An important role of the Society is to consider new planning applications. Kirklees Council consults us on major applications which cover the Huddersfield area.
Key changes often result from the Society’s comments and its efforts in preventing development which is felt to have a negative impact on the area’s heritage and environmental quality. Anyone can view and comment on planning applications via the Kirklees Council website. If you see any you think we should know about, please contact us in addition to sending your views to Kirklees Council.
Planning application 2023/93152(click on application number to go to full application on Kirklees planning website)
18 New North Parade, Huddersfield Listed building consent for erection of a digital billboard within a conservation area On behalf of Huddersfield Civic Society. These digital billboards are contrary to the aim of protecting and improving Huddersfield Town Centre Conservation Area. The application site is a Grade II listed building (listing number 1287151). The official listing details refer to pitched slate roof, moulded eaves cornices, the fenestrations and other decorate features of the building. Policy LP25 Advertisements and Shop Fronts identifies that the design of proposals should be consistent with the character of the existing buildings and consider any features of historic, architectural cultural or other special interest. Huddersfield Town Centre Conservation Area is already classed as at risk by Historic England which describes the area as ‘very bad’ and ‘deteriorating’. Such signs can only exacerbate this issue and totally contradict the council's recognition and efforts to visually improve perceptions of the town.
Planning application 2023/92891(click on application number to go to full application on Kirklees planning website)
Istanbul restaurant, 74-76 John William Street Illuminated sign on the outside of a listed building in a conservation area
There was no facility for responding to this particular application so an email was sent to the Planning Officer dealing with the application who responded, saying:
Applications for advertisement consent are not required to seek representations under current legislation and so we have not got a facility for receiving representations on those.
The proposal has been reviewed by the Conservation & Design Officer and we are seeking modifications to the scheme in due course to have greater regard for Policy LP17: ‘Retain and refurbish traditional shop fronts wherever practicable’ and to have a more traditional appearance for a Listed Building with Huddersfield Town Centre Conservation Area. Hopefully I shall receive an amended plan prior to the initial target date of 23rd November.
2023/92417(click on application number to go to full application on Kirklees planning website)
Erection of two storey welfare facility building (within a Conservation Area). Greenhead Park Depot, Trinity Street, Huddersfield, HD1 4DT. Huddersfield Civic Society is happy to support the principle of improved welfare facilities for staff working in, or based at, the depot in Greenhead Park, this being a Grade 2 registered park within the Greenhead Conservation Area. However, we have a number of concerns about these proposals.
We question whether a registered park in a conservation area is an appropriate location for new facilities which go beyond the provision of staff welfare, eg approx. 33sqm of office space, a 25sqm meeting/training room and a 33sqm canteen/kitchen.
The Heritage statement says: “Furthermore, the proposed location of the building is such that it will allow for flexible adaptation of the remaining depot site in the future without requiring any adaptations to the welfare facilities”.
We understand that there are already ample facilities of all types at Huddersfield Civic Centre, a nearby location with good parking and close to excellent public transport facilities.
The proposed two-storey, flat-roofed building is to be ‘finished with plastisol coated composite cladding to all elevations” – this looks a poor match to the high quality, traditional stone-built and tiled buildings close by in the conservation area.
Although the proposed location – at a high point in the park - is currently surrounded by shrubs and trees, should these no longer be present this building would be very visible. Accordingly, it would surely be better to plan a building here that is appropriate to the park setting.
We are disappointed to see the proposal is to install a new gas boiler when the existing depot area has ample space to install an electric heat pump as part of the necessary reconfiguration of utility services for any new building here. Given that considerable space within the existing depot area is used for vehicle parking, we would also expect to see plans for the contemporary installation of e-charging facilities for Parks Service vehicles based in, or visiting, this depot.
In summary, there is no evidence to explain the building size or materials, why it needs be two-storeys high (with no lift/disabled access upstairs), why non-welfare rooms cannot be multi-purpose and why there appear to be no plans towards meeting the energy requirements of Kirklees Council’s climate emergency, which was declared in 2019.
Surely this ought be a unique opportunity to achieve a simple and unique structure in sustainable materials, showcasing a model of clean energy use in this, Huddersfield’s premier open space?
2023/92363 and 64 (click on application number to go to full application on Kirklees planning website)
Ramsdens solicitors, 1 Hungerford Road, Edgerton. Listed building in prominent location in Edgerton Conservation Area.
2023/92363 granted on November 21, 2023
A new office car park between Halifax Road (A629) and this grand listed building would be very prominent and very detrimental to the setting of the house. It would also go against the Kirklees Council Conservation Area Management Plan for the Edgerton CA (we think it’s the only MP for a CA anywhere in Huddersfield) which emphatically does not allow new car parks in the grounds of buildings.
The submitted Climate Change statement is weak. Against every item of interest regarding sustainability there are the words ‘will be considered’. There isn’t even any cycle parking proposed, let alone a heat pump for the new building.
2023/92122 and 92123 (click on application number to go to full application on Kirklees planning website)
Ukrainian club, Edgerton. Conversion of existing garage into games room and associated alterations (Listed Building within a Conservation Area)
Comments made on behalf of Huddersfield Civic Society:
Huddersfield Civic Society support the proposed conversion. The building has superb frontage but much of the rear and interior is a post-1960. This planning application makes much better use of the old dilapidated former garage.
2023/91970 and 91971 (click on application number to go to full application on Kirklees planning website)
114A Fitzwilliam street, backing through to Portland Street.
Conversion of an existing hot food takeaway to become residential with new side extension. Listed building within a conservation area.
Comments made on behalf of Huddersfield Civic Society:
Huddersfield Civic Society supports the principle of residential conversion which would seem acceptable and would at least get rid of the signage on the current premises.
We do have some concerns over the size and design of the proposed extension. The listed building is ashlar faced with cornice and blocking course. There needs to be some further consideration to the details of the parapet and roof.
We would suggest adding windows on the (new) east side which is proposed to be a blank wall and out-of-keeping with other surrounding listed buildings and very visible in the view of both pedestrians and drivers at the nearby mini-roundabout junction of Fitzwilliam Street with the start of New North Road (A629).
Summary: good usage but design needs to be a high standard for a listed building at a visible location in a Conservation Area.
Application 2023/92057 (click on application number to go to full application on Kirklees planning website)
52 Birkby Lodge Road, Birkby. Erection of single storey front and side extensions with front and rear dormer within a conservation area.
Comments made on behalf of Huddersfield Civic Society: Huddersfield Civic Society notes the applicant proposes sizeable side and rear extensions However, the ground plan shows the building to be well set back from the road. We think it may look odd from the little community wildlife space behind but it doesn’t affect the setting of the nearby listed Birkby Lodge mansion.
We don’t object in planning terms, although we would have concerns if the property is going to be used for short term rental as there are quite a lot of existing objections to how Birkby Lodge is being used at the moment and noting that there are a number of other residential properties close by.
HCS concern over council's lack of consultation on major road improvement scheme
Huddersfield Civic Society member Geoff Hughes has submitted this letter of concern to Kirklees planning over revised plans for the A629 Halifax Road scheme in Huddersfield.
