CIVIC SOCIETY NEWS
CIVIC SOCIETY NEWS
Kirklees Council has given an assurance to Huddersfield Civic Society that it has 'no plans to weaken or abolish any planning committees'.
The pledge by council leader Cllr Shabir Pandor was made in response to concerns expressed in a letter from society president, Bernard Ainsworth.
Cllr Pandor writes: 'Public input into decision making is an essential element of our democracy.
'Our focus as an administration is on improving engagement with local people and working with them on the issues that affect them. Localised decision making on planning issues is clearly part of that process.'
This is the text of Bernard's letter: 'On behalf of Huddersfield Civic Society we read, with some alarm, the Examiner report (July14) ‘Kirklees planning shake-up could result in less chance to fight developments’ following a meeting of the Council’s Cabinet.
'It is worrying that senior figures have voiced concerns about the balance of the democratic process in dealing with developers and developments! It appears some Cabinet members feel that public input is too high and shouldn’t take up so much time, effort and weighting!
'In 2019 the largest ever canvassing of public trust in large scale development in the UK found that trust in the planning system is almost non-existent. When it comes to planning for large scale development, just 2 per cent of the public trust developers and only 7 per cent trust local authorities.
By DAVID WYLES, Chairman, Huddersfield Civic Society
I was saddened to hear of the death of Joe Marsden who, with his brother John and families, contributed so much to the town over many years.
Joe epitomised what is termed ‘the hospitality industry’, with his warm welcome, generosity, humour and understanding of the people for whom the night club, bistro and hotels became their favourite venues.
Huddersfield Civic Society is working to support Kirklees Council develop plans for the Huddersfield Blueprint’s Station Gateway.
A new, west-side station entrance, with a pedestrian link from St George’s Square, would revitalise the railway warehouse and surrounding area. The square itself would benefit from the removal of vehicles accessing the station.
This week the Society submitted an outline for a suggested approach to Peter Steniulis in the Council’s Major Projects Service.
HCS has established a joint transport working group with Huddersfield Unlimited to help improve transport links in and around the town.
The group has identified five themes that are important to the economy and quality of life in the town, including digital connectivity. Initially the working group will focus on two areas:
The transport working group is also writing to Kirklees Council and the West Yorkshire Combined Authority to offer assistance in further developing current ‘active travel’ initiatives (i.e. measures to encourage greater cycling and walking) and to improve communications with civil society.
Martin Booker, RIBA, Managing Director of Fibre Architects, gives a personal view on the future of town centres
During the lockdown I’ve mainly been working from home and on the couple of occasions that I had to visit our office in Huddersfield I decided to cycle the seven miles to work on my recently purchased electric bike.
This made me realise the great work and investment that has been made by Kirklees and Sustrans in recent times to make this type of journey much more safe and enjoyable for cyclists, and the 30 minutes it took was only a little more than the 20 minutes it sometimes takes in the car.
The George Hotel, birthplace of rugby league, is to house the sport's first national museum – a decision that has won the support of Huddersfield Civic Society.
Rugby League Cares have forged a partnership with Kirklees Council to bring the attraction to the hotel where clubs met in 1895 to agree a breakaway from the Rugby Football Union.
HCS is broadly supportive of Council proposals to upgrade the Open Market and efforts to secure Heritage Action Zone status for key buildings around St George’s Square.
However, it remains cautious about the viability of moving traders from Queensgate Market.
An online talk last night to HCS members and supporters on a possible cycling strategy for Huddersfield proved remarkably prescient.
Kirklees Council today announced that a number of roads around Huddersfield and North Kirklees are to be turned over to cyclists as it uses the coronavirus crisis to "completely rethink the way towns work".
By David Wyles
After consultation with colleagues from the Discover Huddersfield partnership, we feel there is no likelihood that walks will resume within the next few months.
Even if the government allows such things to take place, our feeling is that many of our walkers may be classed 'vulnerable' or remain sensitive to joining a group. Similarly our walk leaders and support team may feel uneasy.
By David Wyles
I hope our members and their families have stayed free of the virus but if you have been infected, I wish you a speedy recovery.
Digital committee meeting
Your committee held its first online meeting on May 18 and was pleased to receive a presentation by Karl Battersby, Kirklees Strategic Director for Economy and Infrastructure. Work to realise key ambitions within the Blueprint is moving ahead and you may have seen reports on our web site and in the Examiner relating to the purchase of the George and other strategic buildings.
