A one-day conference on waste and resources in Kirklees, will start the debate on how we manage waste in the next few years and the implications for our local economy.
The issue of waste, litter and fly-tipping was addressed at a recent Civic Society Environment Workshop.
The low recycling rate in Kirklees, currently around 30%, was highlighted in the declaration of a climate emergency adopted by Kirklees Council in January 2019.
A waste neutral economy has potential to contribute to future employment opportunities and reduce the financial and environmental burdens of waste on the community and for corporate waste generators.
One session will focus on how community and voluntary sector initiatives that promote new approaches to waste and to recycling activities.
'These projects can be increasingly important as contributors to waste minimisation and re-use', said Kim Warren, waste projects co-ordinator for Environment Kirklees. 'We hope to see more support for the third sector in the future waste strategy in Kirklees.'
Our Waste – the Future? is being held on Wednesday, December 4, 2019, at Heritage Quay, University of Huddersfield. The full programme can be downloaded at www.kwrnet.org.uk
The conference is organised by Environment Kirklees Ltd, a not for profit company, with the support of the SURGE, a research group at the University of Huddersfield Business School.
HCS Chairman, David Wyles recently provided support for children’s play facilities in the town centre, as part of a consultation carried out by Playful Anywhere on behalf of Kirklees Council’s Blueprint proposals.
The following is an extract of comments made on behalf of the Civic Society during a telephone interview:
Q. What is your understanding of play and playfulness?
DW: From a children’s point of view – under 10 / 12s – something that is safe, enjoyable and can be enjoyed by families coming to town. Our workshops have indicated that sometimes the facilities need to catch people’s attention. Something that makes them think ‘wow that was good! We came into town and discovered this was going on!’.
Q: What are the big issues around play in Huddersfield?
DW: The big issue is a lack of facilities in the town centre. People who have children or grandchildren are often persuaded to go to play centres, indoor or outdoor. They are safe, clean and well managed. These are the places that children say that they want to go, and that’s the critical thing about getting people into the town centre. It’s hard to drag children around somewhere they don’t want to be. So, if you create such a facility, children will say 'can you take us to …’.
Q: What are the barriers to providing a more playful town centre for everyone?
DW: ‘Playfulness’ for older people is more about experiences that they can be involved in like dance, games, art or music. There are thousands of themes, they don’t have to be big themed events or expensive, it just needs imagination and the chance to join in. It’s getting people actively involved in something.
Q: Are there any specific play sites that you feel are particularly in need of investment?
DW: One proposal in the Blueprint is about Queensgate Market becoming a centre for music and performance. Given the limitations of Council budgets for maintaining something like that, the Civic Society doubt that it’s viable but think that the market is potentially a fantastic space with potential to integrate indoor play and to extend into the piazza. It could be an indoor/ outdoor play facility run by a public private partnership space or by Kirklees Active Leisure. New Street, Macauley Street, St Peter’s Garden may all be possibilities, but given that Queensgate needs to be looked at – and current Blueprint proposals do not appear sustainable - with a revenue income, good food, a variety of stalls, a performance area and children’s play, it could be fantastic. Queensgate is an ideal place to integrate facilities and to link to the area around the library /art gallery. There could be semi-outdoor experiences to bring joy to young and old.
Q: Any other issues about playfulness in Huddersfield Town Centre that you think are important?
DW: HCS want to preserve the heritage of the town but we know we can only do that if its vibrancy is improved. We want to see things being done, they won’t always need to cost the Council a lot of money and we are keen to help attract private investment. It’s important to find ways to get things moving to give a visual signal that it’s worth coming to town and having a good time.
Picture by messy-monkeys.com
A proposal by Network Rail to upgrade a section of railway between Huddersfield and Westtown – about half a mile south-west of Dewsbury station – has won the support of Huddersfield Civic Society.
Network Rail says: 'The current layout of railway in this area means we can’t run more trains or faster trains than we currently do, and this section of the track can be a cause of delays.'
