Building which includes Greek restuarant and Charity Shops etc etc. What is the next shock?

(Thanks to Julie for providing much of the info on this planning case which she asked me to post).

From Jack Hughes

Wednesday, 17 July 2013

A team of workers appear to be demolishing the building with a rare vigour as I type (2pm). I'd be surprised if anything was left of it by teatime.

From Chris Reason

Wednesday, 17 July 2013

Am I the only person glad to see the back of it? OK it was 'old' but what did it have going for it apart from that? A hideous pebble dashed empty relic. Not all redevelopment is bad.

From Julie C

Friday, 19 July 2013

Beneath the pebbledash were the bones of an old building that could have been restored and rebuilt.

There have always been people who would rather have tidied Hebden up by demolition - that is what happened to Buttress Brink, and the old houses that used to be in the Car Park behind the Council Offices, the streets around the Cuckoo Steps . . . etc. It is what was going to happen to Royd Terrace and Queens Terrace and the Picture House.

There was a time when all the under-dwellings were in the process of being condemned and closed down by the Health Inspector. Hebden is a good example of the sustainability, of re-using old property rather than knocking it down, so we still have an interesting old town, not an entirely neat (boring) modern settlement. Take a look at the Planning site and what is replacing the old building, neat and uninspiring I'd say.

From Graham Barker

Friday, 19 July 2013

Unfortunately it does look as though the building is beyond rescue. The planning application states plausibly that it was much altered from its original design (four cottages) and that the pebble-dashing couldn’t be removed without wrecking the stonework beneath. Pebble-dashing was mostly applied to cover up poor fabric anyway. It’s been a ruin for years and when I walked past the other day there was a prize-winning stench of rotting wood, suggesting a structure very far gone.

So I agree with Chris Reason that what will replace it will probably be better. That said, where are all the people who live and work there going to park? There is no provision for this. On the handwritten Officer Notes from a Planning Committee meeting of February 2008 it’s dismissed in this exchange:

Question from councillor: ‘No parking? It would create a demand.’
Answer from officer: ‘No, town centre, national and local policy.’

Whatever that means, it’s evident that a lack of parking was not seen as a big deal in 2008. It’s an aspect of the application that needs revisiting now, as it will have an impact well beyond Old Gate.

From Julie C

Saturday, 20 July 2013

It is clearly too late to stop the demolition, but not too late to reconsider the replacement. I think all the issues of parking for the new apartments, deliveries to the new shops, and waste storage and collection need to be revisited.

Parking is already difficult in this area with homes on Old Gate, and Royd Terrace, shoppers and visitors all parking here, and it has all become tighter since the building of the New Town Hall. There are often cars parked up the beginning of The Buttress.

The original decisions were made at Planning in February 2008, and there have be lots of changes in town since then.

From Dai Hallgarth

Monday, 22 July 2013

Well said Julie; the site could make a splendid, and allegedly much-needed, car park - or maybe even a picnic area overlooking the river. In the interests of conservation, perhaps we should recreate the medieval swamp which used to exist there. The landowner could make a bob or two out of the Hebden Malaria Experience.

The real issue is that it an absolute disgrace that the Hebden Cord buildings were allowed to rot over such a long period whilst the owners cannily awaited the chance to capitalise.

5 years ago the buildings probably stood a chance of rescue and re-use. We have all walked past them and turned a blind eye as the damp encroached, the vandals invaded and the mutilated fabric of the original cottages began to collapse. It really is too late to bleat about it now the buildings no longer exist.

As Bob Deacon has repeatedly commented, Hebden Bridge seriously lacks an organisation "keeping a watchful eye on upcoming planning issues". If we really care about our local heritage and the sympathetic renovation of our ancient buildings we should work towards developing a Civic Society with real clout.

From Andy M

Tuesday, 23 July 2013

Seeing as it will soon be gone wouldn't it be nice if any replacement was innovative, modern and flood resistant - and not just some faux heritage pastiche affair?

From Trevor Mortlock

Wednesday, 24 July 2013

I have taken a particular interest in this building over the years and have called in to speak to both the Archaeologist and the Ecologist (Bat Surveyor).

The Archaeologist told me that the developers had appointed him in 2008 initially, and that the building had little historical value (apparently it was substantially rebuilt in 1932...!!) which surprised me as I was under the impression that it was the original building I could see in the photos dating from the 19th century.

I have also recorded the demolition in great detail and taken photos every day. It does appear that the upper floor is of more modern construction as I saw the big digger trying to break through the concrete at high level today which must have been installed much later than Victorian times.

I was appalled by the redevelopment of he Town Hall as it took away much needed parking whilst creating accommodation which was not really needed in the town ( do we need any more cafes...??) and give us an eyesore to boot, but I really do not see a problem with the scheme at Old Gate.

To my mind it replaces a building which whilst it may have had some old parts was largely an ugly pebble dashed 1960's mess, with a more modern building which I understand from Calderdales website will provide shops in this area of town which could link up the Square with Market Street.

I understand that people do not like change and I too am very conservative by nature but I can't really see this site providing much parking and I can't really see how the existing building could be brought back to life.

Unfortunately the deal is done on Old Gate and we will be stuck with a fairly uninspiring building for decades to come. I cannot agree with Julie C though, are you saying Julie that you would have been happy to live at Buttress?

Although these buildings were demolished in my youth (together with the buildings on Bridge Lanes) I remember them being rather squalid places, not really suitable for 20th century living never mind 21st century.

Or are you saying you'd be happy to sell you house and move into such properties?

Sometimes evolution has to happen and all you can do is to hope that the authorities can act in our best interests.

