Gannex plan receives the thumbs-up

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A ‘brilliant’ scheme to build 65 new homes and workshops on the former Gannex Mill site has been unanimously approved by councillors.

Pennine Housing 2000 and developers John Radcliffe and Sons’ £20m scheme for the Elland site is expected to create up to 200 jobs.

The plans include 65 affordable two, three and four-bedroomed family homes on the Huddersfield Road part of the site, with four commercial units on the former Gannex Mill site.

The finger of land between the two will become a landscaped open space.

Councillors hailed the scheme as the best they had seen for redeveloping the site of the former mill, which was demolished last year.

In 2001, Asda was refused permission to demolish the mill and build a supermarket, a bus station and 42 houses on the site.

David Hardy (Lib Dem, Elland) said: “I think it’s a really good development and the best that could have been planned for this piece of Elland.”

Robert Thornber (Cons, Ryburn) added: “The provision for open space I think is brilliant”.

One objector, Ann Roylance, who lives at nearby estate Caldercroft, spoke at the planning committee meeting.

She said she did not object to the development in general but had concerns about the noise and traffic levels - as the largest industrial unit is ten metres away from their gardens.

The meeting heard that planning approval was subject to conditions which restricted the hours of noise and traffic movement from the development.

A further condition – to improve the existing surface water disposal system from the commercial part of the development – was also added to the approval.

It came after the Environment Agency asked for more evidence to show that watercourses have the capacity to cope with climate change and the new buildings.

The mill – which has been empty for about ten years – was one of Calderdale’s most iconic textile landmarks, founded by tycoon Joseph Kagan.

He produced the famous Gannex raincoats, favoured by former Labour Prime Minister Harold Wilson.

Kagan was made a peer in 1976, but was jailed for tax evasion four years later.

He had a heart attack in 1994 and died the following year. His widow Lady Margaret Kagan died last week aged 86.