Its proposals include:
This is the response from HCS:
OVERALL VIEW: The Society is fully supportive of the overall scheme and sees it as a positive means of improving the reliability and time-keeping of long-distance and local train services through Huddersfield.
HUDDERSFIELD STATION: The Civic Society welcomes the points raised regarding preserving the heritage aspects of Grade 1 listed Huddersfield station and the need to use an additional access route to platforms to cope safely with increasing numbers of passengers.
However, we also note that the current severe constraints regarding vehicle access to Huddersfield station and, particularly, the extremely limited station car parking are not addressed in this exercise.
We note the contrast with, say, Leeds and Wakefield Westgate stations where modern multi-storey car parks and vastly improved road access have been built alongside new station entrances and facilities.
The Society supports Kirklees Council’s 2019 blueprint for 'An Enhanced Train Station'. This proposes a new station entrance on the far side of the tracks, ie adjacent to the new platform proposed in the Network Rail consultation.
The Council blueprint proposal gives easy vehicle access and provides adjacent large scale car parking without the need for vehicles to access the station, as currently, via the town centre and the only partially pedestrianised area in front of the current sole station entrance.
We would like this new station gateway to be part of the Network Rail scheme or, failing this, that the changes planned under the Network Rail scheme are made to be 100% compatible with the likely requirements of the Kirklees Council station gateway proposals.
OTHER MATTERS: The Civic Society asks that the various works proposed along the line east of Huddersfield station, such as 'the reconstruction of the Huddersfield Broad Canal structure' are carried out sympathetically so as to augment the current structures.
By David Wyles
Karl Battersby presented an update on the Huddersfield Blueprint document to 40 HCS members and guests. The talk coincided with the end of a three month public consultation period which has included detailed comments made by HCS.
Karl, Kirklees Council's Strategic Director, Economy and Infrastructure, outlined complementary work already initiated or imminent, including:
Following a summary of the Blueprint's key proposals, a range of pertinent issues and questions were raised.
These focused primarily on transport issues, the station and connections to the warehouse and adjacent land and aspirations relating to the Council's purchase of the Piazza and viability of some of the proposals.
Some felt that the Blueprint proposals were being taken too literally by the public,
Accepting the fine balance between keeping traffic flowing around the ring road whilst improving pedestrian movements across Queensgate, there was concern about weaknesses in the cycle network although support for Cloth Hall Street proposals.
Equal emphasis was placed on the need to retain multi-storey parking at Alfred Street while recognising structural issues with the existing car park.
Questions relating to the future of the servicing area beneath the Piazza clearly have to be resolved, while some felt that while the need to demolish the 'Berlin Wall' and connect the Cultural Quarter through landscaping, the use of the service area and its potential for parking should be considered.
The viability and ongoing costs relating to the Music Venue were questioned although integration of commercial food outlets and children's play facilities in a more informal re-purposing of Queensgate Market were suggested.
Karl again emphasised the critical inks between St. George's Square and railway warehouse and adjacent land and liaison with Network Rail regarding upgrading of the line.
The council had considered purchase of the George Hotel given its iconic status (the HCS committee has fully supported recent proposals but is wary of council purchasing, and managing such a building when the key to its viability is the link under the railway).
Images were also displayed of possible redevelopment of the Post Office Sorting Office site.
Finally, a question about town centre yards reflected concerns/ opportunities raised by HCS committee and raised with Karl and his team, particularly in relation to Imperial Arcade and surrounding buildings and land much of which is vacant or derelict.
Action needs to be taken to bring owners together to seek the regeneration of this area for mixed use, including residential accommodation.
HCS President, Bernard Ainsworth, thanked Karl for his update and willingness to work closely with the society.
A guided trail around Birkby, outlining a rich and varied history dating from medieval times to the present day, has been produced by the Discover Huddersfield partnership.
It features a range of important buildings from the 16th century Bay Hall to St John’s Church, designed by one of England’s most celebrated architects, William Butterfield.
The trail, which also takes in sites associated with some of Huddersfield’s most celebrated industries including Hopkinsons and Ben Shaws, explores how Birkby grew from a small hamlet to a thriving suburb with all the amenities of a small town.
