The long-running campaign to save a well-known, historic, landmark – Mount Pleasant clock tower at Lockwood – is hanging by a thread.
The clock tower which dates back to 1875 is under threat because it stands in the grounds of the Victorian Mount Pleasant Primary School which is due to be demolished and replaced with a new-build school.
But Huddersfield Civic Society, (HCS), have done their best to campaign for its retention and a 500-plus signature petition calling for consultation was presented to Kirklees Cabinet last year.
However, a report by Historic England, a government service championing England’s heritage, has dealt the campaign a potentially fatal blow.
In a letter to Chris Marsden, the chairman of HCS, Historic England’s Designation Coordinator, Cara Organ, says: “We recommended that the building should not be added to the List of Buildings of Special Architectural or Historic Interest and that a Certificate of Immunity from Listing (COI) should be issued for the building.”
The report’s author explains the decision saying: “If the school retained its original components and survived in a recognisable form then it would almost certainly be eligible for listing.
“However, as it stands, the annexe is only a tiny surviving fragment of a once large complex.
“Mount Pleasant Primary School annexe is clearly a building of strong local interest as a physical reminder of the school that once stood on the site, (the 1870s and 1880s school was demolished in the 1980s) and its clock tower is a local landmark.
“As such it may be worthy of inclusion on a local list. However, within a national context it is too altered to qualify for listing.
“Consequently it is recommended not to list and to issue a Certificate of Immunity for the building.
A council spokeswoman said: “Following a recommendation from Historic England the Secretary of State for Department for Culture, Media and Sport DCMS has made the decision not to list Mount Pleasant Clock Tower as a Building of Special Architectural or Historic Interest and is considering issuing a Certificate of Immunity from Listing (COI) for the Mount Pleasant Primary School Annexe.
“The council has 28 days (from January 22, 2016) to comment and once any representations have been considered by DCMS, the Secretary of State will reach a decision on the application for a COI.”
Mr Marsden said the report was “disappointing but interesting”.
“It identifies the clock tower as being suitable for local listing but Kirklees is unusual among local authorities in not having a local list.
“Because it is only a fragment of the original school they are not going to list it.
“I accept that and am realistic about the position. As yet there is no planning application for the new school so all is not lost.”