I write on behalf of Huddersfield Civic Society to object to the lack of publicity and short timescale for this new 'consultation' on a proposed major set of changes along the route of the A629 which shows 'end consultation' date of 4 August 2023. The Society subscribes to the weekly Kirklees Council planning newsletter and also made a substantive comment to the original (2021) consultation, yet has only found out - by accident - today that major changes have been proposed with c30 new documents entered since June 2023 against this application and c100 now showing as 'superceded'. We note that one controversial part of the original scheme - at the A629/Blacker Road junction - looks to have been removed, thus representing a substantive change to the scope of the original consultation. We also note that what should be the linked 'Active Travel' scheme (A629 Phase 4) looks to be still 'paused' with no decision yet reached on any of its various proposals. Whether or not Huddersfield Civic Society chooses to object to this revised A629 Phase 5 scheme, the Society urgently asks for:
1) A substantial extension to the consultation end date
2) Proper announcement publicity to ensure notification of the revised proposals to all affected parties, including local residents and the c300 who commented on the previous version of the scheme. Thank you, Geoff Hughes (on behalf of Huddersfield Civic Society)
Demolition of existing side extension and erection of replacement single storey side and rear extensions with associated alterations of Grade II listed building (within a Conservation Area).
Huddersfield Civic Society note the applications but would ask that a proper heritage statement be submitted. The brief opinion given is limited. The plans make quite substantive changes to what is a listed building with substantive changes including an oddly-shaped ground-floor extension which upsets the shape and profile of the property. Hopefully this level of HIA for listed buildings does not become normalised going forward.
Application 2023/90964 (click on application number to go to full application on Kirklees planning website)
Application to improve the window and door construction along with new signage at Grillish takeaway, 27 Cross Church Street, Huddersfield town centre.
Huddersfield Civic Society supports this application as a notable improvement to an area in need of upgrading. This should create an improvement to an otherwise untidy appearance.
It is hoped these improvements will stimulate others along Cross Church Street to follow suit given the low standard of frontage along this street and the negative perception these create.
Image of the proposed new look George Hotel
Application Number 2023/90112(click on number to go to full application on Kirklees planning website)
Listed Building Consent for partial demolition of Listed Building to facilitate refurbishment and extension of the George Hotel to form 90+ room hotel.
Granted by Kirklees Council on September 12, 2023
As a result of action by Huddersfield Civic Society committee member Geoff Hughes the Victorian Society – the national body specialising in Victorian age buildings – was invited by Kirklees Council to comment on plans for partial demolition of, and extensions to, the George Hotel.
The Victorian Society is scathing of aspects of the council’s proposals, saying its principal concerns to be “the lack of a convincing justification for the demolition and the proposed extension’s inappropriate design for a very prominent and historically significant location beside the Grade I Listed Huddersfield station."
The Society’s response says the proposed hotel extension would be “visually jarring and greatly distract from the carefully executed classical design of the hotel and neighbouring heritage assets.”
It continues: “It is surprising that the design of this extension is so poor and low quality. The massing and design of the proposed extension would cause substantial harm to this heritage asset and less than substantial harm to the Huddersfield Town Centre Conservation Area.”
The Victorian Society suggests that alternative options exist for increasing the number of bedrooms at the hotel and comments that, given the “huge amount of local authority and Historic England funds spent on conservation works to this building it seems bizarre that this scheme seeks to demolish and façade large parts of a heritage asset both Historic England and the local authority have spent money on to conserve.”
The Kirklees Council planning website states that the council is due to make a decision on applications regarding the George Hotel in the next month.
Read the full letter from The Victorian Society below.
Image of what new extension facing the Railway Station will look like on The George Hotel
Application Number 2023/90112(click on number to go to full application on Kirklees planning website)
Listed Building Consent for partial demolition of Listed Building to facilitate refurbishment and extension of the George Hotel to form 90+ room hotel.
Comments made on behalf of Huddersfield Civic Society.
The Civic Society supports the refurbishment and extension of this Grade 2 listed building that constitutes a key feature in the outstanding historic and architectural importance of St George’s Square.
However, there appears to be poor justification for the demolition of some of the later adaptations within the original 1850 building. While the society would not necessarily object to their demolition it is felt that they are integral to the building’s story and there must be a clear demonstration why these structures cannot be adapted.
Similar issues have occurred in relation to other listed buildings (eg the Grade 2 former Infirmary off New North Road) when adjoining buildings or some internal features are considered to be historically integral to the whole.
The society recognises and supports the preservation of the existing building and appreciates the detail and consideration that has been taken over this. However, there are concerns regarding the proposed extensions to the building, especially in relation to Block B (facing the railway station) and Block C (fronting onto John William Street).
The Square and its buildings were constructed specifically to impress those who alighted from trains to visit the town and carry out their business. The critical importance of the proposed extensions is that they retain the visual impact of the square and enhance the collective importance of individual components. The society is unsure whether the proposed extensions reflect this special and unique quality.
The society supports the contemporary nature of the extensions and the functional requirements in creating a 90+ bed hotel. Concerns, therefore, are focussed on the rhythm, articulation and delineation of the elevations in relation to the retained part of the building and the relationship of these extensions to the architectural ‘language’ of the predominantly neo-classical Italianate architecture of the square as a whole.
The Heritage Statement in assessing the impact of the proposed design states as a key principle the ‘introduction of new elements which make reference to the historical context of the site’ and the form and massing of the extension appropriate to its location.
In this context there appears to be a relatively limited relationship between the key elevations of Block B and C with the special architectural significance of both the original building and the square. The society would suggest that, as illustrated in the drawings and visuals, the extensions would not contribute significantly to this special building and its setting.
In an attempt to articulate these concerns the society would request further consideration of the following:
Block B: This will be highly visible from the Grade 1 listed station. In our opinion it requires further design resolution, particularly the left side of this extension which loses the balance and references to the historic/architectural context of its surrounds. Every area of the building has been justified apart from this end corner. Page 25 (Visual 3) of the Design and Access Statement shows the view from coming out of the train station – where block A meets Block B. This is acceptable, but the transition to the corner is not fully considered, lacks the rhythm and permanence of its Italianate neighbours and requires re-modelling.
Block C: The John William Street elevation to this extended wing lacks the strength and formality of the buildings it faces. It is felt that some consideration should be given to reinforcing this relationship. Greater emphasis should be given to the architectural and historic context of adjacent buildings perhaps by the application of subtle detailing as indicated below. Connection to the relative formality of the existing wing that it adjoins could perhaps be achieved by replicating the size of openings of the bay to include those within the lightwell on the chamfered corner and continuation of horizontal elements, particular in the form of a modern cornice above the second-floor level and possibly string courses between floors. These would help strengthen massing and help acknowledge associations with the neo -classical features of adjacent mid-C19 buildings plus help reduce the visual impact of the upper floors with their metal cladded frontages.
Crown House in Huddersfield. Photo from Google Street View.
Application number: 2022/62/93932/W (click on number to go to full application on Kirklees planning website) Crown House, 12, Southgate, Huddersfield, HD1 1DE
Huddersfield Civic Society has welcomed plans to turn one of Huddersfield’s landmark buildings into student accommodation.
