Village's reaction to demolition of Pannal 'eyesore'

Planning permissions has been granted for homes and commercial units to be build on site
Planning permissions has been granted for homes and commercial units to be build on site

The demolition of an industrial landmark at the centre of Pannal has been welcomed by residents and councillors of the village, who say 'it was time for it go'.

Bolts were cut at the base of the metal chimney at the centre of the former Dunlopilo site off Station Road, and it was pushed to the ground by a raised crane - the resulting bang ringing out across the surrounding area last Friday (June 1).

A takeover in 1949 by Dunlop saw the company change the name to Dunlopillo

A takeover in 1949 by Dunlop saw the company change the name to Dunlopillo

Planning permissions has been granted for homes and commercial units to be built on the site, with developer Bellway Homes Limited aiming to build around 120 homes on part of the site.

Speaking minutes after the demolition resident, Anne Smith said: "It has been an eyesore in the village, Dunlopillo were made to put it up (in 2005) and we thought it would cure everything. It did a bit but it didn't really do a good job, the smell was horrendous.

"When Dunlopillo started in 1962 they had galas and most of the village was employed by them.

"The buildings were horrible and they said that it fitted in well with the countryside, including the chimney. It however seemed to go downhill, they were so many takeovers before the buyout."

Sbee added: "I think people were glad to see the back of it, a lot of people said why can't we go on with housing up there?

"It was great when it first came, many people who lived here were employed by them and there is a Facebook site for people to meet up and share they worked there. But I think it is fair to say that it was time to go."

Originally the home of the Bintex factory, which operated between 1938 and 1949, the site saw the production of goods including latex foam. During World War II supplies of rubber were cut, due in part to the invasion of Malaysia by the Empire of Japan. Instead the factory manufactured and assembled parts for radar equipment during the war.

A takeover in 1949 by Dunlop saw the company change the name to Dunlopillo, the company would move to establish the Pannal site as its headquarters, and a new office block built.

Residents estimate that by the mid-eighties around 440 people worked on the site, producing goods including pillows, beds, cinema seating and latex cushioning for cars.

While an important employer in the area residents often raised concerns over the knock-on effect of production at the site, including an 'ammonia-like' smell and the visual impact on the surrounding landscape.

North Yorkshire County Coun, Cliff Trotter (Con, Pannal and Lower Wharfedale) said: “I have been a councillor for twenty five years representing the Pannal area, and for much of that time I have been representing residents’ concerns about the manufacturing on the Dunlopillo site and the chimney in particular. It is great to see it come down after all these years. The Crimple Valley will look much the better without it.”

Harrogate Borough Coun, John Mann (Con, Pannal) added: “This former Dunlopillo site used to provide many hundreds of jobs but the downside from the manufacturing process was the smell that emanated from the factory and which affected the amenities of local residents. The chimney was an attempt to mitigate that situation, but it was not altogether successful.

"When the site was closed and turned into a business park, the chimney remained as a reminder of those days and an eyesore in the Crimple Valley. It is a great day for Pannal, Burn Bridge and the surrounding area that it has finally come down. I congratulate Bellway in doing a good job in felling it.”

The majority of the old factory has now been demolished, with large piles of building material stacked across the site. These are to broken up in construction of the new roads that will be built through the site.