Fears for future of Artsmill studios and gallery as developer applies to convert Linden Mill in Hebden Bridge into apartments

Proposals to convert part of a Hebden Bridge mill into 18 apartments will come before planning councillors when they meet on August 17.

Linden Mill, Hebden Bridge

Kirklees Estates has applied to convert part of the stone-built Linden Mill, Linden Road, and Calderdale Council’s Planning Committee members are recommended to be mindful to permit the plans subject to a legal agreement relating to local space and an education contribution.

But Hebden Royd Town Council objects to the plan and 72 letters of objection have been received by the council opposing the proposals - three letters of support have also been received.

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Ward councillor Coun Dave Young (Lab, Calder) is among those opposing the scheme and has asked it be brought before the committee.

Objectors’ concerns include parking and highway safety issues, over-development of the site and loss of privacy, poor access, loss of community space and question marks over the future of Artsmill, which provides studios, a rehearsal area and a gallery at Linden Mill.

Coun Young agrees with many of these objections and says it allowed the development would increase traffic and pollution in an area where many families with young children live.

“This is a highly populated area which is unable to cope with additional heavily occupied building,” he said.

Those supporting the application say is is an opportunity to create much-needed new homes and housing within the town should be maximised to protect green belt land.

Briefing documents point out the former clothing manufacturing mill does have an exisiting permission to convert part of it to form an extension to an existing business-charity including overnight accommodation, a swimming pool and fitness area and an independent home.

The council’s economic development manager says in the report to councillors that the building is no longer suitable for business use with poor access and no parking as well as being surrounded by housing.

Council officers also observe: “It is noted that there has been a lot of objection regarding the loss of the Artsmill and the various art type projects that are undertaken from the premises.

“The choice to change the use of the building is that of the owner, the Local Planning Authority cannot insist that the premises are retained for such use.

“The application will be assessed on its own merits and against the relevant policies.”

Officers conclude the application meets policy requirements, hence their recommendation to councillors that they approve it.