Sunday, 1 April 2012

Examiner Letters regarding Newsome Mills

The arson attack at Newsome Mills on Monday
A couple of letters this week regarding Newsome Mills. One from a Mr John Burt followed by my response


Run-down village

SOMEONE who is concerned for the village of Newsome has written on Newsome Mill ‘The Village Where Time Stood Still’.

This refers to the sad state of the historic Newsome Mill clock.

I have asked our local (Green) councillors many times what is happening to Newsome Mills and the answer seems to be that ‘the owners can’t afford to do anything.’

Scrap metal thieves have broken in and stolen the clock hands.

The mills are an eyesore and as they are a dominant feature of the village they should be of concern to Kirklees Council.

There must be some way of forcing the owners to improve the appearance and to reinstate the clock – it is our landmark!

This week there was a fire at the mill and one wonders if the site is being deliberately neglected so that vandals will get in and render the mills so unsafe that they will be demolished.

The areas around the old mill ponds are also a disgrace but community efforts to take them over for cleaning up and landscaping have been rebuffed.

Newsome really is becoming a ‘Cinderella’ village.

Even the ‘Welcome to Newsome Village’ sign near the top of Lockwood Scar is falling over.

Come on Kirklees Council, give us some answers. You were elected to serve the community.

John C Burt


Neglect at Newsome

MR Burt (Mailbag, March 28) says that Green councillors have said, in relation to the condition of Newsome Mills, that the ‘owners can’t afford to do anything.’

Like many things, there is a bit more to the story than that.

The owners, Royalle Estates, like many developers, are not proceeding with plans they did have because of the collapse of the housing market.

I agree with Mr Burt that the mills are not in a good condition and I’ve turned out on a number of occasions when I’ve been told people have been up to no good round there and informed the police.

I’ve met with Royalle Estates who have told me about the action they have taken to stop anyone getting back into the clock tower to carry out further damage and there is a value in them knowing that councillors and local residents are concerned about the building.

I must say there are local people who have worked very hard to protect the mill and the fact that it is still standing at all is thanks to them.

This will hopefully give us the chance of seeing the mill restored at some point in the future as residential units.
Unfortunately, that isn’t on the horizon at present. The danger of reinstating the clock at present is that if this is done before it is fully occupied then the clock could very well be damaged again.

The finance to repair the clock would probably be linked to the sale of residential units in any case. One thing I have done is to get a condition to restore the clock as part of the planning conditions for when the site is developed.

Mr Burt also refers to the area around the old mill ponds being a disgrace. I agree and contact is made periodically with the owners to tidy the land up.

Very recently a blocked land drain on the site was uncovered and this has helped sort out poor drainage around houses further up towards Castle Hill.

If anything, this highlights the difficulties of using the land as a development site. I have said to the owners on several occasions that the lease should be returned to Kirklees Council at a low cost as the land is not suitable for building and would be better released to the community as a small park or returned to its former use as allotments.

I’ve reported the ‘Welcome to Newsome Village ‘ sign to Kirklees Highways for repair.

I’m happy to speak to Mr Burt or any other residents about local issues directly if they so wish.

Clr Andrew Cooper

Green Party, Newsome Ward

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