Heritage bid for Cleckheaton school

Erica Amende
Erica Amende

A historic school building in Spen could soon be protected against possible demolition.

Whitcliffe Mount School in Cleckheaton is set to be rebuilt in time for the 2016/17 school year.

Although formal plans for the new build have not yet been finished, it was feared the school would lose its foundation building, which opened in 1910.

But after an application was sent by the Spen Valley Civic Society to English Heritage, the society now hopes the building will be listed – helping to protect it from demolition.

Erica Amende, secretary of Spen Valley Civic Society (inset), believes it is an important part of Spen’s rich educational and architectural heritage.

She added: “The history of Whitcliffe Mount School is unique – it was established by local people.”

“The society has given very careful consideration to this application.

“After taking advice we concluded the foundation building has sufficient architectural merit and an unusual history which warrants listed status.

“Our application has been formally supported by Spen Valley Historical Society. We hope that listing the building may prevent its demolition. It’s a fine building in a pleasant setting overlooking West End Park.

“We accept Kirklees Council doesn’t intend to use it as a school after September 2016, but that doesn’t mean it should be demolished.”

The school secured £13m of government cash last June to remodel the buildings.

It is believed plans for the new builds will involve scrapping the neighbouring Whitcliffe Mount Sports Centre, as it shares a power supply and a boiler with the current school buildings.

Public body English Heritage has accepted the application. It is hoped a decision will be made in the coming months.