Eyesore mill site cleared

'EYESORE': Part of the land at the former Horncastle Mills site could be used for a new care home.
'EYESORE': Part of the land at the former Horncastle Mills site could be used for a new care home.
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AN ‘EYESORE’ in the middle of Cleckheaton town centre is set to undergo a transformation if developers get their way.

The former Horncastle Mills site has been a blight on the town’s landscape for over three years, since several old fire-damaged buildings were demolished to make way for future development. However, plans stalled and the site has laid dormant ever since.

Last week, workmen levelled the site as developers look ahead to bringing the land back into use.

Agent Phil Lingard, of Starkey’s, in Bradford, is working with the site’s two owners to kickstart development.

“It was an eyesore for a longtime but also a gathering point for drug addicts and ne’er do wells,” he said.

“The site is being cleared as a way to make it more attractive to developers and to improve the visual amenity of the area.”

The front of the site was acquired by Ilkley-based businessman Kevin Sloane in February 2008 for £700,000 from Heckmondwike estate firm Solotrim, records show.

The rear of the site, which backs onto Scott Lane, is still owned by Solotrim.

Mr Sloane secured outline planning permission for the land last year, with potential uses including a supermarket and housing.

Mr Lingard said: “The original proposals were for a small supermarket on the font of the site and a care home at the rear.

“We are in discussions with a number of care home operators for the rear section but terms have not been finalised.

“Planning consent was granted for a small supermarket at the front of the site but that is on hold for the time being. We’re looking at alternative uses at the moment.

“I think that Kirklees Council have been very good at encouraging the redevelopment of the land.”

Spenborough Chamber of Trade president Viv Laycock is pleased that work has finally been carried out to improve the site.

She said: “It’s nice to see that the owners of the site have smartened it up and it looks so much better for the town. It’s a lot more positive for Cleckheaton.”