The former tax office Crown House has been empty for many years and now company Abode Manchester 2 Ltd want to transform it into 198 studio apartments with ancillary concierge and communal facilities including an open plan lounge, coffee bar and gym at ground floor, with laundry, car parking, cycle store, parcel store and plant rooms at basement level and associated works including the installation of new cladding and windows to the elevations with a new roof garden atop the building. Comments made on behalf of Huddersfield Civic Society
Huddersfield Civic Society supports the proposed conversion of Crown House for student accommodation, particularly with its location between the main university and the proposed health campus.
However, we note a number of areas of concern:
The applicant should provide a more detailed statement about potential reduction of energy usage and how the alterations support that.
Although provision is made to allocate a bin store we have concerns about how the waste/recycling is collected from the 198 flats as well as questioning the physical size of the bin store. Will there be a collection system on each floor for the 18 residents on that floor?
In line with Active Travel arrangements we would have expected a cycle route/link to support cycle use, along with secure bike storage within the building for a larger number of its residents.
Application number: 2023/90052 (click on number to go to full application on Kirklees planning website)
Wood Lane, Newsome, HD4 6PH. Proposed 5G telecoms installation: H3G 15m street pole and additional equipment cabinets
This application was refused on February 24, 2023
Comments made on behalf of Huddersfield Civic Society.
The Civic Society concurs with the comments made by the Kirklees Conservation and Design Officer. The siting of the pole is directly in front of the Grade 2* Old Longley Hall and related Grade 2 buildings. The hall is not only one of the most architecturally important buildings within Huddersfield but, arguably, a building that represents the most important historic link with the Ramsden family in their associations with the development of the town.
Siting of the pole would be detrimental to the setting of the hall and demonstrate insensitivity in recognising the importance of this group of buildings. An alternative site should be identified.
17-33a John William Street, Huddersfield. Listed Building Consent for reinstatement, refurbishment and repair of 6 shops and signage.
This application was granted on March 22, 2023
Comments made on behalf of Huddersfield Civic Society with regard to applications 2022/93964 & 2022/93895.
The Civic Society welcomes this long overdue improvement to shop frontages along John William Street and hopes the work will encourage other applications of a similar standard to be submitted and implemented. The society also welcomes repairs to previously unauthorised work such as the removal of paint on quoins (masonry blocks at the corner of a wall) at the entrance to Byram Court.
Kirklees Cultural Heart will radically transform part of Huddersfield town centre
KIRKLEES CULTURAL HEART PLANNING APPLICATION (2022/93248)
The proposed development introduces welcome, visitor focused, facilities with the stated objective of drawing in many new visitors to reinvigorate the town centre. Clearly, this must deliver a substantial increase in visitor traffic, or the KCH project will fail. The application also indicates the creation of jobs for c300 FTE employees. What is less clear, is how this application demonstrates the conclusion that such a scheme will provide the outcome of stimulating the adjacent areas within the town centre.
Demolition of Retail Units on King Street
HCS is concerned that proposals show a park entrance from King Street requiring demolition of both Boots and WH Smiths retail units. This would have a detrimental effect on the retail offer and the status of King Street as a prominent and important street for shopping. Boots serves as an important anchor store in an area that commands some of the highest footfall in the town centre.
The National Planning Policy Framework ‘Building a strong, competitive economy’ (Chapter 6) states, ‘Planning policies and decisions should help create the conditions in which businesses can invest, expand and adapt. Significant weight should be placed on the need to support economic growth and productivity, taking into account both local business needs and wider opportunities for development.’ Chapter 7’. Ensuring the vitality of town centres’ refers to the provision of positive strategies for town centres and primary shopping areas. The proposed demolition ignores the importance of retaining these key elements, which help sustain the economic value of retailing, and provide and safeguard employment opportunities. It should be noted that there is some indication to suggest local residents are increasingly visiting Halifax, partly as a result of the closure of M&S in Huddersfield. Further closures could exacerbate this loss.
HCS Challenge: How this loss is both justified and/or being addressed by discussions on alternative premises to retain these key retailers?
Although HCS welcomes the indication that the Art Gallery facades, along Queen Street, are to be constructed of stone (Design and Access Statement 6.5.1) HCS Request: A specific condition be placed on those elevations that face the fine, late Georgian buildings along Queen Street to ensure the use of local York sandstone in an appropriate form.
2.2Venue and MSCP Whilst HCS recognise the challenge in incorporating a large events venue and car park into one building, there remain concerns regarding its monolithic appearance in relation to views from further afield (say from the direction of Castle Hill), and in relationship to St. Paul’s and the Ramsden Buildings on the University Campus. Elevations, although incorporating pleats, ribbing, folds and other devices remain somewhat bland.
HCS Comment: The use of ceramic facings may provide a means to enliven what might otherwise come over as ‘corporate beige’, as would incorporation of public art (see point 2.4 below). Concern remains about the longevity of the ‘subdued perforated metal’ on the ground floor area of the car park onto Queensgate.
The ‘solid and robust’ (D&A Statement 4.11) wall of the food hall, beneath the Fritz Stellar panels, shows it to be ‘pierced’ by new openings. It is important that the dimensions and framing of these openings do not detract from the visual qualities of the panels. Additionally, the existing steps leading down to the Ring Rd, were refurbished a few years ago to preserve the detailing of the original design.
HCS Request: Clarification be provided that the Fritz Stellar features, stairs etc are to be retained and that the new openings do not have an adverse impact on the listed structures.
2.4 Percent for Art The Heritage Impact Assessment identifies the importance of urban artwork, and sculptural features, stating that ‘Huddersfield has a tradition of public art’. For example, ‘The Appraisal of Significance’ for the Queensgate Market building states, ‘The sculpture ‘Commerce’ holds architectural and aesthetic significance. It is an important example of mid-century public art procured as part of a commercial development.’ Furthermore, the HIA ‘Assessment of Setting – Public artwork’ states, ‘The pre-eminence of artworks within the site is an extension of this wider civic approach that embraces cultural expression through public art.’
HCS Request: To enhance the ‘Cultural Heart’ any approval should include a requirement for a ‘1 Percent for Art Scheme’ which would require 1% of the cost of any publicly funded capital, infrastructural and building development to be allocated to the commissioning of appropriate artwork, to be incorporated into external facades and spaces within the scheme.
3.1 Lack of Data
Overall visitor numbers have not been supplied for any of the proposed facilities within the development. A rate payer funded project, such as this, should not be considered for approval without a supporting business plan demonstrating the visitor numbers required to support financial viability of the development.
HCS Strong Objection: Without key evidence of viability, Councillors do not have sufficient evidence to decide on approval of the plans and/or its related spend. The recent interest rate changes, inflation in material costs and reduced appetite for risk (both for developers and investors) has increased the risks associate with KCH.
Whilst reference is made to the demolition of the former Alfred St Multi Storey Car Park (MSCP), which eliminates 588 parking spaces, no proposition has been included on how such ‘lost’ parking is to be replaced. This former car park stood, within the development site, served visitors for the adjacent 1200 seat Town Hall events, the c300 seat adjacent LB Theatre events, unquantifiable University events (including graduation ceremonies) and general town centre shopping.
