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Firm Pledges New Life for Mill

September 24, 2008

By Andrew Robinson

The 19th Newsome Mills in Newsome, Huddersfield, was recently granted Grade II listed status but in recent months has been badly damaged by thieves and vandals.Thieves tunnelled into the building through a culvert and carried away tonnes of roof slates by breaking through floors. They also caused more damage by setting fires and stealing copper cabling.Developer Manchester-based Royalle Estates said last night that a revised planning application would be submitted by the end of the year to turn the mill into 51 flats.This week workmen are due to go into the mill to clear up the mess left by thieves and vandals and next week the slate-less roof will be weather-proofed using marine plywood.Last night Phil Metcalf, project developer with Royalle Estates, said the recent listing of the entire building meant that a fresh planning application would need to be submitted.The firm had been planning to demolish the building, leaving only the clocktower, but the new listed protection prevents this.Mr Metcalf said the new plans would involved one-bed and two-bed apartments in the mill and 20 three-bed houses nearby.The new plans will be drawn up after surveyors have been able to examine in detail the historic features inside the mill.Architect Phillip Allsop, of Britch & Associates, said the survey would be carried out once the inside of the mill was made safe and cleared of debris.”At the moment it’s dangerous and needs clearing of debris to make it safe for surveyors.”They (surveyors) should be in there tomorrow and that will take two weeks.”The aim was to submit new plans in December once the experts agreed on the internal features worth preserving.The developer recently spent around 10,000 securing the site.Mr Allsop said the police and public were playing their part in keeping the mill intact as the planning process continued.”Thieves took real risks to get onto the roof and remove the slates. The local community have alerted police to what has been happening.”We would like local people to be the eyes and ears of the police and to alert them if they see anything.”Both the developer and the architect spoke following news that the mill, in Ruth Street, had been included in a list of endangered buildings put together by the Victorian Society.The list was drawn up using nominations from the public following a nationwide appeal to uncover the best and most threatened Victorian and Edwardian buildings.Newsome Mill was included because of the ongoing uncertainty about its future.”Newsome Mill is a significant landmark in West Yorkshire,” said Alex Baldwin, conservation adviser to the Victorian Society.”As a symbol of Huddersfield’s historic importance, it has huge potential to contribute to the future of the region and be a source of local and national pride.”We hope this further recognition of its significance will help manufacture a better future for this sleeping giant of Yorkshire’s industrial past.”

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