Controversial mill demolition and homes build plan moves forward

Planning applications in Calderdae
Planning applications in Calderdae

A controversial mill demolition and site conversion to new homes can move forward to the next stage despite concerns from residents and some councillors.

Bradmill Joinery’s application for outline permission to demolish Stansfield Mill, Stansfield Mill Lane, Triangle, was approved by a majority, but councillors were split on the issue after hearing from objectors and the applicant’s agent.

The joinery company wants to build 20 apartments in a single block on the site and provide a parking area.

Councillors were told that at this stage highways and green belt issues could be considered with the applicant having to come back to council for approval of the detailed plans.

A spokesman for residents said villagers were not opposed to the site being developed per se but were worried about its scale.

It would dominate the skyline in the green belt, overlooking homes and they believed it would be out of character for the area, he said.

They were especially concerned about highway safety and found it “unfathomable” that highways officers believed some white lining and the word “slow” would make the junctiion with the busy A58 Rochdale Road safe, he said.

Highways officers had told councillors they had studied the accident record there and in their opinion the measures which would be put in place would work.

The objector said around 30 objections had grown to 300 in recent days, although this was challenged by the applicant’s agent when he spoke.

Ward Councillor Geraldine Carter (Con, Ryburn) was invited to speak and said she knew the site well having worked at the mill for ten years in the past. She had used the access road daily and it had not changed, she said.

Coun Carter had particular concerns about the height of the proposed new development which she said would put it above the treeline and as such would have a “mega” impact on the green belt, significantly affecting the properties below. She was sceptical allowance for 34 vehicles would be enough and that would place the biggest impact on Traingle as a whole because there was nowhere to park.

The access was difficult and possibly dangerous, she told councillors. “The A58 is a very busy road and when the M62 closes bringing lorries on it you’d never get out,” she said.

The agent told the committee the new building’s footprint would be smaller than the mill occupied. The height would have a negligible affect on the green belt and the junction with Rochdale Road while not perfect would have improvements highways officers thought should be made, and paid for by any future developer. A footpath was also included.

“It will rejuvenate the area, improve the environment and improve the highway,” he said.

Some use had to be found for the building by the company owner who was retiring and had tried to rent it out. If this application was refused his only other alternative would be to convert it into more smaller units which would produce traffic issues of their own.

Coun Mohammed Naeem (Lab, Park) said he sympathised with the objectors but believed the development would improve the area considerably.

But Coun Carol Machell (Lab, Todmorden) said the site visit made earlier in the day had left an impression. “Vehicles thundering on the road is immense. I’m not convinced simple markings on the road would make a difference and it is likely 30 plus cars going back and forth will add to danger,” she said.

Coun Machell said she also believed there was an overlooking issue with the proposed build.

She proposed an amendment to refuse the application, seconded by Coun Colin Peel (Con, Brighouse) but it was not successful and Coun Naeem’s proposal that the plans be approved with conditions as per the officers’ report, seconded by Coun David Kirton (Con, Hipperholme and Lightcliffe), was approved by a majority.