Political parties should join together in a bid to bring disused textile mills back to life in Colne Valley
This is the view of Labour’s leaders in the Valley, who say a united front would carry more weight in efforts to achieve restoration.
Linda McAvan, MEP for Yorkshire and the Humber, Jane East, Labour Parliamentary Candidate for Colne Valley Constituency, and Rob Walker, Council Candidate for Colne Valley Ward, visited one of the valley’s oldest mills, Westwood Mill, alongside the canal in Linthwaite.
The mill dates back to the 18th century but has been empty since 1991. Rob was a member of the former Westwood Mill Trust, which tried in vain to obtain Kirklees funding for a restoration scheme. It would have seen the building transformed into a hotel and restaurant. It is grade two listed and is on Kirklees’ buildings at risk register.
Rob said, “It was a great pity that we were unable to get financial backing apart from lottery funding. The mill is in a beautiful location and would be quite suitable for restoration.”
The Labour Party is committed to tackling land banking by giving local authorities powers to charge developers who refuse to build, despite planning permission. As a last resort, the Party would grant ‘use it or lose it’ powers so that councils could buy, assemble and grant planning permission on land that is being hoarded by developers.
Jane East added, “I want to see disused mills being brought back into use. There are a number of former textile factories in the Colne Valley whose transformation would help our local economy and boost community life. Rob and I are committed to collaborating with community groups and representatives of all political persuasions to help make this happen in the interests of local people.”