CIVIC SOCIETY NEWS
CIVIC SOCIETY NEWS
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.'
It was built in 1901 for William Henry Armitage, founder of the chartered accountants Armitage & Norton, and acquired in 1918 by Lieutenant-Colonel Sir Emmanuel Hoyle of Joseph Hoyle and Sons, woollen cloth manufacturers.
Requisitioned in 1942 by Huddersfield Corporation's Civil Defence Committee, it found later use as a fire service training centre. It became a Huddersfield Education Department Teachers' Centre in the 1960s and was reinstated as a private house in 1991.
The ground floor includes an impressive entrance hall with oak panelling, an important ashlar fireplace, a drawing room, library and orangery. The dining room contains another ornate fireplace behind a broad round arch with a gilded figure of “The Angel Of The Rains”.
An oak staircase with mullioned window and barrelled ceiling leads to nine bedrooms and a further staircase give access to the second floor. To the rear of the house stand a coach house and cottage.
Banney Royd is for sale through Savills for £2.3m and a more comprehensive account of its history and architecture may be found in the HCS publication The Villas of Edgerton: Home to Huddersfield’s Victorian Elite by David Griffiths.
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 distinctive artworks at gateways, cleared rubbish, provided picnic tables, with wheelchair space, and seating.
Steps to the viewing area at Kingsbridge have also been installed with maps and signposts to direct people along the wider ‘Riverside Way’ network.
The erection of long lasting woodcrete bird and bat boxes and creation of a wildflower meadow at Snow Island, should help attract more birds, bats and insects and add a splash of colour in the summer.
The site now offers picnicking, river and canal walks, wildlife watching, angling and information about the wider waterways network of access routes.
The Society is very 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.
As a policy document we assume the SPD should assist a Council planning lawyer refuting an ‘off message’ application by a developer. To achieve this for each of the SPD’s six key areas, there needs to be a succinct set of objectives, e.g. “mainly conversion to residential with limited new build plus new, high quality public realm...” followed by a bullet point list of the types of deliverables to be expected in any plan submitted for the area concerned.
Here is a summary of the key additions and changes the Society believes should be made before the SPD is confirmed:
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.
“Constructing protected cycle lanes for a part of the route provides only limited incentives to those considering cycling as a means of transport.
“Until the scheme is redesigned to allow for continuously safe cycling, we feel unable to comment on the detailed proposals. Instead we propose an alternative separate route that is largely parallel to the Leeds Road.
“We need to be confident that residents and school students will use this route. The criteria for an acceptable route is one that would be suitable for a school pupil who has achieved Bikeabilty level 3 which ‘equips riders with the skill and confidence to ride in more challenging roads and traffic situations – busier streets, queuing traffic, complex junctions and roundabouts. It also includes planning routes for safe cycling.’”
In its overview paper, HCS says: “The basic principles of the scheme are not in line with the Leeds City Region Climate Change Emergency policies. If implemented this scheme will make it more difficult to achieve the 2038 zero emissions target adopted by the West Yorkshire Combined Authority.
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.
In July 2019 Kirklees Council unveiled its Blueprint for the town centre. Amidst growing concerns and, indeed, despair regarding the declining fortunes of the centre, HCS played an active role in submitting its views and establishing a working dialogue with senior Council officers. Proposals were augmented by other initiatives regarding shopfront and highway improvements and whilst there have been disagreements concerning specific details and frustration over slow progress, the society is pleased to have established itself as a ’critical friend’ of the Council.
Finally, I should like to emphasise the society’s broadening goals in respect of our work and the town’s future. In the past, civic societies have concentrated to a very large degree on the built heritage of their areas of interest. By recognising that heritage alone will not preserve or enhance the town for citizens of today and the future, HCS has expanded its remit to encompass issues including transport, the climate emergency, partnership with other organisations and improved communications. The following resume outlines this broader approach and at the end I summarise some of the challenges for 2020 and beyond.
Planning and Development Issues
Detailed comments have been submitted to Kirklees regarding several major applications, namely:
Castle Hill. Objections and concerns lodged and publicised with regard to both the current proposals and the manner by which Kirklees Council has dealt with significant changes to the planning application as an amendment to previous plans. Co-ordination has also taken place with other groups and organisations opposed to the proposals.
George Hotel. Support for the application for hotel and ancillary uses. However, HCS appreciates that the viability of the scheme will be undermined, unless those proposals to link the station and St George’s Square to the railway warehouse and adjacent land are implemented, as suggested in the Blueprint.
The website, launched in January 2019, has recorded a healthy level of visitors (2008 who viewed 3,859 pages). It is regularly updated with photos, news, event details, planning updates, town centre initiatives and other information. Facilities for the purchase of HCS publications and membership have improved and corporate members have benefitted from the addition of logos and links to their business web sites.
Improvements have continued in updating and revising our membership list and circulating information such as the membership card and programme and events information. Further publicity is achieved through HCS’s key role in the Discover Huddersfield partnership and Kirklees Heritage Open Days committee (see below).
Speakers and Events
Our programme ranged from the annual joint HCS/University lecture on the ground-breaking development at Eddington, Cambridge to informative talks concerning electric vehicles and infrastructure, opportunities for improving transport systems, the photographic archive of Harry Bray and Huddersfield finest buildings. The well-attended workshop on town centre master planning, the trip to Johnson Wellfield quarries and the day visit to Sheffield, including an eye-opening tour of the regeneration of Kelham Island, all made for a stimulating mix. In addition, nominations were sought for completed developments in the 2019 Design Awards, the winners of which will be announced at a later date.
I have represented HCS on a number of committees, particularly Discover Huddersfield and Kirklees Heritage Open Days. These are working committees, the former producing free themed trails (currently numbering 16) and an annual programme of walks; the latter a programme of (in 2019) 68 events and venues, many not usually open to the public, as part of the national Heritage Open Days festival in September. The DH walks’ programme attracted an average of 29.5 people per walk while HOD events attracted over 5,000 people with 1,100 people visiting new sites.
Our books, particularly The Villas of Edgerton and The Buildings of Huddersfield continue to sell steadily and have helped raise our profile. Improved methods of selling via the web site have recently been implemented.
Many of our committee members are involved with other organisations, particularly in relation to cultural, environmental and transport matters and these links enable HCS to co-ordinate, share ideas and receive intelligence on issues affecting the town.
Whilst I believe much progress has been made and HCS remains a unique force in promoting and highlighting Huddersfield’s civic pride there are a number of key areas which I hope can be pursued:
And finally, to achieve the above, I would welcome support from individual members. Some of our joint working initiatives, e.g. Discover Huddersfield and Heritage Open Days, operate through small, enthusiastic committees and volunteers. If you have an interest in specific areas of work and have a few hours a month to provide practical support, please contact me.