You are invited to our workshop where the environmental issues that contribute to making Huddersfield a town to live, work and study in will be considered.
When: May 18, 2019, 9.45am - 1.15pm
Where: Media Centre, Northumberland Street HD1 1PL
Alternatives to the car
Waste and litter
Cherishing our green spaces
Improving air quality
Speakers and feedback
Specialist speakers will briefly introduce each topic and outline the local context before opening up the debate to members. It will take place against a background of recent developments within Kirklees Council including the declaration of a “climate emergency” and the publication of a draft air quality strategy. As with the workshop in October we will collate the verbal and written comments (using post-its) into a report.
HCS invites members and guests to attend. The event is open to non-members. There is no delegate charge but we are asking for donations at registration to cover our costs: £2 (HCS members, students, unwaged) and £5 (non-members). This will include free hot drinks.
Timetable and refreshments
Coffee, tea and pastries will be available from 09.45 and Café Ollo will be open throughout the workshop for drinks and snacks. The programme starts at 10.15 and end at 13.15. It will include a short comfort break at about noon.
Location and parking
The Media Centre is less than 5 minutes walk from the railway station and 10 minutes from the bus station. On a Saturday there is plenty of half-day pay and display car parking close by (e.g. Bath Street off-street, Broadway on street). Limited free parking will be available in Eastwood & Partners car park, Northumberland Street – if you need to park close to the venue, please book a space through the form below.
Booking in advance.
Please reserve your place via the RSVP form below or leave a message on 01484 511045. We will also have an Eventbrite site for booking places.
The annual general meeting of Huddersfield Civic Society was held on Tuesday, April 2, 2019, in the Reception Room of Huddersfield Town Hall. Chairman: David Wyles.
1. Apologies for absence.
2. Minutes of the 2018 AGM (download link at the foot of this page).
3. Matters arising from the 2018 AGM minutes.
4. Chairman’s Report.
5. Treasurer's Report.
6. Election of Executive Committee.
Other Committee Members:
NOTE. Membership Co-ordinator (Ex officio): Laura West
7. Appointment of Independent Examiner.
8. Any other business.
The meeting was followed by Huddersfield in 50 Buildings, an illustrated talk by Chris Marsden.
The story of Huddersfield's rise to national prominence, told through some of its finest architecture, has been published.
Huddersfield in 50 Buildings is by Chris Marsden, a former chairman of Huddersfield Civic Society, with pictures by Andrew Cavaney. Chris will speak about his book at the HCS meeting on April 2.
Among structures celebrated are the railway station, the University's Oastler Building and, perhaps more controversially, Queensgate Market. Over 96 pages, Chris and Andrew take readers on a tour of historic buildings and modern architectural landmarks.
Chris says: "Introducing and exploring the history of the town through 50 significant buildings of all ages allows new perspectives on our townscape. Buildings that we may take for granted have histories that show us what we were.
"Their secret histories link buildings together through their builders, occupants, purposes and events. I’m asked daily about the town and its buildings I hope the book will answer many questions and provoke still more."
The book also includes archive photographs that have not been seen for decades or are published for the first time.
Chris's top five buildings:
Huddersfield in 50 Buildings, Amberley Publishing, 13.49.
The society is backing Kirklees Council in its bid for a share of the Government’s new £675 million Future High Streets fund.
The fund aims to help local leaders transform town centres by consolidating high street properties, improving transport and access and converting retail units into new homes.
The council says that it is looking to secure £25m to create 'a vibrant cultural quarter'. Proposals include a museum, a 'significantly enhanced' library and art gallery, and a new live music venue.
In a letter to Karl Battersby, Kirklees Strategic Director, Economy and Infrastructure, HCS chairman David Wyles says:
"We would entirely support your bid at a time when critical actions and partnership working are emerging to facilitate much needed investment in restoring confidence and vitality in our town centre."
"Besides being the major town in one of the country’s largest metropolitan areas, Huddersfield is distinguished in a number of ways that highlight the critical importance of support:
"It has one of the highest number of listed buildings in the country – higher than many better known ‘historic’ cities, but the Town Centre Conservation Area was included on on Historic England's Heritage at-Risk Register in 2018. Vacancies, both on ground and upper floors have increased dramatically as has the loss of commercial businesses to out-of-town locations.
"It has a distinguished cultural life including the Contemporary Music Festival, choral society, literary festival etc, but constraints have severely limited (and prevented) the opportunity to pursue joint ambitions for a focus for various cultural and social activities.
"It has a population catchment in retail terms of over 350,000 but is more vulnerable than many towns because of the close proximity to large, out-of -town centres including Meadowhall and Trafford centres.
"The university has grown in stature and provides huge opportunities of mutual benefit, curtailed to an extent by negative perceptions of the town.
"Beyond the above and more we, as you know, are keen to work as a ‘critical friend’ with your teams and have already applauded involvement in work to develop the masterplan, design framework and shopfront improvements.
"We in parallel will provide support and positive messages through our web site and initiatives such as our annual design awards, themed workshops, Discover Huddersfield trails and walks programme etc.
"I hope this provides some indication of why investment is currently so critical and once secured can begin to attract match funding for regeneration from the private sector. "
Three workshops organised by the Huddersfield Partnership have been attended by the society.
The Partnership gives town centre businesses a chance to outline their recommendations for the Business Improvement District (BID).
BIDs are part of the Government’s plan to encourage partnership working between a local authority and the business community. A BID is a defined area which can be developed in towns, cities and industrial estates.
