Traditional Saddleworth architecture has a definite character which typifies the area. Earlier buildings used gritstone for the walls and flagstones for the roof. With the building of the Huddersfield narrow Canal in the mid-19th century, large amounts of slate became available and building styles changed to incorporate this much cheaper material.
Saddleworth homes often doubled up as textile workplaces and the area contains many examples of weavers’ cottages. Workrooms were generally on the top floor, skylighted by long mullioned windows to let in as much light as possible.
The mid to late 20th century saw some construction which was not in keeping with the character of the area. Nowadays, new developments are usually completed in stone, some drawing on the vernacular architecture in their details.
Saddleworth Listed Buildings, Barns, Monuments, Canal Locks, Milestones, Telephone boxes, bridges, walls and other structures of importance to the history of the area.
Saddleworth can trace its history back to the Roman fort at Castleshaw which is believed to date from the first century AD. Although the buildings themselves have long since disappeared, archaeological excavations have revealed the outlines of several buildings which together with other evidence, adds to our knowledge of Roman fort building. If the Castleshaw Roman Fort was still in existence, it is likely that it would have been treated as an ancient monument and given protection under the Ancient Monuments Protection Act of 1882.
It was the damage to buildings, caused during WWII, that prompted the first listing of buildings that were deemed to be of particular architectural merit.
The basis of the current more comprehensive listing process was developed from the wartime system and was enacted by a provision in the Town and Country Planning Act 1947, covering England and Wales, and the Town and Country Planning (Scotland) Act 1947, covering Scotland.
A listed building may not be demolished, extended, or altered without special permission from the local planning authority, which typically consults the relevant central government agency particularly, for significant alterations to the more notable listed buildings. Exemption from secular listed building control is provided for some buildings in current use for worship, but only in cases where the relevant religious organisation operates its own equivalent permissions procedure. Owners of listed buildings are, in some circumstances, compelled to repair and maintain them and can face criminal prosecution if they fail to do so or if they perform unauthorised alterations.
The listing procedure allows for buildings to be removed from the list, if the listing is shown to be in error.
In England and Wales the authority for listing is granted to the Secretary of State by the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990.
Almost anything can be listed – it does not have to be a building. Buildings and structures of special historic interest come in a wide variety of forms and types, ranging from telephone boxes and road signs, to castles.
There are three types of listed status for buildings in England and Wales.
1. Grade I: buildings of exceptional interest
2. Grade II*: particularly important buildings of more than special interest
3. Grade II: buildings that are of special interest, warranting every effort to preserve them.
The criteria for listing include architectural interest, historic interest and close historical associations with significant people or events. Buildings not individually noteworthy may still be listed if they form part of a group that is – for example, all the buildings in a square. This is called group value, (G.V.). Listing applies not just to the exterior fabric of the building itself, but also to the interior, fixtures, fittings, and objects within the curtilage, (an area attached to the property), of the building even if they are not fixed. However, there is a general principle that listed buildings are put to ‘appropriate and viable use’ and recognition that this may involve the re-use and modification of the building. Sometimes large areas comprising many buildings may not justify listing but receive the looser protection of designation as a conservation area.
The specific criteria include:
Age and rarity: The older a building is, the more likely it is to be listed. All buildings erected before 1700 that “contain a significant proportion of their original fabric” will be listed. Most buildings built between 1700 and 1840 are listed. After 1840 more selection is exercised and particularly careful selection is applied after 1945. Buildings less than 30 years old are rarely listed unless they are of outstanding quality and under threat.
Aesthetic merits: i.e., the appearance of a building. However, buildings that have little visual appeal may be listed on grounds of representing particular aspects of social or economic history.
Selectivity: where a large number of buildings of a similar type survive, the policy is only to list the most representative or significant examples.
National interest: significant or distinctive regional buildings; e.g. those that represent a nationally important but localised industry.
The state of repair of a building is not deemed to be a relevant consideration for listing.
Additionally, any buildings or structures constructed before 1 July 1948 that fall within the curtilage of a listed building are treated as part of the listed building.
The effect of a proposed development on the setting of a listed building is a material consideration in determining a planning application. Setting is defined as “the surroundings in which a heritage is experienced”
De-listing is possible but rare in practice, although there are examples within the Saddleworth Area.
Within the Saddleworth area there are currently 4 Grade II* buildings, 584 Grade II buildings and other structures, and a further 8 Grade II buildings which have been de-listed. In addition to these listings, there are also 21 conservation areas, concentrated within the villages of Saddleworth.