‘Eyesores’ need makeover

EYESORE: The old factory buildings in Serpentine Road.
EYESORE: The old factory buildings in Serpentine Road.

DERELICT and fire-damaged buildings in Cleckheaton town centre are becoming a blot on the landscape, according to Spen Valley Civic Society.

Many of the buildings to the right of Serpentine Road – earmarked for the new Tesco superstore – have been empty since 2008 and have been a constant target for vandals and arsonists.

And on the opposite side of Northgate, the old Horncastle Mills site is still awaiting development, three years after the old works was demolished.

At their meeting last Thursday, Civic Society members said they would urge Kirklees Chief Executive Adrian Lythgo to use the council’s powers to issue a section 215 notice ordering the demolition of the Serpentine Road buildings.

Chairman Max Rathmell said: “It is a huge eyesore in the middle of the town centre.”

Secretary Erica Amende added: “This has gone on for so long I can hardly remember a time when it wasn’t derelict.”

Member David Durrans said: “How many years do we have to wait to get this sorted? The Savoy site was derelict for 15 years, until the Civic Society took it into its own hands to sort it out.”

Treasurer Colin Berry suggested some of the land would be suitable for a mix of housing, retirement flats and shops.

“It would help the vibrancy of the town, and the area we are talking about is probably as big an area as the rest of Cleckheaton town centre,” he said.

However Kirklees Council says there is only so much it can do to help. During his visit to Cleckheaton on Friday Chief Executive Adrian Lythgo said: “There is an issue with derelict buildings in Cleckheaton, and we are trying to encourage developers as much as possible to bring derelict sites back into use. Due to cuts in government money, however, we no longer have the money to throw into deals to make it happen.”