From Julie C

Sunday, 28 July 2013

I'm sure if Buttress Brink had made it to the 21st Century, it would now be full of apartments, shops, and cafes, and the Bridge Lanes homes would be populated by families. In the early 70s we, like many others round here, had a shared outside toilet down the street, no indoor bathroom, a single cold tap in a little scullery at the foot of the stairs, a tin bath and a coal fire. The whole place was full of property in poor repair, with few facilities. Local people and in-comers have spent millions refurbishing and restoring the local housing stock. It's somewhere people want to live, I just think now it needs looking after thoughtfully, with care by the present inhabitants. Some of the Council would have happily knocked the whole place down.

From Jenny B

Sunday, 28 July 2013

I agree Julie, to dismiss more demolition in such a blasé manner is indicative of a lack of knowledge of the real history of our town.

Buttress would have made ideal accommodation for first home owners or single people but it was cheaper to destroy it. The mass slum clearance of Bridge Lanes would be frowned upon now. Like the tenements of Scotland & Liverpool, the rows of tiny terraced houses balanced along that single stretch of now grassed area,housed many local families. They weren't that far removed from the up and down streets of Birchcliffe. Investment could have given us more much needed local housing.

Queens Terrace is well documented as being 'saved' by the first influx of Hebden Hippies. Sadly squatting came too late for Bridge Lanes or Buttress. And we all know that the initial influx led to an almost mass migration to our now trendy town, pushing up house prices as they swept in.

The debate of new and old settlers is not really the issue here. But I can't help wondering if our town in being developed and changed,is becoming far removed from the Utopia that these settlers came to find. The Old Gate area is one of our towns most historic: The packhorse bridge, the river and buttress are our jewels in the crown. So planners put an ugly extension on the Town Hall, seek to convert one of the oldest pubs to offices and demolish our industrial buildings because they had been pebble dashed.

It must be curtailed or we will become a clone town. And isn't it our uniqueness that makes us so Hebden Bridge?

From Dave R

Tuesday, 30 July 2013

I was born in the tiny terraced houses of High Street. I can still remember the dreaded journey trying to run quickly along the slippery flagstones to the shared outside lavvy in the dark mornings and evenings.

Despite these houses being part of a slum clearance programme, they were solid little terraced houses with a fantastic sense of neighbourhood, which was lost as tenants were relocated to the tin houses of Dodnaze and the red brick council estate of Eaves.

There was always sense of pride despite living in quite poor conditions. Doorsteps were scrubbed daily; the rota for cleaning the lavvy was strictly adhered to.

Of course we were thrilled to be offered a brand new council house with inside toilets and a garden, but if the the planners had vision, these terraces would be no doubt have made decent little terraced homes. Simply knocking two into one and installing bathrooms would have been enough. Structurally they were sound. Hebden Cord's offices on Old Gate may have been allowed to become nothing more than an eyesore, being left to rot as they were.

I can vaguely recall them as being part of an older building leading onto those next to the Old Gate pub, and being more in keeping with its surroundings of the bridge and buttress than its current pebble dashed state.

We cannot undo the development of the 60s and 70s now, but to continue to allow such inappropriate demolition and conversion of our history is for me verging on sacrilege. And as a returnee to the town I do fear that development; such as that carbuncle of the town hall extension is indeed spoiling our uniqueness.

From Phil M

Wednesday, 31 July 2013

While I agree we should protect our heritage, this building was a rotten and mutilated wreck and seemed to me to be well past saving and was just providing a dead section of an otherwise vibrant town centre.. Lets hope what is built to replace it brings carefully considered value to the town, its residents and the people that come to enjoy the town.

From Bob Deacon

Wednesday, 8 January 2014

Readers might want to note the following communication sent by me to the Calderdale Planning Enforcement Officers today.

The recently demolished Fustian Mill/Shop on Old Gate, Hebden Bridge

When the developers demolished the building in July 2013 they said they were about to proceed with buildings on the site for which they had planning permission. A road closure notice for September 2013 to March 2014 was advertised to permit this. No such development has taken place. the site is now dangerous...the back retaining wall is shedding huge stones onto the site ..and another fall could easily cause an injury. The site fence is falling down and is a disgraceful eyesore.

How the development affecting you or other persons:
Passers by are in danger and the place, right in the town centre is an eyesore. Some temporary work is needed to make the site attractive and safe.

From Stephen Curry

Thursday, 9 January 2014

And they should take notice Bob!

Town and Country Planning Act 1990 s.215 allows a local authority to serve a notice "If it appears to the local planning authority that the amenity of a part of their area, or of an adjoining area, is adversely affected by the condition of land in their area". The notice can require steps to be taken to remedy the condition of the land.

There may be safety issues covered by the Building Act 1984 which also give them emergency powers.

Unfortunately Calderdale do not have a good record of imposing such notices. (See Todmorden Hope St. and Burnley Road Sites.)

From Bob Deacon

Friday, 10 January 2014

A reply from the Building Control Department in Calderdale offers some reassurance about this site. Key points copied below:

"We are aware of the site and only yesterday (9th January) held discussions with the site owners and their representatives to ensure the safety of the public at large. The site remains secure with a stable fence and members of the public are not at risk.

However within the confines of the fence, a recent partial collapse has occurred to a small retaining wall which has been inspected by the owner's Engineer. A further, more comprehensive assessment is to take place next week, when remedial works will be considered. I understand that designs have been firmed up prior to deposit of a Building Regulation application for the proposed development, which is presently out to tender with an indicative commencement on site in February 2014".

"I acknowledge that at present the site has a negative impact upon the visual amenity of the area but understand that our Enforcement Team will investigate your concerns in this area."