Written by Kirklees library staff and local residents, Lorna Brooks and Frank Grombir, the trail is one of 16 available free of charge from local information points and libraries, produced by the partnership.
A guided walk, based on the trail and lasting 1.5 – 2 hours, is scheduled to start from St John’s Church at 2.30pm on Sunday, October 27 with a charge of £3 per person. No booking is required.
Details of other trails and the 2019 programme of Discover Huddersfield walks can be obtained here. Please click below to see the Birkby trail.
Playful Anywhere, a Leeds-based social enterprise, has been commissioned by Kirklees Council to carry out a community engagement programme called Playful Huddersfield.
Kirklees would like to find out your views on what would make Huddersfield Town Centre a more playful place for young and old alike.
This information will help shape regeneration and will support Kirklees Council’s £250million Huddersfield Blueprint regeneration vision.
The Playful Anywhere Playbox will be in the town centre in New Street from 11am - 4pm on September 21 - 24 and 28.
Huddersfield Civic Society has been keen to promote better facilities for children within the town centre as a means of extending dwell time, increase spending and improve vitality.
You can share your views with Kirklees/Playful Anywhere by completing this short online survey.
Greg Marsden, Professor of Transport Governance at Leeds University, drew a large audience for his address on the future of travel in Kirklees at our September meeting.
Rather than focussing on autonomous vehicles or flying cars, he drew attention to the important changes in society which have reduced the amount that people are travelling.
A full report may be found here.
By David Wyles
The news of the sudden death of former HCS President Richard Ward, was a shock to his many friends and colleagues in the society.
Richard passed away in the early hours of Tuesday, September 3, having collapsed at home the day before from a brain haemorrhage.
The previous day, he had celebrated his daughter's birthday with his wife Pam and members of his family.
He made a huge contribution to the work of the society. I had known him for almost 25 years and shared many of his aspirations, efforts and frustrations in promoting and improving the heritage of the town and its related health and vitality.
Before becoming President, Richard had been Chairman of the society for 10 years and was instrumental in promoting the principles of civic pride and civic responsibility. A committee member from 1979, he was Vice Chair from 1980 to 1991, Treasurer from 1984 to 1991 and President from 2001 to 2017.
Over the years he led the steering group liaising with Kirklees Council over streetscape and shop front improvements, promoting 'In Bloom' and 'Tidy Trader' initiatives and, more recently, advising and judging the annual HCS Design Awards
In recent years he had taken retirement and moved to the east coast where he became involved with Scarborough CS and Scalby Village Trust as well as maintaining his role as treasurer of the Yorkshire and Humberside Assoc of Civic Societies (YHACS).
However, he remained a regular attendee at our meetings as well as advising on constitutional matters on which his skills as a solicitor provided steady and logical guidance. Many of us will miss his humour, company and loyalty to our town.
Friends and family are invited to Woodlands Crematorium, Scarborough for a service of committal at noon on Monday, September 16. This will be followed by a service of Thanksgiving at 1pm at Westborough Methodist church, Scarborough YO11 1TS.
Over two dozen new locations will open their doors across Kirklees as part of the National Heritage Open Days Festival from September 13 – 22.
A record 68 sites and events will celebrate the area’s heritage and culture, offering an insight into places not always open to the public.
Last year almost 5,000 people enjoyed the chance to explore a range of historic places and participate in a variety of events.
This year’s programme is more widely spread across Kirklees, with ten new events in Dewsbury and Mirfield alongside well-established favourites in Huddersfield and the Valleys.
All venues and events are free, although, because of limited capacity, a small number have to be booked.
Among some of this year’s new entries are visits to Dewsbury’s oldest shop, trading since 1860 and now an intimate museum; a converted C19 piggery with Bronte connections in Mirfield; the remote Shred Mission Chapel above Slaithwaite; a walk to discover Lockwood and the history of its Spa; and a chance to explore and understand Huddersfield’s Buddhist centre in Birkby.
Other highlights are linked to this year’s national theme ‘People Power’, celebrating individuals and communities who have worked together to bring about change.
