A plan to build luxury homes on the site of mothballed council premises in Mirfield has taken a new twist.

Planning permission for 11 homes at the former Westfields Centre, next to Knowl Park, was approved in 2014.

It had been thought a former mill owner’s home on the plot, dating back to 1868, would be retained.

When the homes plan first emerged Kirklees Council successfully applied to convert it into flats.

But Leeds based Riva Homes has now been given the green light to demolish the old house.

Westfields off, Westfields Road, Mirfield.

The 19th century home is not listed by English Heritage and so the council had no objection to demolishing it. The company says it wants to remove it to make space for the modern development and will take it down brick by brick.

It says valuable stone and archictectural features will be salvaged for sale.

Riva Homes has yet to submit an application to build homes but it is expected it may now apply to build more than the initial 11.

Clr Martyn Bolt said Mirfield Town Council had investigated getting the old premises listed but had failed.

“It’s another character building that’s been lost from Mirfield,” he said.“It has some quite stunning architecture.”

Clr Bolt highlighted that the demolition green light had been given before the public consultation had finished.

He added: “The question is why has this been rushed through, I wonder what the haste is.

“Things like this don’t instill confidence in the Kirklees planning system.”

Clr. Martyn Bolt - Kirklees Council Member for Mirfield.

The suburban Westfields site, next to the town’s main public park, was once home to social services, community care services, and a children and family assessment office.

It was developed as a children’s home in the 1970s and became a residential centre for “disturbed children”.

A care home on the site, Orchard View, is thought to be unaffected by the plans although the Examiner understands plans to move its access road are being considered. It was put up for auction with a £1m price tag last year but the council has not yet revealed if it was sold.

A Kirklees Council spokesperson said: “Westfields Assessment Centre was sold to Riva Homes by auction with outline planning permission in place for 11 dwellings. The demolition of the existing buildings does not require planning permission.

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“The developer submitted a prior notification for the demolition to which the council had 28 days to respond.The response has to be made before the due date otherwise the council cannot control how the site is demolished and restored. The contractors are now legally permitted to demolish the building.

“As the building is not listed or under any other protection the council can only consider the method of demolition and the proposed restoration of the site when responding to the prior notification and were satisfied with these proposals.”