TAUNTON Deane planners are set to have a 'confidential' discussion relating to unauthorised works that have taken place at a historic site in Wellington

The council's planning committee will meet on Wednesday, May 23, and will discuss the matter after the exclusion of the public and the press. 

The agenda item states: "Unauthorised works to listed building to front of Tonedale House, Wellington through the demolition of a significant amount of the internal building fabric"

When asked why the item was going to be discussed in private, a spokesman said it was due to 'legal reason'. 

A TDBC spokesperson  said: “This item relates to unauthorised works which have undermined the structural integrity of the historic mill owner’s house - Tonedale House.

"The building is part of the nationally important Tonedale Mill complex which the council, with the support of Historic England, is keen to protect and preserve for the future.  

"It is exempt under Schedule 12A of the Local Government Act 1972.”

It was reported by the County Gazette in July last year that the council was threatening legal action against developers who had started illegal work. 

The council, which is working with Historic England, says the interior of Tonedale House has been stripped out.

The authority believes the former boiler room at the mill could be torn down and the hugely important historic machinery ripped out and sold.

The complex, which has planning consent for conversion into flats, forms part of the historic Fox Bros woollen mills.

The Fox family own nearby 18-bedroom Tone Dale house, which was restored more than 22 years ago and is rented out for events by the Big House Co. The family does not own the factory-facing, derelict section. 

The buildings are historically and architecturally important and listing helps to protect them for present and future generations.

Listed Building Consent must be applied for if changes are to be made to a listed building.

In November 2017, the council announced Historic England would be funding a new Wellington heritage at-risk manager with the appointment of Dr Joanne O'Hara. 

Her work was set to revolve around the historic former mill buildings - Tonedale and Toneworks, as well as Cornhill and Wellington Monument.