These include a talk by Georgina Hutchison, author of ‘Under the Canopy of Heaven’, a novel about Luddite George Mellor; a tour of Greenhead Park led by Thomas Denham, who set out his vision for it in 1869; and a talk at Huddersfield’s Hall of Science (now Ramsay Clay) built by followers of early socialist, Robert Owen.
Details of all 68 events and the booking process can be found in the Kirklees Heritage Open Days brochure, which is being distributed to information points and libraries across Kirklees, by going to the national web site or by downloading the file below.
Huddersfield Civic Society welcomes the launch of the Huddersfield Blueprint as the first stage in the process of re-invigorating, regenerating and repurposing the town centre.
The following is a precis of comments made by the committee of HCS. Further detailed comments will be submitted following consultation with all members of the society and its partners.
Initial Comments on Zone Proposals.
Queensgate: The Cultural Heart:
St. Peter’s Area:
Kingsgate & King Street:
The Civic Quarter:
An evening guided walk will highlight the wealth of sculptural and other public art in the centre of Huddersfield.
It will be led by Chris Marsden, former chairman of Huddersfield Civic Society and author of the recently published, ‘Huddersfield in 50 Buildings’.
The walk will start from the Harold Wilson statue in St George’s Square at 7pm on Thursday, July 18, and last about an hour and a half.
It will take in features of national importance, including the world’s largest ceramic panels at Queensgate Market and the stone figures outside the library as well as superbly carved figures to be found on the Kirkgate Buildings, Lloyds TSB and Britannia Buildings.
Chris will reveal the background and artists responsible for the works as well as the stories behind various mosaics including ‘Systematic Sequence in Line and Shade’ and ‘Development of the Woollen Industry’.
Further information about the programme of walks organised by Discover Huddersfield and a series of free trails, can be found at local information points and libraries or by visiting www.discoverhuddersfield.com.
The walks costs £3 per person but no booking is required.
A majority of businesses in Huddersfield have voted in favour of plans to create a Business Improvement District.
Those with a rateable value of £12,001 or above will pay a levy based on their rateable value, creating a pot of more than £2million to spend over the next five years.
Consequently, the town’s new Business Improvement District will come into effect on 1 October.
Vernon O’Reilly, centre manager of the Piazza Shopping Centre and chairman of the Huddersfield BID development steering group, said: "This is superb news for Huddersfield and huge congratulations must go to all the businesses which rallied and joined forces to ensure we secured today’s yes vote
An environment workshop organised by Huddersfield Civic Society looked at key areas that will affect future priorities for the town.
Waste expert Dr Elaine Kerrell introduced the recently published national waste strategy and explored its implications for Kirklees Council.
“There are expected to be new requirements for the council to separately collect food waste and garden waste”, she said.
“Achieving 50% recycling rates by 2020 from today’s rate of 27% is going to be challenging”. Elaine suggested that adding a food waste collection would help to reduce contamination of the green bins.
Coun Andrew Cooper, whose ward includes the town centre, proposed that art installations, children’s play areas and outdoor exercise facilities be used to revitalise the town centre.
He presented examples from his recent visits to Spain and Romania as part of his work as a UK member of the EU Committee of the Regions.
Chas Ball, a member of the HCS board, presented the plans for local action on air pollution.
He said that Kirklees Council’s consultation on air quality was due out soon. He described how the health effects arising from diesel vehicles caused 1,000 premature deaths in West Yorkshire.
Chas suggested that council’s draft strategy will feature work in progress to reduce congestion by improving urban traffic control.
It will also announce the installation of 17 rapid chargers (in pairs) for electric vehicles across the borough of which half will be reserved for taxi use. He said the draft strategy would also stress the importance of an effective walking and cycling strategy.
The workshop succeeded in stimulating members to consider practical and policy responses to the environmental agenda.
It follows a successful workshop in October on the 'Future of the Town'.
More than 60 Huddersfield residents took to the streets for a clean-up of the town centre over the weekend.
