Calderdale house bid next to former home once belonging to a 'king' gets the ahead

Plans approved by Calderdale Council
Plans approved by Calderdale Council

Getting a home in Calderdale right next to one that once belonged to a ‘king’ is now a possibility.

Bell House Barn, Cragg Vale, sits within the curtilage of Grade II listed Bell House – once the home of the leader of the Cragg Vale Coiners, “King” David Hartley – and was subject of a new planning application received by Calderdale Council.

The Cragg Vale Coiners – sometimes called the Yorkshire Coiners – were a band of counterfeiters based in the Calder Valley.

They produced fake coins in the late 18th century to supplement their small weaving incomes.

Removing the edges of a gold coin, they melted them down to make counterfeits.

A fictionalised version of David Hartley is now immortalised in Benjamin Myers’ Walter Scott Prizewinning novel The Gallows Pole, while the real man was hanged at York in 1770 for his part in leading the Coiners, though he only faced charges of clipping a guinea with another man, and is buried at Heptonstall.

Since 2010 the barn at Bell Hall has been used for bed and breakfast accommodation, together with a museum dedicated to the history of the Coiners and an ancillary tea room.

But owners Mr and Mrs N. Smith have been given permission to change its use to a home because their family’s circumstances have altered, meaning they can no longer run the business as a commercially viable and sustainable venture, says a supporting statement to the application from chartered town planner Beatrice Haigh of High Planning.

The change will release the applicants from the constraints and daily commitment of the visitors’ facility and B and B duties, allowing both partners to engage in full-time employment and provide a home to add to Calderdale’s housing stock in a desirable albeit remote location, she argues.

Ms Haigh’s statement says both house and barn are for sale, together and individually, currently via agents Charnock Bates at around £825,000 for the whole estate, but there would be more interest in the barn property if it were a separate home due to both the cost of the full estate and the remote location of a separate commercial venture with no living accommodation attached.

Precedent exists for change of use of holiday accommodation in the green belt to private homes in the area, and the setting of the principal listed building Bell House will not be harmed, she says.