HCS Strong Objection: The application does not incorporate parking capacity sufficient to address the parking requirement (beyond the boundary of the proposed development) previously served by the Alfred St MSCP demolished to create the current development area. This oversight is inappropriate for a local Authority, focused on the provision of parking facilities to its residents, and contrary to NPPF 93(c).
3.2 Travel Plan:
The availability of sustainable travel access and justification of parking provision, for the entire KCH, is supported by an aspirational travel plan aimed at 4 key objectives:
Encouraging a mode shift to sustainable walking, cycling and public transport
Increase staff awareness of enviro and healthy travel
Encouraging a reduction in car dependency (particularly 1-person journeys)
Reduced operational enviro independence of the site.
3.3 HCS comments, drawn from the Travel Plan and supporting assessments: The transport assessment focuses on staff and visitors travelling by sustainable means from within 5km of the venue. Clearly, those arriving in Huddersfield, via train or bus, will also fall within this hinterland. However, based on statistics within the travel assessment, these journeys will account for c15%.
HCS Comment: By their very nature, such journeys will represent multi-modal transport (which may/may not be timetabled to accommodate late finishes, associate with many of the proposed facilities).
We note the parking requirement for council staff, working within the public buildings, is to be met via existing council employment-based transport provision.
The application provides no supporting data around the adequacy of the proposed 350-space car park (never mind the needs previously served by the now demolished MSCP). The simple application of a calculator provides a fair clue. A 2200 indoor event venue, a 3000 outdoor event space, a large food market venue (within the listed Market Hall), separate new buildings accommodating a new Museum (within the former library), a new Art Gallery and a new Library, must clearly generate a need for many more parking spaces if they are to have any chance of being financially viable.
Unfortunately, the travel plan makes no comment on the parking needs of staff/visitors expected to travel by car. With 80% of visitors arriving by car, the financial viability of this £250m project relies upon sufficient, practical provision for motorists. This revolves around the provision of adequate parking, with ease of access and egress, conveniently located.
HCS Strong Objection: No acceptable evidence has been provided of the likely number of parking spaces required by visitors to the proposed development and surrounding area. The parking provision, proposed within the KCH development, appears wholly inadequate for the level of demand required to serve the facilities within the development. This is contrary to NPPF 107.
3.4 Other factors:
Defined area of development: It is notable, that the Town Hall, with its concert hall, and the LB Theatre have been ‘left out’ of the footprint for the Cultural Heart of Huddersfield. Classical, Orchestral, and Choral music have been important elements of the culture of Huddersfield for >200yrs providing an obvious linkage.
HCS Comment: When the parking requirements of the ‘entire’ cultural attractions are considered, the inadequacy of the proposed parking provision becomes clear.
Electric Charging Provision: The current proposals for electric charge points, within the proposed car park, amount to 20% and are welcome. We also understand that the proposal incorporates the principle of converting the car park to 100% electric parking spaces over time. Given the latest standards (PAS1899:2022 Accessible Electric Vehicle Charging), if such a policy were to be adopted, then the size of such spaces would mean that the current 350 spaces would be reduced to approximately 200 spaces. Additionally, the dimensions of parking spaces, used to determine the 350space capacity, is unclear. Many of Huddersfield’s current car parks (eg Bus Station) have dimensions too small to accommodate family vehicles.
Clarity is required on the chargepoint strategy adopted for the parking of both cars and commercial vehicles (delivery vehicles and event vehicles). The rating of chargepoints, the assumptions on dwell-times to support both the site and the town centre more generally, should be closely reviewed to ensure they will meet future demand.
HCS Comment: Reassurance should be obtained that the site’s electrical substation will support 100% EV charging and other commercial EVs with a larger demand. Clearly, as further provision for electric points grows, this would erode the adequacy of planned visitor parking for the various cultural venues.
Kingsgate Provision: We understand the Kingsgate car park (650 parking places) may in the future open longer into the evening. However, with the planned opening of a cinema complex, there can be no guarantee of available surplus parking.
3.5 Ease of Access & Egress:
The application eliminates both former car park access routes into/out of the site, being under the Ring Rd and the entry/exit on Alfred St. Instead, the proposed access will be via a single entry/exit point directly on to the Ring Rd via a traffic light-controlled junction. The ENTRY caters for traffic travelling in both directions of the ring road. However, the EXIT only caters for traffic leaving by turning left, anti-clockwise on the Ring Rd. This leads to several serious issues detail in the attached appendix.
3.6 Car Park Flow: The proposed parking is based on a standard one-way, internal flow through the car park which means:
Anyone entering the car park (to find it full) will have to drive/queue all the way through the car park (and back out), on to the Ring Rd to then face:
going around the Ring Rd to try again, or
going round the ‘Shorehead’ roundabout (through 3 sets of traffic lights) and queuing again, or
finding alternate parking.
Where the flow of traffic, attempting to leave the car park, becomes restricted (due to the traffic lights on exit – or rush hour traffic on the ring road) traffic queuing to leave the car park will block the flow of vehicles into and through the car park. This will create a knock-on restriction for visitors wanting to enter the car park (from either direction). Once greater than 10 cars are queued, this will start to block 3rd party Ring Rd traffic.
The level of frustration built by the above issues will mean visitors (and future performers) will think twice before returning to the event facilities and seriously impact upon the viability of KCH!
HCS Strong Objection: Operation of the car park via a single entry onto the Ring Rd is unworkable, unsafe and will discourage visitors. The former car park entry/exit under the Ring Rd should not be eliminated. It should be re-introduced as part of the car park solution to provide more practical access during peak times. This mechanism has the advantage of already being a proven solution.
Landscape & Public Realm Strategy:
4.1 General Design:
HCS welcome the proposed high quality public realm, in the area currently occupied by the Piazza through to Peel Street and Alfred Street. In particular:
Significant new trees, shrubs, grass and flower planting of beauty and size appropriate to the site, with specifically named plant species of interest.
A range of paths from the wide and direct to the narrow and sinuous
The provision of cycle parking at the perimeter
Spill-over seating for new venue/catering establishments
Utility services provided underground to service events in ‘The Square’.
HCS Recommend: The above features are specified within approval conditions which cannot be discharged by provision of ‘general’ funding. Recent planning experience has demonstrated this rarely delivers the original proposal.
4.2 Play Provision: Whilst we are delighted by the introduction of play spaces into Huddersfield town centre, we note that ‘play’ activities are illustrated only for children.
HCS Suggest: The approved scheme could include exercise facilities for adults, as included in parks elsewhere and as covered in previous Kirklees Council health/exercise consultations. We would also recommend exercise and play facilities are concentrated into one side of the public realm, leaving other areas as quieter spaces for rest, relaxation, and socialising (see later).
