A LANDLORD has assured worried villagers that a historic mill chimney is safe – for the moment.

It had been feared that the chimney at Dobroyd Mills, Jackson Bridge, was to be dismantled when demolition contractors began work on the 102ft structure two weeks ago.

By yesterday the height of the chimney had been reduced by approximately 30ft.

By law the structure can be reduced by 50% without planning permission.

If a building is listed or within a conservation area planning regulations are much stricter. But the mill, which was built in 1829, is currently neither.

Neighbours are now considering having the mill listed.

Textile firm Z Hinchliffe, which owns the complex, says it has been repairing the chimney and has currently ‘no intention’ to remove it.

A spokesman for Z Hinchliffe, of Denby Dale, said: “We’re reducing it in height. The top of it had bowed out. It was considered there was an element of danger and the decision was taken to reduce the height of the chimney.

“It will not be removed. At the moment there will be no intention to remove it.

“I understand people are concerned, but we have no plans to do that at the moment. We would rather make it safe than have it fall down.”

A spokeswoman for Kirklees Council said the council conservation team ‘was continuing to monitor the extent’ of work on the chimney.

But Andrew Heath-Beesley, 46, of Jackson Bridge, expressed concern for the structure’s future.

Mr Heath-Beesley said: “It’s a beautiful historic chimney. It’s a landmark.

“The mill as a whole, I feel, is part of our community heritage and our culture not forgetting it has become part of our historical landscape.

“Though these types of building are widely spread throughout the area, they are being developed and demolished at alarming rates without consideration to the historical and cultural value to the community.”

He added: “We’re concerned. It’s the last chimney here.”

Holme Valley South Councillor Ken Sims added: “It would be a loss if the chimney is lost. It would detract from the character. I think the chimney should remain.”

Dobroyd Mill was built in 1829.

Fine cloth manufacturer Dobroyd Ltd was founded at the mill in 1919.

The company supplied fabrics to some of the world’s leading fashion companies.

The mill closed in 1974 but was reopened in 1976 under John Woodhead Ltd spinners.

The complex was bought again in 1983 by OMC, Lindley.

The mills currently house several businesses including a classic car restoration firm.

The chimney was earmarked for demolition in 1960.