THE owner of the historic Newsome Mill has been ordered to make vital improvements to secure the site.
Parts of the listed building have been damaged with roof tiles stolen after a spate of recent break-ins.
Now Kirklees Council has issued an urgent works notice to owners Royalle Estates which legally requires them to make the site and buildings more secure.
If they fail to comply the council may make the necessary improvements and charge the owner.
Clr Andrew Cooper said: “The lack of a security presence on the site, where there have been frequent break-ins and vandalism to the buildings, has been a real cause for concern and brings into question the owner’s commitment to protecting the mills.”
It is hoped the action will prevent further damage being caused to Newsome Mill, which is a Grade II listed building.
In recent months roof tiles have been stolen, while the landmark clock face and the inside floors have been damaged.
Building inspectors have said the old office building is now in a dangerous state.
Earlier this year a bronze war memorial plaque was stolen by thieves, but it has since been recovered.
Newsome Mill dates back to 1827 and was the home to Taylor and Littlewood.
In 2006 it was sold to Manchester-based developer Royalle Estates who intend to turn it into a luxury apartment complex.
But the mill has been left idle and dilapidating since.
Clr Julie Stewart-Turner added: “We have tried hard for the past few months to work positively and constructively with the mill owner, but the responses have been very disappointing and the council has been forced into taking more serious measures.
“I am very pleased that the council is taking this action now to ensure the mill is not allowed to deteriorate any further.”
The news has been welcomed by members of the Newsome Community Forum, who have long campaigned to have the site secured.
They have been reporting incidents of vandalism and antisocial landmarkbehaviour to the police and council.
Diane Sims, a member of the Newsome Community Forum, said: “These are fantastic buildings and Newsome residents are keen to see them brought back into use.
“We hope that the owner will soon put in a new planning application so that work on converting the mill can get under way.
“We particularly want to see and hear our clock back in full working order again.
“While this local landmark stands silent, Newsome residents are its strongest voice.”
Phil Metcalf, from Royalle Estates, said they were handed the notice last Friday and were already acting on it.
Project developer Mr Metcalf said: “I have already spoken to the council about it and we are making steps to ensure that the work is done.
“It is a listed building which we are trying to get planning permission for residential purposes and it takes a lot longer than we originally envisaged.
“We have contractors looking at the site at the moment and we will be on site within the required period that the notice gives us and securing the site.”
He added that a planning application to develop the site will be completed by the end of this year.