CIVIC SOCIETY NEWS
CIVIC SOCIETY NEWS
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.
We have therefore decided to cancel the walks programme until September. This would still leave eight walks, including those intended for Heritage Open Days, subject to further review.
This is a great disappointment as the expertise and enthusiasm of our walk leaders receive such a positive response from the public and help enrich people's knowledge of our local history and heritage.
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.
Funding has been secured for an Heritage Action Zone (an initiative by Historic England to unlock the economic potential of historic areas), based on the St George’s Square area, particularly focusing on the George Hotel, Estate Buildings and possible acquisition of the Railway Warehouse.
Slow progress continues on shopfront improvements along a section of John William Street, with property owners pursuing grants to renew a number of frontages, regularly highlighted by HCS as being unsightly and contrary to their listed status.
To reinforce the status of the Blueprint, Kirklees Council decided to enshrine its key components into a supplementary planning document to provide guidance, on how policies or proposals in the Blueprint will be implemented, and to support the delivery of the town centre regeneration programme including future funding applications. Your committee has, of course, submitted comments as part of the statutory process. Further detail and links to relevant documents will be available on the website.
Cycling & Walking
HCS have called for involvement in the promised Kirklees Strategic Cycle Forum and the development of a cycling and walking delivery partnership. Your committee believe significant improvements in both cycling and walking are crucial to a ‘post covid’ recovery and improving the functioning and attractiveness of the area. Updates will be provided, via the website, as they develop.
Online Speaker Event: Bike Friendly Towns, 2 June 2020
All members should have received my recent email about the HCS online speaker event. My error for omitting to thank committee colleague, Chas Ball, for organising this. Don’t forget to book your free place by following this link to Eventbrite.
Discover Huddersfield Walks’ Programme
Due to a concern that people will be reluctant to join walking groups, even when lock-down rules are relaxed, the DH partnership has decided to cancel further guided walks through to the end of August.
Having produced the 2020 walks’ leaflet just before restrictions were enforced this is a big disappointment, not least because our voluntary group relies on the annual income from those participating, to fund future production of published trails.
A further move into the digital era is heralded by development of a web app intended to make these trails available via mobile phone. This has only been made possible with the help of Dave Pattern, computer expert and administrator of the Huddersfield Exposed web site – recommended for those interested in the history of the town.
Highfields – A Most Handsome Suburb
HCS will be publishing a new book by David Griffiths based on the historic development of the Highfields area. David, author of a number of local history books including The Villas of Edgerton has prepared initial drafts and it is expected that the book, which will be sold as a companion volume to ‘Villas’, will be available from early November – an ideal present for Christmas! Our publications continue to be available through our web site online store.
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.
'We remain absolutely committed to delivering our long-term vision for Kirklees. The budget we passed before the pandemic struck was all about investing in Kirklees and all its towns and villages, its people and its places,' he told the Huddersfield Examiner.
'Coronavirus hasn’t dented those ambitions, it’s made them more urgent. The same is true of the climate emergency, It hasn’t taken time off during the pandemic. It’s as critical as it was eight weeks ago and will become more so. Our capital investment needs to be as ambitious as it was before the crisis.'
Asked about the potential for the financial collapse of the council, he said: 'I am talking to Government on a weekly basis but right now our priority is about saving lives and making sure everyone stays safe; we’re not speaking about financial collapse.'
Meanwhile, Kirklees is is preparing to buy another key building in Huddersfield town centre. A report to next week's meeting of the council's Cabinet outlines the intention to buy what is described as 'a strategic property'.
The building, which has not been identified, is among the 'land assembly' required to deliver the Huddersfield Blueprint.
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:
May 14: In Conversation with Bob Colenutt. We will discuss his new book, The Property Lobby. Bob says that the housing crisis is no accident, but the calculated product of an elite group who have no reason to fix it.
May 20: In Conversation with Nicholas Boys Smith, Chair of the Building Better, Building Beautiful Commission: Covid 19: How will we build better and beautifully?
May 25: In Conversation with Vidhya Alakeson. Why we need to do high street regeneration differently.
May 27: In Conversation with Matthew Mckeague, CEO of the Architectural Heritage Fund. 'What is the future for our heritage high streets?
June 2: In Conversation with Steve Quartermain. Planning in a post-covid world. Until March, Steve was the Government's chief planner
June 4: In Conversation with Mary Parsons, Chair, Town and Country Planning Association. Why we need a Healthy Homes Act!
June 10: In Conversation with Cllr Karen Rowland. Why we need Heritage Champions.
June 18: In Conversation with Joel Mills. In our first transatlantic interview, we will hear a planning perspective from the United States.
More interviews are to be added, so keep an eye on the Civic Voice and Eventbrite pages for updates.
If you wish to book a place, you will need to do so via Eventbrite. Events are free for Civic Voice members but some incur a charge for non-Civic Voice members. Places can be booked here.
You will need to have Zoom installed on your device which will mean opening a Zoom account. You will need a camera and microphone either standalone or built into your device. Remember to turn the sound on to hear the interview.
Please note that sessions are not interactive, although you will be able to submit questions in advance or by using the on-line Chat facility within Zoom.
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."
Ian McMillan, Yorkshire poet and curator of A Poem for Kirklees says: “In these fragmented and isolated times I’m proud to be part of a project that brings the people of Kirklees together through the most vital of community assets, the power of words!”
The poem will be inspired by your words, which will be written into the final piece by Ian and accompanied by a short film featuring community members, key workers and local public figures.
An entry form can be found on the theatre's website and the deadline for entries is Monday, June 1.