The site was included on the council’s local list of heritage assets as the textile industry had made an important contribution to the historic distinctiveness of the district not least by providing employment for women. An inspector found that whilst the L-shaped building and others on the site were of relatively simple design and many windows had been replaced or blocked up, they retained their essential structure and characteristics meaning that they were clearly representative of their industrial past. The appellant’s evidence indicated that the building was of local historic interest due to its associations with a known architect and the Cooperative Wholesale Society, and because it dated back to the start of a symbiotic relationship between the textile and coal mining industries in the town. The inspector concluded that the proposal, by leading to the total loss of a non-designated heritage asset, would cause significant harm to the character and appearance of the area.
The inspector found that it had not been demonstrated that the proposal failed to make appropriate provision for the additional need for public open space and education facilities that would arise from the development. However, it had not been demonstrated that scheme’s benefits could not be achieved in a manner that would involve the retention of at least part of a heritage asset that had considerable local significance.
Inspector: William Fieldhouse; Hearing