Concerns for future of Knowl House

Coun Vivien Lees-Hamilton
Coun Vivien Lees-Hamilton

Mirfield town councillors have vowed to fight what they see as long-term plans from Kirklees Council to sell Knowl House.

They say the historic mansion, in Knowl Road, was left to the people of Mirfield in 1943, and is therefore not Kirklees Council’s to sell.

At a Town Council meeting this week, the mayor of Mirfield told councillors she had a folder full of documentation to prove this.

Coun Vivien Lees-Hamilton (Con) said: “Knowl House was left to the people of Mirfield by the Walker family along with 11 acres of land.”

“It was left for the people of Mirfield for their enjoyment. It was not left for the council to sell off and sink the profits into Hudddersfield.

“In light of the Batley Bacon, which Kirklees are not allowed to sell because it was left to the people of Batley, I would like to take legal advice.”

She said she planned to have a free 30-minute consultation with a solicitor to see what their options might be.

The building was listed in a report put to a Kirklees Council Cabinet meeting last June on surplus buildings and assets owned by the council. The plan involved putting the house to auction by June this year. This was the same list which included the council’s Westfields Road offices, which will be closed this spring.

Coun David Pinder said: “It’s yet another case of Kirklees trying to take money out of towns and villages rather than giving it back.”

Coun Lees-Hamilton said: “I don’t think the Walker family would have envisaged the council selling it.”

Coun Elizabeth Armitage suggested trying to trace some of the Walker family’s direct descendants to get their view on the issue.

Despite town councillors’ concerns, Kirklees Council denied there are any plans to sell the building.

A spokeswoman said: “Knowl House is still an operational building and hasn’t been declared surplus to requirements. It is not listed for auction.”

The house was owned by mill magnates the Walker family until 1943.