4.3 Provision for Skateboarding: The provision of a ‘skate wall’ alongside a pedestrian route appears ill advised. This type of activity requires a large, segregated area available (for instance in the skatepark at Greenhead Park). The proposed small-scale linear provision, within a busy pedestrian area, is likely to fail to attract many skaters. Where it does, skateboarders will introduce health and safety risks for themselves and seated/mobile pedestrians (including small children, the elderly, and people with disabilities). There will also be the associated noise and risk of graffiti in this area, as often the case in skateboarding areas. How will the wall be protected against graffiti and other damage from skateboards?
HCS Strong Objection: This feature should be eliminated from the scheme design.
4.4 Issues associated with Openness:
The area appears to be entirely open plan at present, which conceptually is very attractive. How is this approach reconciled with stated objectives including:
Creation of a safe environment for younger children (unless all are extremely well supervised by their carer’s). Even with a specific area for younger children’s play, how will safeguarding be addressed?
Are dogs to be allowed throughout the area? If not, how will this be clear to the public and achieved? If they are, this is inconsistent with, and inappropriate for, open play areas.
We understand cyclists are to be excluded from the area. If cyclists are not permitted, then what will be in place to stop them? How will they be expected to move across the Cultural Quarter? How will they access cycle parking when there is none available at the point of entry. This feels exclusive and not in the spirit of the aims and objectives of the KCH.
Regarding general security concerns in the evenings and at night-time. It is assumed this will be addressed by CCTV monitoring. However, no detail appears to have been provided.
There appears to be no clear proposal about how this space will be used by “all”. Whilst it is commendable ‘to provide’ for all ages, this must also ‘work to suit’ all ages, from safety and noise concerns etc? There also appears to be no clear proposal on how areas for quiet reflection, for children’s play and for other activities will be delineated.
HCS Recommend: Should this area go ahead as proposed, a planning condition is incorporated requiring provision of an acceptable operational plan detailing how it will be managed (see below) and policed.
4.5 Future Maintenance:
HCS see attractive public realm as essential for the success of this development, whether visiting a venue, walking through the town centre or simply enjoying the surroundings. Conversely, failure to construct, and adequately fund the management and maintenance of, this area will lead to intended audiences shunning the venues and undermine the operational businesses.
The level of landscape maintenance across the KCH, requires an order of magnitude far higher than currently applied to existing town centre public spaces (such as the Piazza, St John’s Gardens and St George’s Square). A major contributor to the success of the ‘Hepworth Garden’ in Wakefield, has been the provision of a dedicated professional gardener!
HCS Recommend: An approval condition, requiring the provision of some form of ‘capital’ funding from the scheme, to underwrite maintenance costs of the Cultural Heart Public Realm (over a period of, say, 25 years).
4.6 ‘The Square’ Outdoor Events: As repeatedly mentioned during consultations, HCS remain concerned that the proposed design does not allow safe operation of pop-up, ticketed events for up to 3,000 people. We are concerned that:
Temporary barriers, in this location, will be unsightly and impractical for police to prevent attempts at gate crashing and simultaneous safe exit.
The limited temporary toilet facilities, single access point and queueing system via the gardens are inadequate. The result will be the trashing of the ‘feature’ public realm on a regular basis.
The recommendations, within the accompanying Arup travel plan (requiring up to 2000 car parking spaces for such an event), cannot be catered for within the parking provided.
The facility needs to ensure that electricity connections are appropriate for the activities to avoid the requirement for diesel generators. For this to be achieved there will need to be consideration of load capacity requirements and the cost benefit analysis of noise and pollution of other types of temporary energy generation. These should be incorporated into the square at appropriate access points. To achieve this, some idea of how the site will work is required.
We have seen no innovative solutions for incorporating waste management facilities into the site and these need to be included (not just bins), including segregated recycling, and segregated waste. How is food hall waste to be managed once it has been removed from the food hall?
HCS Strong Objection: This proposal should not be approved in its current form. Any approval should be conditional upon a radical reduction in the maximum size of events in this space. A detailed waste management plan is required.
4.7 Pedestrian Access: Whilst we welcome the continuation of both Ramsden Street and Princess Street through the site, we cannot see nearby access routes for those that cannot negotiate the 5m+ new staircase to Queensgate at the end of both routes. During consultations a 24hr lift was proposed at the junction of Queen St and Queens Street South, to provide an alternative to the stairs. This does not appear to feature in current drawings.
HCS Objection: The absence of a lift at this location, to assist people with disabilities and cycle users unable to negotiate the provided cycle ramps (due to infirmity or other reason) will prevent many from being able to travel directly between the University and the KCH.
We are particularly concerned that the proposed new staircase, between the food hall and events venue, leads down to a narrow pavement at an intended new pedestrian crossing of the Ring Rd. This short stretch of pavement (sandwiched between the car park entrance/exit and sections of cycleway running at right angles to the intended passenger flow to/from the university) will be dangerous.
HCS Strong Objection: The proposed multi-modal access introduces a high-level of risk. Serious consideration should be given to a pedestrian bridge, over the Ring Rd, to mitigate the risk of injury, accidents and reduce disruption to traffic. Careful design could create a crossing without introducing additional steps and be a feature of a gateway from university to town centre.
4.8 Information & Features:
It is assumed there will be information boards on the facilities and features within the public realm, and on how the area is to be interpreted. Without this, how will visitors appreciate:
The location of facilities?
The development reflects the moorland textures, dramatic terrain, and incidental rock formations which FCB have used?
Any bespoke pieces of art or sculpture to enhance the space and link the Museum and new Art Gallery?
4.9 Provision for Cycles: The current level of cycle storage, around the perimeter of the site, is insufficient to accommodate the desired increase in cycle usage. A restriction in availability will lead to cycles being ridden through the public realm and/or locked to trees and infrastructure.
Provision for cyclists, in terms of dry and safe storage, only appears to have been considered a requirement for staff. If Kirklees wish to encourage active travel, appropriate facilities need to provide for cyclists, including but not limited to, weatherproof secure cycle storage (with electric charging facilities), lockers for storing helmets, jackets, bags, etc. and possibly shower facilities for those making KCH a destination from further afield.
HCS Recommend: Clear proposals that ‘design in’ features (eg curves, bumps, changes in surfaces - included in recent urban landscape designs in other towns), to actively dissuade cyclists, e-scooter riders and other non-pedestrians from travelling through the site.
HCS Strongly Objects: The provision of secure (ie lockable and enclosed) visitor cycle parking around the perimeter of KCH is woefully inadequate. Why, for example, are secure cycle lockers not being built into the level changes in perimeter walling structures? Such parking ought to be chargeable, and thereby self-financing.
Appendix : Car Park Access/Exit Issues:
Mass arrivals: (at the start of events) will mean incoming traffic approaching the car park from 2 directions controlled by separate sets of lights. Such a proposal introduces the risk of:
Visitor’s vehicles travelling clockwise, unable to enter the car park (due to slow vehicles parking), entering the junction and obstructing 3rd party traffic travelling anticlockwise on the Ring Rd.
Non-Visitor vehicles travelling clockwise, may be inhibited from circulating around the ring road due to vehicles crossing lanes to gain access to the car park. This provides a danger of accidents and increasing local pollution.
