Horncastle clean up welcomed

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CLEAN-up work on derelict land in Cleckheaton town centre has been welcomed by Spen Valley Civic Society and local residents.

Workmen levelled the former Horncastle Mills site a few weeks ago to make way for future development, including a care home, as revealed in last week’s Spenborough Guardian.

The Civic Society has thrown its weight behind the clean-up effort at the site, which has been described as being ‘like a bomb site’.

The group discovered that when the buildings were demolished three years ago, Kirklees Council failed to force the contractor to leave the site in a good condition.

Chairman Max Rathmell said: “The Society was and, to some extent, still is concerned that we have a potential Savoy Site mark two here, with demolition and no redevelopment for year upon year, blighting the town.

“We have corresponded with Building Control, reminding them of the powers they have under the Buildings Act and section 215 powers under the Planning Act to force owners of untidy land to tidy it up.

“We do not know if the recent works on site are a consequence of this, but they are very welcome nevertheless.”

The clean-up has coincided with the work of Leeds Metropolitan University masters student Tom Heaton, from Liversedge, who has spent the last four months speaking to local people about the site.

Tom, 24, has already conducted a quality survey and he intends to hold a final public consultation at Cleckheaton town hall in the near future.

The area has been the target for anti-social behaviour in recent years.

Lorna Graham, 29, a supervisor at Wynsors World of Shoes, said: “We mainly have girls working here and before the site was levelled it didn’t feel safe, especially on a dark night.”

Tom believed that local people would be behind his wish to turn his masters degree project into a reality, provided Kirklees Council and the site owners give the go-ahead.

He said: “Something good could come out of the Horncastle site, but a decision needs to be made. I have good ideas, backed by the consensus of local residents, so let’s do something about it.”