Not all sites can be saved

Once again English Heritage is issuing press releases about buildings at risk.

Unfortunately, there are more industrial buildings than there is interest in them. A particular problem arises with buildings that are outside the World Heritage Site.

The site sucks in the very limited funds available in Derbyshire. It has always been difficult to juggle various grants from different sources to restore old buildings.

A common problem is what I call the ‘Cult of Adaptive Rouse”.

It is argued that buildings have to be used for something. Quite often this will destroy what you are trying to preserve and you would do better just to restore the structure as a landscape object at the public expense.

This probably applies at Haarlem Mill.

I don’t think anyone is interested in Haarlem Mill, despite its prominent main road position. I have forgotten its contribution to the history of mill buildings; good examples remain at North Mill and East Mill in Belper and at Darley Abbey.

Nothing remains of the steam engine but plenty of early steam engines are preserved elsewhere, including the Leawood Pump, and Middleton Top locally.

It is quite possible that the listed building is holding up the re-use of the whole site.

There are industrial units that could be let and a Victorian building that could be converted into flats.

As an alternative, in view of the mania for avoiding concreting over the green belt, the whole site could be demolished and used as housing land. It is a brownfield site. If anyone is interested in campaigning about Haarlem Mill, please write to me at 4, Cressy Road, Alfreton DE55 7BR.

The very limited resources available should be kept for sites where the machinery remains. The textile machinery (tape and narrow fabrics) at Haarlem disappeared years ago. English Heritage have saved some such sites but there are still a few left across England.

Paul Gibbons

Alfreton