The History of Morley

Once an agricultural village, Morley is now a 19th century industrial town, originally powered by textile manufacture, coal mining and stone quarrying. The Morley Town Hall is a distinctive landmark and is Grade 1 Listed. Built in 1885, the shovel which acts as a pendulum in the Grandfather clock is said to be that used to lay the foundations of the building.

The World Wars brought large orders to the mills of Morley for uniforms & blanket cloth. The end of the WW2 led to the decline and closure of the town’s mills. Morley has 19th century industrial housing and surviving former mill chimneys, adding to an interesting skyline. Today, the mills have largely been converted into stylish housing & offices. The towering chimneys and gentry homes are a timely reminder of Morley’s industrial past.

Famous people from Morley

  • Helen Fielding- Author of Bridget Jones’s Diary
  • Ernie Wise- One half of Morecambe & Wise

Morley Today

Today, Morley is a market town with a variety of local businesses, and a historic indoor market. Leeds city centre remains a short 5 mile drive away, with the White Rose Shopping Centre on the doorstep. Morley is a great area for those seeking an easy commute to the cities of Yorkshire, with good motorway access and accessible rail and bus links.

For dog-walkers, there are many scenic countryside parks close by; from Middleton Park, Wilton Park, Springfield Mill Park &  Ardsley Reservoir to name but a few.

There are several areas you could consider in Morley, wide ranging to suit every taste and budget. Dartmouth Park offers spacious Victorian properties, whilst Gildersome offers terraced housing built for the mining communities. Morley also offers large modern developments in Churchwell New Village.

The areas surrounding Morley are also sought after; with Tingley, East Ardsley, Churwell, and Beeston all proving to be popular with a variety of buyers.

Things to consider when buying property in Morley:

Whilst not exhaustive, the below information indicates what you should look out for when purchasing property in or around Morley.

Mining Searches

Morley has a rich mining history and due to this, a Mining Search is highly recommended when purchasing in this area.

Mining searches are designed to find out if there has been any past, present or future mining activities planned in the vicinity of your property. The report also details whether a property is in a former coal mining area. A coal mining report provides information on:

  • mine entries within 20 metres of a property’s boundaries
  • gas emissions from coal mines
  • other coal mining hazards reported in the area
  • plans for future coal mining in the area

The importance of mining searches are vital; properties near past mining activates may be at risk of being on unstable ground, also known as subsidence.  We will conduct the mining search on your behalf, the report usually taking a couple of days to process.

Clean Air Zone

Morley is the subject of a smoke control order, making it a clean air zone.

Clean air zones aim to address pollution and reduce public exposure to them, using a range of measures tailored to the location. A clean air zone defines an area that is targeted to improve air quality, improving health benefits. There are two types:

  • Non-charging Clean Air Zones – These are defined geographic areas used as a focus for action to improve air quality.
  • Charging Clean Air Zones –In addition to the above, vehicle owners are required to pay a charge to enter or move within the zone, if they are driving a vehicle that doesn’t meet standard emissions.

Parts of Morley fell within the Charging Clean Air Zone area proposed by Leeds City Council. Currently, Morley is in a Non-Charging zone although you should undertake a Local Authority Search to check this is still the case as Leeds City Council currently has a number of initiatives and proposals in place in order to combat air pollution across the City. The position is due to be reviewed again in 2019.

Brownfield Sites

Brownfield sites are often previously developed land, usually industrial or commercial sites that have gone derelict, but have potential to be redeveloped as housing.

All brownfield sites need to be assessed by an environment consultant before they can be redeveloped, to check for any contamination. Sites are assessed on soil, groundwater and surface water testing for hazardous compounds or pollutants.

Brownfield land registers provide up to date information on sites that local authorities can consider for residential development. All development plans must be compliant with regulations. Special licenses are required to reclaim brownfield sites, due to the strict environmental regulations that may apply.

The registers also aid home builders identify suitable sites quickly, speeding up the construction process of new homes.

Due to its industrial past, we would encourage all potential home buyers in the Morley area to have an environmental search carried out, to check for the risk of contaminated land. Whilst we cannot comment on these, our search partners may be able to offer advice.

Conservation Area

Due to its historical significance, Morley has a large conservation area covering Morley town centre, and Dartmouth Park, covering the park and nearby residential area.

Conservation areas are designed to protect areas of significant historical value, from any harmful change, encouraging good quality design in new developments. Any buildings within conservation areas are protected from unauthorised demolition. New development also has to respond to the historic settings. Trees are also protected in conservation areas.

Planning permission is required for certain external works to a house within a conversation area, which wouldn’t normally need planning permission elsewhere. Conservation areas mean extra care, planning controls and considerations if you wish to extend or change your property or garden. This is in keeping with the original historic architectural settings.

Conservation area restrictions will affect any owners who are seeking to work on the outside of their home or garden. The local planning authority is the organisation to seek if you wish to change or adapt your home in a conservation area.  They will explain what permissions will be needed.

Local Expert, Ashley Mallett, describes what he loves about the area:-

The history, the close knit culture, the quality of the schools in the area, and the transport links are excellent.

Ashley Mallet specialises in residential conveyancing in Morley, and would be delighted to answer any queries you may have. Call Ashley on 0113 284 5153 or alternatively email

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