Visitor’s vehicles waiting to gain entry from the clockwise side of the Ring Rd, queuing back into the flow of 3rd party traffic travelling clockwise on the Ring Rd will obstruct the flow. This may also create added restrictions on the already busy Shorehead roundabout.
Where long visitor queues develop clockwise, visitors may well opt to drive further round the ring road and attempt U-turns either via Outcote Bank or at the junction with Market St triggering further disruption of Ring Rd traffic.
Visitor’s vehicles travelling anticlockwise on the Ring Rd queuing back into 3rd party traffic flowing anticlockwise on the Ring Rd triggering disruption to traffic.
Mass departures: (at the end of events) will mean ALL outgoing traffic leaving the car park travelling anticlockwise (irrespective of their intended direction of travel). Such a proposal introduces the risk of:
Car park traffic ’filling’ the 2 anticlockwise lanes, blocking the 3rd party anticlockwise traffic flow of the Ring Rd (particularly at times of busy traffic levels).
Vehicles leaving the car park (wishing to travel clockwise) must first travel anticlockwise to the ‘Shorehead’ roundabout going all the way round (through 3 sets of lights) and then back up the Ring Rd in the clockwise direction. This will significantly snarl Ring Rd traffic flows.
This same entry/exit point is planned to address the exit of delivery vehicles from the underground service area as well as, pedestrian and cycle routes crossing the entry and exit point. Such a proposal introduces the potential for delays and disagreements where drivers, pedestrians and cyclists become frustrated as vehicles attempt to enter/exit and cross. What considerations of LTN/20 been considered for affective segregation of the different modes of movement?
Based on the above analysis operation of the proposed MSCP will be impractical, obstruct non car park traffic and introduce risks of injury and accidents at the entry/exit point.
Application 2022/93077refused on January 31, 2023 Application 2022/93083 refused on February 1, 2023 Application 2022/93082 refused on February 3, 2023 Application 2022/93086 refused on February 9, 2023 Application 2022/93074 refused on February 13, 2023
Several digital display screens in Huddersfield town centre
Huddersfield Civic Society is vehemently opposed to planning applications to site digital display screens in several Huddersfield town centre locations.
The six applications have all been made by British Telecom.
In their objection HCS states: “These display units are not only contrary to the aim of protecting and improving Huddersfield town centre Conservation Area, but add unnecessary clutter to the street scene. “At a time when improvements are being made to improve hard landscaping with appropriate materials, as has taken place along Dundas Street, Half Moon Street, St George’s Street etc and plans are underway in connection with the town centre blueprint, such units would be both unsightly and inappropriate.
“Huddersfield Town Centre Conservation Area is already classed as at risk by Historic England which describes the area as ‘very bad’ and ‘deteriorating’. Such signs can only exacerbate this issue and totally contradict the council's recognition and efforts to visually improve perceptions of the town.
“These applications must be refused as part of a developing programme to eliminate clutter from the high street.”
In one of the applications British Telecom has applied to site two digital 75-inch LCD display screens on the footpath opposite 43 Westgate in Huddersfield town centre.
The pre-application advice from Kirklees for this states: “Wholly unacceptable due to harm to the significance of the Huddersfield Town Centre Conservation Area and surrounding listed buildings at this important gateway site for which there has been significant public realm improvements in the very recent past.
“The siting appears to be in a bus lay-by provided as part of this public realm initiative. Any re-siting would result in unnecessary clutter which the recent works to public realm have sought to remove. The harm would include that to the siting of the nearby Grade I listed Huddersfield Railway Station and Grade II listed 12,14,16,18,20 St. George’s Square.”
Another one is for two digital 75-inch LCD display screen for the footpath opposite numbers 2 and 4 Ramsden Street.
The pre-application advice for this one states: “Adverse impact on setting of listed town hall and the adjacent Prudential Assurance Buildings, amongst other listed buildings and harm to the significance of the Huddersfield Town Centre Conservation Area. Would result in unnecessary clutter in the wider public realm.
“There is already a two-sided advertisement display on the other side of the road. A recent proposal to upgrade this to a digital display was refused advertisement consent.”
Other applications include screens on a footpath outside the Piazza Shopping Centre on King Street; footpath next to 1 New Street close to the historic Market Place and the listed Market Cross; next to 106 New Street; next to 10 Trinity Street.
The pre-application advice for the Trinity Street one states: “Wholly unacceptable on the grounds of public safety. This footway forms an important route for students from Greenhead College to and from the town centre, including to the bus station. This unit would unacceptably reduce the width of the public footway.”
Planning Application: 2022/91822 Application by Prospect Estates Ltd, the owner of the Clayton Fields site off Halifax Road, Edgerton, be let off £362,000 of Section 106 payments to Kirklees Council
Huddersfield Civic Society has strongly objected to an application by Prospect Estates Ltd, the owner of the Clayton Fields site off Halifax Road, Edgerton, be let off £362,000 of payments to Kirklees Council in return for permission to build 41 houses on that site. The money would go towards affordable housing, education and local transport. The developer claims to have incurred over £400,000 of unanticipated costs in managing the site since 2015 and sees this as reason to be let off. We see no evidence for site management having taken place, dispute the calculation of the claimed costs and object to the principle that a developer can renege on its commitments because of its own actions, or inactions, after gaining planning permission. That agreement was reached in 2015 after a lengthy court battle against local people wishing to maintain this beautiful open space only a mile from Huddersfield town centre. The funding, known as a Section 106 payment, was to compensate Kirklees Council for the cost of providing local school, transport and affordable housing. After winning their court battle the developers felled several delightful mature trees but nature has since been reclaiming the site. Here's the full text of our response: Huddersfield Civic Society strongly objects to this application to be let off an estimated £362K of S106 charges understood to be agreed with Kirklees Council in 2015.
The developer has made no visible progress on the plans for which they received consent following the Supreme Court judgement. Since 2015, and the vandalism at that time of felling mature trees along the site’s Halifax road boundary, the land has returned slowly to nature with no obvious management or security costs. The only costs we believe the developer may have incurred, other than re footpath route changes a couple of years ago (which actually aided the developer by freeing the alignments of the consented roads and house sites) are fencing off some minor site entry works some years ago.
Looking at the claimed costs of £420,000 these look to be largely, if not entirely, management fees, costs and loan interest. All costs and charges appear to be between parties which may be linked to the development. A £25k loan is said to have become a £173k cost (this flat-rate interest we calculate as in excess of 90%pa!), the difference of £148K being part of the reason to ask to be let off the S106 payments.
The other claimed costs are equally invalid. We ask that the application be refused.
Planning Application: 2022/91283
Application Withdrawn, July 26, 2022
Waverley United Reformed Church, Waverley Road, Huddersfield. Change of use of former church building (Class F1f) into soft play facility with ancillary cafe
Comments made on behalf of Huddersfield Civic Society. The society supports this application in the hope that that the new community use will enable the building to be well maintained and its historic significance and character preserved.
Alterations to dwelling to form 8 self-contained studio apartments and 4 bed HMO (house in multiple occupation), alterations to access and wall, formation of parking spaces (within a Conservation Area) Comments made on behalf of Huddersfield Civic Society.
