CIVIC SOCIETY NEWS
CIVIC SOCIETY NEWS
Summer is upon us and although there have been delays in the exit from Covid restrictions, we are busy preparing walks and events programmes with colleagues from the Discover Huddersfield partnership and Heritage Open Days committee. Read on.
Discover Huddersfield Walks’ Programme
Although there’s a reduced programme for 2021, eight walks are scheduled with an additional five free walks during Heritage Open Days (HOD) which this year runs for more than a week between Friday, September 10 and Sunday, September 19.
Note: All walks in the programme MUST be pre-booked. Details on how to book will be available from early July by going to https://discoverhuddersfield.uk
The first walk on July 15 will be ‘A Walk Through Lindley’s Past.’ Other themes will be Building Stones, Sites from Slaithwaite’s Radical Past, Huddersfield’s Radical Heritage, Georgian Huddersfield, the Changing Face of Birkby, the Age of Architectural Decoration and Surprising Lockwood – from Elegant Spa to Industrial Hub. The HOD walks are: Exploring the Town’s Ramsden Heritage, Walking the Banks of the River Colne, Huddersfield Textile Walk, Buildings of Huddersfield’s 19th Century ‘New Town’ and the Irish in Huddersfield.
There is a charge of £4 per person for Discover Huddersfield walks but the five Heritage Open Day walks are free. Note though there will be a limit on numbers attending so keep an eye out for further details which will also be posted on the HCS website.
Heritage Open Days and High Streets/Heritage Action Zone Cultural Programme
Other than the free walks mentioned above, properties and events are currently registering for this year’s Heritage Open Days Festival. Some of these events will also feature in a wider programme following the award of a £90,000 grant from Historic England as part of the Huddersfield High Streets Heritage Action Zone (HSHAZ) to create and deliver community-led cultural activities on the high street over the next three years. Both myself and David Griffiths are involved in a consortium established to manage this programme.
As you may have read on the HCS website, this year’s programme will include a small festival of running and walking including the George Hotel Mile celebrating the achievement of local athlete Derek Ibbotson who broke the world record for fastest mile and the Tour de HAZ and a cycling route taking in local points of history and interest. Plus, of course, there will be a celebration of the Rugby League World Cup with the creation of a Carnival King costume that will feature at various events, including one of the quarter final games to be played in Huddersfield on November 12, 2021.
Also included in the festival is the talk by Sheila Binns on Monday, September 13, at New North Road Baptist Church about Huddersfield-born W H Crossland, now recognised as one of the Victorian era’s greatest architects, following her recently published biography. Organised jointly by HCS and Huddersfield Local History Society, this will be a free lecture. Booking details will be circulated at a later date.
Heritage Action Zone Development Initiatives
Beyond the Cultural Programme, liaison continues to ensure HCS is updated with regard to progress on physical developments within the HS/HAZ area centred on St George’s Square.
The George Hotel, which had been left in a very poor state of repair prior to Kirklees Council purchasing it, has been subject to major investigations and removal of asbestos. Liaison with Historic England has been an essential element of this process in ensuring future proposals are in accordance with the building’s historic and architectural significance. A similar process will be undertaken in relation to Estate Buildings which has long been advocated for high quality residential use.
Understandably, the drive to improve shop fronts, particularly on a section of John William Street and along Cloth Hall Street, has been affected by COVID, with many owners and tenants struggling as a result of the pandemic over the past 15 months. HCS has, for many years, promoted the need for such improvements and design guidance for owners and we will continue to both support improvements and press for enforcement actions where illegal changes are being made to architecturally important properties.
Kirklees Council Cabinet Meeting on June 22
It’s not often I would recommend wading through lengthy documents produced by Kirklees. However, rather than trying to summarise initiatives being taken forward, all of which the HCS Executive Committee has been involved with at some level of consultation and discussion, those with some spare moments (plus, a glass of wine may help), may wish to look at reports which went to Kirklees Cabinet on June 22: (Public Pack) Agenda Document for Cabinet, 22/06/2021 15:00 (kirklees.gov.uk).
These reports contain some of the most relevant information on issues relating to our work and comments we have made over the past year, specifically Item 11, Adoption of quality places Supplementary Planning Documents and Biodiversity Net Gain Technical Advice.
Note: Item 13, to seek approval to carry out public consultation and make revised applications to West Yorkshire Combined Authority in relation to Huddersfield Station Gateway and Trinity Street Access and Item 14, Cultural Heart, part of the Huddersfield Blueprint - Next Steps.
Item 11 (SPDs) includes comments made by the society some months ago. Item 13 relates to co-ordination and consultation colleagues Chas Ball and Geoff Hughes are undertaking with Huddersfield Unlimited and council officers and item 14 and further items relate to the appointment of consultants and the acquisition of a strategic property in the Cultural Heart quarter.
Former committee colleague John Lockwood is providing invaluable help in trying to monitor incoming planning applications but we desperately need to identify a Planning Officer for the society who can both monitor and respond to applications.
For example, this month there has been a number of applications which are of interest, ranging from proposals for commercial units on Park Avenue, Springwood, adjacent to Springwood Conservation Area, to a number of residential conversions.
Some of these fall within the General Permitted Development Order such as the conversion of Crown House, Southgate (2021/92282) into 85 apartments, over which there is limited control.
Others include amendments to the permission for conversion of the former Kirklees College building on New North Road, a key feature in David Griffith’s book on Highfields, and conversion of the Excelsior Works on St John’s Road, where the saying concerning ‘swinging a cat’ comes to mind.
If anyone is willing to help in this important part of our work, please contact me.
I hope you all have an enjoyable summer.
Victoria Tower, Castle Hill picture by Vinny Tyrell
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