Historic mill in Brontë village set to be demolished for homes

A CHANCE is being missed to capitalise on Haworth’s rich industrial past if consent is given to demolish a derelict mill and engine room, council chiefs are being warned.

The former Ivy Bank Mill and engine house, in Haworth, has been empty for a number of years but now developers want conservation area consent to demolish both. They are also seeking outline permission to build new homes on the site.

The site at Ivy Bank Lane, to the west of the Keighley and Worth Valley railway line, is in a state of decay. The mill building, in the Haworth Conservation Area, was badly damaged in a fire and has no roof.

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The engine house, near the main mill, has a collapsed roof and both buildings have been unused for a number of years.

Officers from Bradford Council are recommending both proposals are given the go-ahead. However the Ancient Monuments Society has raised concerns.

In a letter to Bradford Council’s regulatory and appeals committee, which meets tomorrow, the society says it acknowledges that the condition of the building is poor but it believes: “the building plays an important part in defining the character of the Haworth Conservation Area.

“Whilst we do not wish to dispute the structural report submitted with the application an opportunity has been missed to capitalise on the villages’ rich industrial past through the retention and conversion of buildings.”

An earlier appraisal of the conservation area, which provides safeguards against future development, says Bridgehouse Mill and Ivy Bank Mill were established in the late 18th/19th Century “as textile making becomes more mechanised.”

However councillors will be told that such is the state of the buildings that their value has already been diminished.

A report, to be discussed by councillors says: “Demolition would not constitute substantial harm to the conservation area but loss of an asset would occur. The submitted information demonstrates that retention of the asset is not viable and without acceptance of development proposals the site would remain abandoned....

“It is clear that some parts of the local community value the buildings on site for their historical merit and as landscape and wildlife assets. It must however be borne in mind that large parts of the mill complex have already been demolished reducing its value as a heritage asset.

“The remaining buildings are in an advanced state of decay, being dangerous and arguably a visual blight within the conservation area,” the report adds.

West Yorkshire Archaeological Advisory Service want to see full surveys carried out prior to, and during, demolition.

Council officers are recommending that K M Norris Ltd’s applications for conservation consent and outline permission to build 54 homes are backed, subject to conditions being agreed.

The applicant wants to build two and three-storey homes on the site in Ivy Bank Lane.

Objectors raise a number of concerns including fears the development would be out of keeping with its surroundings, will affect the conservation area and affect wildlife.

Worries are also raised that the “progressive degradation of the view by modern housing” could harm tourism in the area.

But, in response, council officers say that the proposed design reflects terraced housing, the traditional housing in the area, but also offers contemporary housing in the form of three-storey town houses.

In addition it is not thought that the proposed development would have an adverse impact on the character or appearance of the Haworth Conservation Area, committee members will be told.

If members back the application, when they meet tomorrow, it will be subject to a number of conditions being agreed by the developers.