Rate-paying businesses within the area decide on improvements to help transform it – and then vote to agree the investment. If supported by a majority of town centre businesses, the BID will provide income raised through a levy on the rateable value of property.
Depending on the final area chosen, the levy should raise between £346,000- £423,000 a year over a fixed period.
This would be on top of any funding allocated by Kirklees for town centre improvements, providing the businesses with a say in how they feel the money should be spent.
HCS committee member Peter Sargent attends BID meetings on behalf of the society.
He said: "We are at a crucial stage in preparing a draft plan indicating where funds will be prioritised.
"The plan will be launched in May and the ballot of property owners in June. The result of the ballot will be announced in July and, if there is majority support, work on improvements projects could start as early as October 2019."
Fancy an enlightening stroll? Here are some excellent ways to discover Huddersfield on foot.
The 2019 walks' programme produced by the Discover Huddersfield partnership is available by clicking the link below.
It includes 17 walks around the town with themes including architecture, radical history, music and Caribbean heritage.
Walks are also arranged around areas including Almondbury, Birkby and Highfields.
The first of the season is a literary walk (bookable), in conjunction with Huddersfield Literary Festival led by former HCS Chairman, Chris Marsden.
Walks cost £3 – although four walks during the Heritage Open Days in September are free of charge.
The leaflet will be available from local information points, including libraries, railway information kiosk, and the Piazza from early March.
The DH partnership, of which the HCS is a key member, also produces 16 free trails for those who want to discover more about the town.
A proposal to allocate funding for the improvement of shop fronts in the area around St George's Square was agreed this week by Kirklees Council's cabinet.
Huddersfield Civic Society applauds the decision – and we welcome your views on this important topic. An Huddersfield Examiner story on the subject may be found here.
Members have for many years raised concerns about the quality of signage and shop fronts especially along a section of John William Street. They have advocated design guidance to support those wishing to make changes
Civic Society Chairman, David Wyles, said; 'Our Design Awards have not only included a 'Best Shop Front' category but have highlighted poor and often illegal frontages of adjacent properties.
“We have lobbied for enforcement action on the worst offenders but recognise the carrot and stick approach proposed by Kirklees.'
Mr Wyles said that the society had organised workshops to look at issues affecting the town, particularly as towns across the country were having to make radical decisions concerning the future of their centres.
'Owners and tenants of shops and businesses need to appreciate that good design means good business. Visual improvements will not only attract more visitors but more investment' he said.
In the Huddersfield Civic Society Design Awards 2017, the best shop front award was won by Icestone Gelato on John William Street.
The judges said: 'The business is in complete contrast to the many poor shop fronts and often illegal signs along this section of John William Street.
This shop front illustrates how new owners are willing not only to invest in Huddersfield as part of an expanding company portfolio but have done so with brio and flair.
Icestone Gelato has replaced the former Toni and Guy hairdressing salon within a listed group of buildings that form an architecturally and historically important part of Huddersfield Town Centre Conservation Area.
The architect has created a contemporary and functional shop window, with a stylish interior, that immediately reflect the products on sale within.
Kirklees Council has been told it can proceed towards adoption of the Local Plan.
An independent examination by the Planning Inspectorate has concluded that with the recommended modifications the plan is sound and legally compliant.
Its adoption will be considered by councillors at an extraordinary Council meeting on Wednesday, February 27, 2019.
Details regarding the meeting will be published on the council’s website in due course. Meanwhile, the Inspector’s report can be viewed here.
David Wyles, chairman of Huddersfield Civic Society says: "After so many delays the approval of the Local Plan now appears inevitable.
"Since the 1960s, successive strategic plans have resulted in the creep of suburbia, loss of some of our precious green spaces with minimal impact on the provision of affordable homes, issues of sustainability and reduction of vehicular traffic.
"In commenting on the draft plan HCS highlighted the fact that no specific provision had been made for housing in and around Huddersfield town centre.
"While the plan's approval seems a fait accompli it is hoped that attention will be paid to the considerable opportunities for all types of residential provision, that provide more choice, sustainability and higher densities on such sites as around the former sports centre, riverside and swathes of semi derelict brownfield land and vacant property.
"Huddersfield, we believe, should follow the example being set by larger cities and reverse the derogatory image of the 'inner city' and bring back life and vitality to our town centre.
It is in the hands of Kirklees in partnership with the private sector to drive this opportunity forward."
To paraphrase Lord Kitchener, 'Your town needs you'.
That's the message being driven by HCS committee members in the light of recent shop closures and increasingly negative comments in the local papers.
Many of us are proud of Huddersfield and appreciate that it still retains a good selection of shops, restaurants, pubs and cultural activities.
We need to talk up the town, use its facilities and rebuild that sense of pride in its history and future prospects.
Our co-ordination with Kirklees, involvement with the Discover Huddersfield Partnership, Heritage Open Days, Business Improvent District bid and promoting initiatives such as the Design Awards, all help contribute to supporting a healthier, more vibrant town.
A walk around the town centre involving some of our committee members and senior council officials gave a chance to raise important issues.
David Wyles, Martin Kilburn and Chas Ball were joined by Kirklees Strategic Head of Economy and Infrastructure, Karl Battersby, and principal officers from Highways, Planning and Housing and a Kirklees enforcement officer.
Some of the priority actions and longer term opportunities were identified.
HCS Chairman David Wyles said: 'We are pleased that Kirklees officers are responding to our ideas and feeding them into the Town Centre Masterplan, the draft which we hope to be further consulted upon in the near future.'