End of road for Whitcliffe building?

Newspapers: Reporter Series.'Story: Spen Valley Civic Society have slammed the decision by Kirklees planning committee to demolish the historic Whitcliffe Mount School building.'Photo Date: 31/03/15
Newspapers: Reporter Series.'Story: Spen Valley Civic Society have slammed the decision by Kirklees planning committee to demolish the historic Whitcliffe Mount School building.'Photo Date: 31/03/15

A debate has broken out over the future of a historic Cleckheaton building after confirmation it would be demolished.

Kirklees councillors at a planning sub-committee meeting voted unanimously in favour of plans for the rebuilding of Whitcliffe Mount School.

But the plans involve knocking down the school’s old foundation building, which many feel should be protected from development.

Erica Amende from the Spen Valley Civic Society believes the building should have been listed by English Heritage, as it has social importance to the area.

“We want the building to stay up,” she added. “This is a structurally sound building for a start. There was no evidence that it had to be demolished.

“There are people all over the country who are turning old buildings into flats, so I can’t see why we can’t do the same for here.”

Despite having some involvement in the campaign to save the building, Coun Andrew Pinnock (Lib Dem, Cleckheaton), voted through proposals which would include knocking it down.

But Coun Pinnock, a member of the planning sub committee, claimed it was not so clear cut, and he had made a speech calling for it to stay standing.

He said: “This is not a simple, straightforward issue.

“Anyone who was at the meeting will know that I made every effort to exclude the foundation building from the demolition plans, but the other members of the committee did not want to go along with it.”

He said that despite this, he could not have voted against the proposals, because this would have meant he was voting against rebuilding a school in the ward he represents. To view the plans, visit kirklees.gov.uk/planning.