A planning application lodged with Ashfield District Council in June 2014 began raising mixed emotions among Huthwaite residents. Reclamation of the large factory site built by the former Cooperative Wholesale Society could see residential developments for a proposed 83 new dwellings. Raising a For Sale sign was captured by one keen eyed neighbour, dating next stage of inviting offers from 25th November 2014.
The original part of this vast hosiery factory almost filling entire length of a descriptively named High Street, dates back from when the CWS announced its December 1907 opening. It was sited on land purchased off a local Unwin Land Society, who afforded the naming of a residential Unwin Street. Their offer of one free acre to entice a new major employer into Huthwaite allowed the option of future expansion across mapped allotment gardens between North Street. From an initial 2¼ acre plot, the CWS claimed to hold 4½ acres by 1913. Adding a new wing in 1937 suggests year when the plot reached present size of nearer 5½ acres.
North Street addressing was adopted by the next major Huthwaite clothing manufacturing company named Meritina. Here they opened The Factory Shop, though barely utilising room for a former 1500 workers even when shared by other company names. The entire layout was claimed through latter years by Quantum Clothing Group Ltd. Their intention to sell this aging complex does not appear dismissing chance of finding a buyer looking for future factory premises. Outlining plans Ref: V/2014/0447 to replace it with upward 83 dwellings does, nevertheless, continue a 21st century trend in finding profitable demand for new housing.
While some will doubtless mourn the loss of this monumental Huthwaite structure, most could likely agree, the time has come to replace the last unsightly link with our past industrial heritage. Perhaps greater cause for concern is deciding if Huthwaite can sustain even more families through its rapid residential expansion.
Written 16 Dec 14 Revised 17 Dec 14 © by Gary Elliott