The society does not object to the principal of conversion subject to:
Careful consideration of waste disposal facilities. There are a number of HMOs within the Conservation Area where waste disposal facilities are clearly inadequate and, as a result, are having a detrimental effect on the image and character of the area.
The impact of the parking is assessed in relation to its effect on the character of the Conservation Area and impact on neighbouring houses.
The application was approved on September 14, 2022.
Planning Applications: 2022/90087
Malaikas Grill Bar, 11 Cross Church Street, Huddersfield Change of Use and Listed Building Consent for internal alterations to first and second floors to create 2 dwellings. To see the application click here.
Comments made on behalf of Huddersfield Civic Society
There appears to be no heritage issues of contention.
However, as the society has commented previously on other similar conversions within the town centre, this proposal appears to deliver extremely limited accommodation. The 1st floor unit is stated as 2 bed yet shows a third bed over the bulkhead of the stairs. Bedrooms are approximately 10-12sq m and the beds shown suggest single or small double beds. The kitchen shows accommodation for only 2 people at a small table.
The accommodation is over a takeaway so must carry a higher risk than normal of fire. It appears the only exit door opens into a narrow rear yard with no exit other than by re-entering the building to get to the safety of the street.
The society is aware of programmes that fall within the town centre blueprint for the improvement of Cross Church Street in terms of paving materials, active travel and shopfronts.
It has previously raised concerns regarding the process by which the local planning authority can determine applications such as this, given the lack of any strategy for the development of residential accommodation with the town centre. While there is support for the principle of re-introducing residential accommodation, there requires a clear strategy outlining where and what form of tenures/ownership and type of provision will best benefit and complement the town’s retail and business community, as well as the practical issues such as waste disposal and collection?
Cross Church Street is currently a focus for bar and late-night activities, coupled with future potential developments for event and eating facilities in relation to Kingsgate. Residential accommodation on this street may not be compatible with such activities.
This application was approved on September 14, 2022
Planning Application 2021/94515
Approved on March 31, 2022
Reserved Matters Application for Erection of Three Sculptural Features, New Street, Huddersfield.
A public consultation is now underway which ends on January 7, 2022.
Comments made on behalf of Huddersfield Civic Society
Huddersfield Civic Society voiced major concerns regarding these proposals at the outline stage. Since this time further consultation has re-affirmed the society’s concerns particularly in relation to the following:
The initial Heritage Impact Assessment stated: ‘They will not have any physical impact on the listed buildings and will only have a positive visual impact within the conservation area streetscape’. It is still unclear how this ‘positive visual impact within the Conservation Area’ has been assessed, given that the statement was made before any designs were forthcoming.
It appears that the features will comprise 3 blocks in which the sculptures will sit. Each block is 3m x 3m square and 1.2 m high (with various complex anchors into the ground). Soil on the top of the ‘planters’ will, presumably, hold the ivy, which we understand is to grow up the sculptures and presumably cover much of the ‘artwork’. Metal frames rising from the block will rise 12m (almost 40ft) above New Street. The society is not convinced these designs are compatible with the architectural and historic features of New Street, particularly the setting of 14 listed buildings.
As great a concern is the ability of Kirklees Council to maintain these features, both with regard to the structures and the planting that will grow up them. The society has previously raised concerns regarding the poor maintenance of street furniture and landscape features. Many fixtures require repainting, graffiti removal or simply replacement. The bigger picture, as outlined in the town centre blueprint, cannot be successfully achieved without attention to detail. Proper maintenance is essential if perceptions are to be improved.
Until it can be demonstrated that Kirklees Council has both a management regime and a revenue pot for ensuring such features are adequately maintained these sculptures risk becoming an eyesore and counter-productive to the aim of restoring vitality and economic vibrancy to the town centre.
Image of proposed new building at Greenhead College from Galliford Try construction company.
Planning Application 2021/93674
Partial redevelopment of site including a new 4-storey building
Huddersfield Civic Society supports Greenhead College revamp plans but with some concerns.
Huddersfield Civic Society welcomes the intention to improve facilities at Greenhead college. The site has a prominent position in the Greenhead Park conservation area and we appreciate the consideration given in the submitted design to not impinge upon views from nearby Greenhead Park.
The plan will see the demolition of prefabricated buildings from the 1960s to make way for construction of a new four-storey science block for 15 specialist biology and chemistry labs and classrooms. It will be built on the existing car park and the current entrance will be made pedestrian-only.
A new car park will be built on the multi-use games area (MUGA) and the MUGA moved to vacant land elsewhere. An existing access from Greenhead Road, currently closed, will be re-opened to vehicles and will be used as a new entrance to the car park.
We are disappointed to see in the submitted Arboricultural Impact Assessment (AIA) the number of trees to be felled but appreciate that this is required in order to maintain the current level of off-road parking provision, given the already considerable overflow of parking associated with the college onto nearby residential streets.
We do have the following concerns which we hope can be addressed:
1) The very low level of electric vehicle charging points (16) to be included in the construction of new car parking for c160 vehicles. 2) The very low level of ‘long stay’ cycle provision. There are only 30 cycle places for 2,600 pupils plus c185fte staff. This is despite Kirklees Council proposing significant improvements to cycle routes on nearby Trinity Street and across the ring road to the town centre. 3) We can find no mention of how the carbon impact from the proposed tree felling and scrub removal is to be mitigated 4) The lack of clarity behind the claim in the summary of the submitted Ecological Impact Assessment (EIA) that ‘the proposed development delivers a net gain for biodiversity’.
In the first two cases we believe that the proposed provision is woefully below what should be expected in a development intended to last for many years and ask that provision is increased substantially to reflect even short-term goals for increased use of e-vehicles and of Active Travel.
In the fourth case we note that there is no mention in the EIA of the number of trees to be felled as per the AIA. Given the felling of trees and an overall increase in landspace to be covered in concrete or tarmac, we would hope that the workings behind a claim of biodiversity INCREASE would be clear to all readers.
Kirklees Local Plan Policy LP30 requires there to be Biodiversity Net Gain and we ask that calculations are resubmitted that match the reduction in tree cover and increase in concrete/tarmac cover to ‘habitat units’ in a manner that the reader can follow.
Planning application 2021/93535
King James' School, Almondbury
Discharge of condition 9 (materials) of previous permission To see the full planning application click here.
Comments made on behalf of Huddersfield Civic Society. HCS is disappointed and concerned that Kirklees’ own developer, DPP Planning, is looking to discharge a planning condition on King James School requiring ‘natural stone facing’ by the use of reconstituted stone.
Not only does the proposed building lie within the curtilage of the Grade 2 listed school but it sits within Almondbury Conservation Area, one of the most historic and architecturally significant conservation areas within West Yorkshire.
Kirklees Council has a clear policy regarding the use of natural coursed York stone in such areas. Indeed, the council’s own Conservation Area assessments state:
‘An area, with conservation area status, imposes a duty on Kirklees Council to preserve and enhance the quality and character of a conservation area.’
It is a known fact that a facing of artificial stone, over a period of time, does not retain the quality nor patina of natural stone, the latter having a distinctive quality and a proud pedigree of being quarried locally.