Huddersfield Civic Society will hold its first online event next month when Richard Armitage gives a talk on bike-friendly towns.
Zoom will be used in webinar format to enable members to engage with our speaker at the meeting on June 2 at 7pm. The committee has been using this software successfully since March.
Richard, the Executive Director of the European Cycle Logistics Federation, will discuss what an ambitious cycling strategy for Huddersfield and south Kirklees might look like.
Booking for the event on Eventbrite is now open. If you register you will receive the Zoom link on June 1.
The leader of Kirklees Council has spoken of his commitment to the Huddersfield Blueprint, despite the financial effects of the Coronavirus.
Coun Shabir Pandor was asked what impact a financial hole would have on elements such as the £250m Blueprint and Kirklees' commitment to climate change.
Civic Voice, the national charity for the civic movement in England, has arranged a series of online In Conversation with…. interviews.
Subjects with a background or interest in planning, design or architecture are interviewed by Kevin Trickett, acting chair of Market Weighton Civic Society.
The interviews – conducted via Zoom video conferencing and about 30 minutes long – are open to all. The first took place on May 6, when planning consultant Graham Galpin was the interviewee.
Here is the schedule of coming interviews:
The Lawrence Batley Theatre invites people to collaborate with Ian McMillan on a new poem to celebrate the strength of our community in light of the pandemic.
"While we’re all staying home and getting on with lockdown, we want to recognise the community spirit found in our region," the Huddersfield theatre says.
"To get involved, we’re asking you to reflect on what Kirklees means to you. This could be what you love most about living in Kirklees, what the best thing about your community is or what sort of place you hope Kirklees will be in the future."
Banney Royd, the Arts and Crafts house in Edgerton designed by the architect Edgar Wood, is again on the market.
The Grade I Listed villa, rich in Art Nouveau features, has been described by the architectural historian John Archer as 'an exceptional house of its generation'.
He writes: 'Throughout the house the best materials were used, and room by room the detailing was originally designed, from the fireplace down to the finger plates on the doors. Various features have the elongated forms characteristic of British Art Nouveau, but the general character of the design is robust and vigorous.'
Volunteers have converted a overgrown riverside open space into an attractive place to visit.
Snow Island, off King’s Mill Lane, has been developed as a public amenity by The Greenstreams Project, led by local environmental organisation Environment Kirklees. It has improved the pathways, installed artworks at gateways, cleared rubbish and provided picnic tables, with wheelchair space, and seating.
The Society is supportive of the approach, vision and ambition incorporated in the Huddersfield Town Centre Blueprint Supplementary Planning Document (SPD).
The types of change, areas of focus and sites identified for re-purposing represent a cogent strategy, with an appropriate mix of deliverable and aspirational elements, to give focus and direction for the town centre for the next 10 years.
By Chas Ball
HCS has submitted counter proposals to the Leeds Road (A62) Smart Corridor consultation on Phase 1 from Huddersfield Railway Station to Fieldhouse Lane.
The Society's response says that the proposed route does not provide a continuously safe cycle despite the Council’s proposal to “upgrade the existing cycle provision to include separate cycle ways and on-road cycle lanes”.
In its evidence, HCS says that the scheme fails to achieve the aim of encouraging more cycling because “it is severely compromised by designing cycling to take place in close proximity to heavy traffic.
By David Wyles
I start by thanking colleagues on the committee and our members for their contribution to the many and various events we organised over the year. The range of work, from speaker events to the town centre clean up, from environmental workshops to participation in partnerships such as Discover Huddersfield, has demonstrated that HCS is a strong and influential ‘voice’ for the town.
Sadly, one of HCS’s leading members, former President Richard Ward, who had been instrumental in driving, guiding and initiating many elements of our work over many years, passed away in September 2019.
HCS members are invited to a seminar next month at Leeds University: 'Traffic Removal in Leeds: Reshaping the City for People'.
The event is organised by the Traffic Removal UK network, the Institute for Transport Studies at University of Leeds and Act TravelWise.
Speakers include expert practitioners who are leading initiatives to reclaim space from motor vehicles. Some of these efforts are under development in the city centre and in new residential neighbourhoods.
Victoria Tower, Castle Hill picture by Vinny Tyrell
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