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'.