The crumbling former Copley’s Lea Side Bakery, on Lane Head Road – the main road through the village – has been abandoned for five years since the former baker’s wife Muriel Copley died in 2005.
But plans to regenerate the bakery, which first opened its doors in the 1930s, have proved unpopular with local residents.
Last month, an application to turn the premises into two dwellings and build a terrace of three three-bedroom houses on land behind the site were given the thumbs down by Kirklees Council’s Heavy Woollen Planning Sub-committee.
The business was founded by the Copley’s, a young married couple. After the death of Mr Copley, the business continued – run by his wife and her two daughters.
The bakery was acclaimed in the post Second World War years of food rationing for its ‘best white’ and ‘national’ bread loaves and later for its fine cakes and pastries.
Councillors on the planning sub-committee went against the advice of planning officers who said they should approve the building application.
It is the second time the committee has turned down a plan for the dilapidated site and the fourth failed application since 2004.
The latest application was similar to a failed bid in 2008 and Clr Adrian Murphy, a member of the committee and a local parish councillor, said the applicants had not reduced the scale of the development enough for their liking.
Clr Murphy said existing parking problems and the narrowness of the adjacent Firth Street meant that vehicles might be left blocking the main A629 road.
He said: “There’s a bit of a blind corner on the main road there and if anybody shoots round, extra vehicles coming out mean there’s more chance of an accident.”
The street serves as access for both Shepley Junior and Infants School and the village recreation ground and tennis club and local residents have already complained about parked cars blocking access to their homes.
Firth Street resident Eddie Parkyn said he was pleased the application had failed because it would have made the traffic problems worse.
But he said he still wanted something positive to happen to the decaying buildings.
“It’s a bit of an eyesore,” he said, “because it comes right up to our garden.
“I don’t know what they can do but they have to do something – it’s very rough, it does need clearing out.”
As reported in 2008, one nearby resident, Ken George, said he was concerned the delay in selling the site was holding up the execution of Mrs Copley’s will, which allegedly donates the proceeds to three charities.
Speaking at the time, Mr George, a documentary film-maker, revealed he had a copy of Mrs Copley’s will which showed proceeds from the sale of the site were supposed to be split between The Yorkshire Air Ambulance, the Holme Valley Mountain Rescue and a donkey sanctuary.
He said: “There’s something amiss here. Why has it taken so long? In effect they have cost these charities a lot of money because of the current credit crunch (which has devalued the premises).
“The house has been robbed, stone has been taken and one of my neighbours found a (hypodermic) needle there.”