CIVIC SOCIETY NEWS
CIVIC SOCIETY NEWS
There have been a number of initiatives to report on especially, I am
pleased to say, regarding consultation between Kirklees officers, myself and colleagues on the Executive Committee about developing projects within the Town Centre Blueprint area. Some of these have since been posted on the HCS website (www.huddersfieldcivicsociety.org.uk) but I’ll briefly summarise some of these consultations as well as other news.
Huddersfield Cultural Heart
Kirklees has commissioned two very experienced consultants to look anew at proposals covering the piazza, library/art gallery, Queensgate Market and related areas including the Town Hall and LBT.
A recent meeting with consultant IPW which has an extensive portfolio in advising on the development of stadia, music and cultural venues, provided us with an opportunity to input into their early thoughts.
Topics covered ranged from replacement of car parking facilities, improvements and possible extension to library/art gallery to provide improved visitor access and facilities, especially to the gallery, future use of market incorporating possible music venue (not of arena proportions), museum/display facilities (to compliment Tolson Museum) and children’s play facilities.
Street Improvement Programme
A meeting with highway and regeneration officers provided an update to future phases of street improvements, including New Street, Dundas Street and Macaulay Steet and, more recently, proposals for the Station Gateway, primarily Northumberland Street and John William Street. The latter proposals have now been put out for public consultation (see HCS website for details).
Work carried out to date has been of a high quality though we have queried some of the details regarding New Street, especially the sculptural pillars for climbing plants which HCS had previously raised objections to, particularly relating to future maintenance and revenue costs.
We also highlighted the poor level of upkeep and cleanliness of litter bins, utility boxes and other street furniture, in contrast to the overall standard of paving materials and the need for a clear policy for waste and disposal facilities given the increase in residential conversion proposals in the town centre.
Earlier in the week myself, Martin Kilburn and Sylvia Johnson had an equally useful meeting with Nigel Hunston, Kirklees Council’s Team Leader (Town Centre Conservation & Design). Nigel provided an insight into preparatory work to look at the future of this Grade 2 listed building and its immediate surrounds.
It was gratifying to know that Kirklees is working with two architectural practises with extensive experience in both reviving markets, including Leeds and Preston markets, and in projects which recognise the importance of preserving and enhancing the heritage elements of the building.
The meetings above demonstrate that, as a society, we are fortunate in participating at an early stage in the evolution of these projects. We may not always achieve all the suggestions we make but thank those officers who recognise the positive input that HCS can offer.
The last walk of the season on Sunday, October 24, is now fully booked. It indicates the popularity of these walks which this year were promoted through Eventbrite and limited to around 20 people.
The Discover Huddersfield team is now looking towards 2022 and the hope of working more closely with the Huddersfield BID (Business Improvement District) manager Sam Sharp.
Two new trail leaflets are in production – Textile Heritage and Limelight and Greasepaint Act 1, the latter written by the late Brian Haigh, vice-chair of Huddersfield Local History Society. These should be available by Christmas.
As mentioned in my last update you can also follow the trails or views them from the comfort of home by visiting the new web app: https://huddersfield.onfoot.guide/
Transpennine Rail Improvements
As mentioned previously, colleague Geoff Hughes has been working closely with Huddersfield Unlimited (HU) ahead of the public enquiry in November.
The HU/HCS Transport Group’s submission to the forthcoming public enquiry, scheduled at the Stadium from November 2 to about December 10 has now been submitted. It is effectively a reworking of July’s ‘Statement of Case’ recast as an oral statement, formally called a ‘Proof of Evidence’.
By Friday, October 29, we aim to make our formal request to take the Enquiry Inspector on a walk to show our points in person. In the meantime, HCS/HU’s goal is to catalyse constructive working between Network Rail, Kirklees Council and HD1, the owner of the railway warehouse.
There would be huge advantages in the three bodies working together on a formal basis. HCS/HU is also closely coordinating with Kirklees Cycling on station access issues, the Chair of which, Chas Ball, is also an HCS trustee.
Design Awards 2021
The time of year has come when I’d ask all our members to keep their eyes open for any project that they feel deserves to be nominated in the HCS annual Design Awards. You can find details of how to nominate projects on the HCS website (see news item below or go to the Design Awards page).
The closing date for nominations is December 31, 2021 for the following categories: Best New Build, Best Shop Front, Best Refurbishment, Best Residential Development, Best Commercial Development and Best Community Project.
There is no restriction on the number of nominations you enter and we are keen to help raise the profile of projects that have contributed to Huddersfield’s heritage and built environment.
Memories of our Square
A special website celebrating the history of St George’s Square is now up and running and people are urged to add their own memories to it ... and they could also feature in a book. Huddersfield Local History Society’s website Our Square (https://oursquare.huddersfieldhistory.org.uk/) is building up a history of the square, including photos.
For more information about the project see the HCS website ‘News’, email: firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit the Memories of Our Square Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/groups/3063308933946811
Comments have recently been submitted objecting to a proposal at King James’ School, Almondbury, to discharge a condition for the use of natural York stone facings on a proposed development which received permission some months ago. The building lies within Almondbury Conservation Area and within the curtilage of a listed building.
We feel that it is vital that Kirklees sets high standards for its own developments and this attempt to use artificial stone as a substitute undermines the council’s own policy ‘to preserve and enhance the quality and character of a conservation area.’
Submissions regarding other planning applications can be found on the HCS website.
Thursday, November 25 at 7pm: Professor Peter Roberts: Kirklees Climate Commission.
Peter was recently appointed chair of Kirklees Climate Commission and is Professor Emeritus of Sustainable Spatial Development at the School of Earth & Environment, University of Leeds.
Professor Roberts has vast experience of housing and regeneration, including the Board of the Housing Executive, the NHS Confederation Sustainable Development Group (Co-chair) and the Academy for Sustainable Communities (Chair).
His research and knowledge of climate change and the issues facing local authorities will provide the perfect forum for understanding what is undoubtably the most important issue facing our future.
Further details on venue and booking will be circulated soon.
From January 2022 membership subscriptions will be increasing from £10 for individual members and £25 for Corporate Members to £12.50 and £30 respectively. In checking with HCS Treasurer Michael Barron when subs were last increased he revealed it was in 2008!
Our costs have, unsurprisingly, increased since then, including payment for speakers, hall hire, membership of regional and national civic bodies, Design Award trophies, management of the HCS web site etc.
I hope this small increase will not come as a shock and hope that, not only will we be able to maintain our current membership levels but, in the next year, attract new individual and corporate members at a time when so much about the town is changing and our input, as you can read above, is having a direct influence on the shape of things to come.
Members will be formally contacted about these increases in coming weeks.
That’s all for now.
Victoria Tower, Castle Hill picture by Vinny Tyrell
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