Go to Town – the big clean-up on May 10 - 12 was organised by Environment Kirklees and supported by Huddersfield Civic Society and Clare Hill Community Centre.
Kim Warren, project coordinator said: ‘Kirklees Council does a lot of work to keep the town centre streets clean and volunteers regularly clean up the footpaths by the river and canal – but there are still areas that get missed.
‘In Go to Town we are tackling the private land, car parks and green spaces that are often left out and contain a lot of litter. Today we have reduced that in the parts of the town centre and its gateway that let the side down.’
Volunteers, including councillors from Newsome and Greenhead wards, were issued with tools, litter-picking equipment, and hi-vis vests.
On Friday and Saturday, the north and south approaches to the town centre were targeted including footpaths on the River Colne corridor. On Sunday the work programme concentrated on the town centre.
Go to Town was supported by Kirklees Council with funding from the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government.
A trail leaflet that reveals the historic centre of Almondbury has been produced by the Discover Huddersfield Partnership. The trail, the 16th in the series, follows a route through the heart of the village.
Almondbury (or Ambry) originated around 625 BC with an undefended hut settlement on the commanding viewpoint of Castle Hill. Ancient packhorse trails and later turnpikes brought London buyers via Almondbury to northern England’s sheep-rearing areas.
Edward 1 granted a market charter to Henry de Lacy in 1294. By 1475 Almondbury market’s cloth sales ranked fourth out of seventeen in Yorkshire.
King James's Grammar School received its royal charter from the King in 1608. The first National School in the area was founded in 1818 in buildings to the west of the church. It eventually became the infant school.
The trail is available from local information points, including libraries and the railway station. Others produced by the partnership include themes as varied as Public Art, the Ramsden Family, Historic Buildings, World War 1, Caribbean Heritage, Radical History, Music and Real Ale.
A programme of themed walks, including the guided walk around Almondbury in September, is available from information points or by visiting Discover Huddersfield.
You are invited to our workshop where the environmental issues that contribute to making Huddersfield a town to live, work and study in will be considered.
When: May 18, 2019, 9.45am - 1.15pm
Where: Media Centre, Northumberland Street HD1 1PL
Alternatives to the car
Waste and litter
Cherishing our green spaces
Improving air quality
Speakers and feedback
Specialist speakers will briefly introduce each topic and outline the local context before opening up the debate to members. It will take place against a background of recent developments within Kirklees Council including the declaration of a “climate emergency” and the publication of a draft air quality strategy. As with the workshop in October we will collate the verbal and written comments (using post-its) into a report.
HCS invites members and guests to attend. The event is open to non-members. There is no delegate charge but we are asking for donations at registration to cover our costs: £2 (HCS members, students, unwaged) and £5 (non-members). This will include free hot drinks.
Timetable and refreshments
Coffee, tea and pastries will be available from 09.45 and Café Ollo will be open throughout the workshop for drinks and snacks. The programme starts at 10.15 and end at 13.15. It will include a short comfort break at about noon.
Location and parking
The Media Centre is less than 5 minutes walk from the railway station and 10 minutes from the bus station. On a Saturday there is plenty of half-day pay and display car parking close by (e.g. Bath Street off-street, Broadway on street). Limited free parking will be available in Eastwood & Partners car park, Northumberland Street – if you need to park close to the venue, please book a space through the form below.
Booking in advance.
Please reserve your place via the RSVP form below or leave a message on 01484 511045. We will also have an Eventbrite site for booking places.
The annual general meeting of Huddersfield Civic Society was held on Tuesday, April 2, 2019, in the Reception Room of Huddersfield Town Hall. Chairman: David Wyles.
1. Apologies for absence.
2. Minutes of the 2018 AGM (download link at the foot of this page).
3. Matters arising from the 2018 AGM minutes.
4. Chairman’s Report.
5. Treasurer's Report.
6. Election of Executive Committee.
Other Committee Members:
NOTE. Membership Co-ordinator (Ex officio): Laura West
7. Appointment of Independent Examiner.
8. Any other business.
The meeting was followed by Huddersfield in 50 Buildings, an illustrated talk by Chris Marsden.
