CIVIC SOCIETY NEWS
CIVIC SOCIETY NEWS
If Huddersfield wants to reinvent itself it must "dare to be different."
This is the advice from the man behind one of the most forward-thinking urban regeneration companies in the north of England.
Nathan Cornish is group board director of Urban Splash, a Manchester-based company with nearly 30 years success as innovators in regeneration and regrowth in industrial buildings and towns across the UK.
He was the main speaker at Huddersfield Civic Society’s annual joint lecture presented by Huddersfield Civic Society and Huddersfield University’s School of Art, Design and Architecture and the subject of his talk was After 2020, how do we continue to regenerate and attract people to places like Huddersfield?
Nathan asked why some towns and cities are successful in reinventing themselves but others are not and talked about what makes a building or a town centre somewhere that people want to come, live, work and enjoy.
He could give no simple answer to that big question for us in Huddersfield but suggested a combination of collaboration between stakeholders, deciding what we want to make Huddersfield ‘tick’, working with great designers, daring to be different and following a true public/private partnership. Above all, we should have a clear vision and strong leadership to ‘try and be like Huddersfield’.
Nathan said it was notable that successful regeneration looks to involve whole districts rather than individual buildings and that making a community involves multiple uses in the same area, rather than the traditional segregation of areas for residential, commercial and retail.
Urban Splash is a Manchester-based company with nearly 30 years success as innovators in regeneration and regrowth in industrial buildings and in towns across the UK.
Nathan showed examples from South Shields to Plymouth where former mills, factories, warehouses, docks and decayed housing had been reinvented as new urban communities where people want to live, work and relax.
Lister Mills in Bradford was one of several examples of the successful conversion of listed former Victorian mills and warehouses to accommodate modern homes with ground-floor commercial units. Park Hill flats in Sheffield provides an interesting example of conversion now underway of rundown 60-year-old public housing into a mixed-tenure estate made up of homes for market rent, private sale, shared ownership, student accommodation and social housing.
Not many years ago we might not have imagined that a successful businessman would now bemoan that there are no more mills or warehouses left to convert around Manchester city centre.
More than 100 Huddersfield Civic Society members, university staff, students and civic guests watched the lecture online via Zoom on Tuesday, March 2.
Professor Adrian Pitts from the University of Huddersfield led a short celebration to mark 100 years of architecture being taught in Huddersfield before the main speech.
Victoria Tower, Castle Hill picture by Vinny Tyrell
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