The story of Huddersfield's rise to national prominence, told through some of its finest architecture, has been published.
Huddersfield in 50 Buildings is by Chris Marsden, a former chairman of Huddersfield Civic Society, with pictures by Andrew Cavaney. Chris will speak about his book at the HCS meeting on April 2.
Among structures celebrated are the railway station, the University's Oastler Building and, perhaps more controversially, Queensgate Market. Over 96 pages, Chris and Andrew take readers on a tour of historic buildings and modern architectural landmarks.
Chris says: "Introducing and exploring the history of the town through 50 significant buildings of all ages allows new perspectives on our townscape. Buildings that we may take for granted have histories that show us what we were.
"Their secret histories link buildings together through their builders, occupants, purposes and events. I’m asked daily about the town and its buildings I hope the book will answer many questions and provoke still more."
The book also includes archive photographs that have not been seen for decades or are published for the first time.
Chris's top five buildings:
Huddersfield in 50 Buildings, Amberley Publishing, 13.49.
The society is backing Kirklees Council in its bid for a share of the Government’s new £675 million Future High Streets fund.
The fund aims to help local leaders transform town centres by consolidating high street properties, improving transport and access and converting retail units into new homes.
The council says that it is looking to secure £25m to create 'a vibrant cultural quarter'. Proposals include a museum, a 'significantly enhanced' library and art gallery, and a new live music venue.
In a letter to Karl Battersby, Kirklees Strategic Director, Economy and Infrastructure, HCS chairman David Wyles says:
"We would entirely support your bid at a time when critical actions and partnership working are emerging to facilitate much needed investment in restoring confidence and vitality in our town centre."
"Besides being the major town in one of the country’s largest metropolitan areas, Huddersfield is distinguished in a number of ways that highlight the critical importance of support:
"It has one of the highest number of listed buildings in the country – higher than many better known ‘historic’ cities, but the Town Centre Conservation Area was included on on Historic England's Heritage at-Risk Register in 2018. Vacancies, both on ground and upper floors have increased dramatically as has the loss of commercial businesses to out-of-town locations.
"It has a distinguished cultural life including the Contemporary Music Festival, choral society, literary festival etc, but constraints have severely limited (and prevented) the opportunity to pursue joint ambitions for a focus for various cultural and social activities.
"It has a population catchment in retail terms of over 350,000 but is more vulnerable than many towns because of the close proximity to large, out-of -town centres including Meadowhall and Trafford centres.
"The university has grown in stature and provides huge opportunities of mutual benefit, curtailed to an extent by negative perceptions of the town.
"Beyond the above and more we, as you know, are keen to work as a ‘critical friend’ with your teams and have already applauded involvement in work to develop the masterplan, design framework and shopfront improvements.
"We in parallel will provide support and positive messages through our web site and initiatives such as our annual design awards, themed workshops, Discover Huddersfield trails and walks programme etc.
"I hope this provides some indication of why investment is currently so critical and once secured can begin to attract match funding for regeneration from the private sector. "
Three workshops organised by the Huddersfield Partnership have been attended by the society.
The Partnership gives town centre businesses a chance to outline their recommendations for the Business Improvement District (BID).
BIDs are part of the Government’s plan to encourage partnership working between a local authority and the business community. A BID is a defined area which can be developed in towns, cities and industrial estates.
Rate-paying businesses within the area decide on improvements to help transform it – and then vote to agree the investment. If supported by a majority of town centre businesses, the BID will provide income raised through a levy on the rateable value of property.
Depending on the final area chosen, the levy should raise between £346,000- £423,000 a year over a fixed period.
This would be on top of any funding allocated by Kirklees for town centre improvements, providing the businesses with a say in how they feel the money should be spent.
HCS committee member Peter Sargent attends BID meetings on behalf of the society.
He said: "We are at a crucial stage in preparing a draft plan indicating where funds will be prioritised.
"The plan will be launched in May and the ballot of property owners in June. The result of the ballot will be announced in July and, if there is majority support, work on improvements projects could start as early as October 2019."