If Kirklees accepts the requested variation this would:
Circumvent its own planning condition (determined after due consideration as a requirement of approval).
Set an unwelcome and worrying precedent for other developers to follow.
Effectively establishing a policy which would lead to a ‘race to the bottom’ on the quality of construction in conservation areas.
Kirklees Council has a duty to set high standards, particularly in regard to its own developments, which support adherence to the use of quality, design and materials in a conservation area. In conclusion, the application should be refused and the original condition reaffirmed.
Following receipt of further information, HCS has withdrawn the above objection following further information received. It appears the variation envisaged is not to substitute the ‘local’ stone as originally specified with artificial stone but with Spanish stone. It appears that the Spanish stone is identical to the York stone previously specified.
Therefore, it is assumed little can be done in planning terms to reject this amendment, although the use of Spanish is clearly regrettable in terms of the availability of locally quarried stone and the carbon footprint of importing such a material.
Architect's plans showing the 9 proposed apartments on King Street in Huddersfield
Planning application 2021/93374
14-18 King Street, Huddersfield.
Change of use and external alterations to form 9 apartments.
Comments made on behalf of Huddersfield Civic Society
Compared to a recent spate of minimum standard and meanly designed residential conversions in the town centre (for example current application 2021/93442, 50 New Street), this application has merits in providing much improved space standards combined with improvements to the external appearance of an early 1970s building of no architectural merit and at odds with the overall elevational appearance of the street.
The addition of accommodation on a new third floor is supported as is the integration of solar power. The room sizes and configurations are reasonable, including inset terraces for each of the new top floor flats.
The only issue which has to be addressed (as with all the recent applications for residential conversions in the centre), is the question of waste disposal and integration of waste facilities within the street scene. Huddersfield Civic Society supports this proposal.
Planning application 2021/93101
3 Fernside Avenue, Almondbury.
Listed Building Consent for internal and external repair and refurbishment work - to see the plan click here.
Comments made on behalf of Huddersfield Civic Society.
This appears to be a very thorough restoration of part of an important group of early C19th former weavers' cottages within Almondbury Conservation Area.
The local authority is to be congratulated on commissioning this work and looks forward to seeing it completed.
This was approved on November 10, 2021.
Planning application 2020/91919
Co-operative store site, 19 Northgate, Almondbury. Erection of block of 6 flats This is a revised application and to see the full application click here.
Comments made on behalf of Huddersfield Civic Society.
As stated at the time of the original submission, while there is no doubt the existing supermarket building is a negative element within the townscape of this important and historic Conservation Area, the proposal to replace it considered to be unacceptable.
In our opinion, this is because: * The scale of the development, comprising one large structure, is over -intensification of the site and is out of character with surrounding properties within the conservation area.
* The introduction of flat roofs to reduce the impact of the size of the development is entirely inconsistent with roofs within the locality and surrounding listed buildings.
* The development should be constructed of coursed York stone to all elevations.
* The over-intensive use of the site allows no room for green space to alleviate the impact of the structure, which has a negative impact on adjacent properties and their amenities.
* The police security proposal is completely inappropriate, making no allowance for the conservation status of the location. The fencing recommendations would prevent appropriate sight lines for the proposed new Co-op site access and the site access.
* It is felt any development should recognise the traditional street frontage with dwellings fronting on to the pavement with the possible creation of a secure archway access to rear parking for a reduced number of dwellings.
* The Design and Access Statement is misleading and we reject the claim that ‘the proposal has been designed to fit seamlessly within the surrounding area.’
Planning application 2021/62/92086/W
270 homes on land at Bradley Villa Farm, Bradley Road, Bradley, Huddersfield, HD2 2JX
Granted on August 24, 2023
Huddersfield Civic Society notes that this application is for full planning permission by Redrow homes for 270 houses on part of site HS11 which is allocated for a total of 1,460 houses. We ask that permission is refused on numerous grounds including:
The absence of any masterplan as to how the many requirements of a new community for the area to be covered by HS11 will be met, given this delivers 20% of the proposed overall housing,
That it does not deliver any of the requirements for site HS11, such as a 2-form entry primary school or a district centre,
That the proposed houses, such as The Shaftesbury, offer nothing at all of local distinctiveness or quality, as indicated as being essential requirements for a development in documents such as Kirklees Council’s recently adopted Supplementary Planning Documents,
That the layout, in consisting largely of cul-de-sacs with variably oriented houses and traditional roofing, takes inadequate account of opportunities to maximise solar gain and photo-voltaic generation
That this is a car-based development with 550 off-road parking spaces and inadequate provision for walking and cycling links, especially given the busy main ‘A’ roads that lie between the proposed houses and all existing local facilities, such as schools, shops, surgery, community centre and employment at Bradley Business Park
That this development, along with others proposed and underway, will add to the existing congestion at key road junctions in the area.
That the supplied information does not adequately explain how this site will contribute to the requirements of the Climate Emergency.
Huddersfield Civic Society also supports the many detailed objections by local residents and consultees, such as Highways England. We ask that Kirklees Council produces a true masterplan for the entire HS11 area, as per the adopted Huddersfield Local Plan, before any development here is given outline, let alone full, planning permission.”
Scene of proposed commercial units on Park Avenue in Springwood, Huddersfield. Photo from Google Street View.
Planning Application 2021/91789
Commercial Units, Park Avenue, Springwood
UPDATE: Planning application refused on July 29, 2021
Comments made on behalf of Huddersfield Civic Society
The society has concerns about this application.
The Springwood Conservation Area appears to cut behind this site, presumably because the existing garages have no aesthetic or architectural value and are out of keeping with the character of the CA. However, as it lies adjacent to this area it should be expected to be constructed of natural stone with appropriate roofing materials.
It is also a highly intensive use of a restricted site, given the number of commercial units envisaged, with a corresponding level of traffic generation along a road that is primarily residential in nature and is already heavily used.
In conclusion, the society would recommend this application be refused.
For more information on this planning application please click this link.
Planning application 20/92546
770 new houses at Crosland Hill
Huddersfield Civic Society notes this application (20/92546) is a request for Outline Planning Permission (OPP) with only site access matters requested for consideration at this stage. It is for one of several potential large housing developments in, or close to, Crosland Hill
This one application is for 770 new houses, i.e. the scale of a village, to be added to the edge of Crosland Moor. A community this size requires services, such as a primary school, shops, a community centre and its own bus service. It requires all buildings and services to be to of a high ‘green’ standard that will meet the local and national standards that contribute to Net Zero Carbon targets. We also support the creation of high quality landscaped and, particularly, the protection and creation of wooded areas.
It requires footpaths and cycle facilities to at least meet current government ‘Active Travel’ standards, both within the development site and to schools, shops and other essential services in the surrounding community.
There is also a matter of how far development can, or should, be allowed to proceed before all asbestos and various toxic materials are fully identified and removed from the site. This matter is beyond the remit of Huddersfield Civic Society (HCS) and we trust Kirklees Council to make full provision for the safety of any residents in close proximity to (or living on) the site during the removal process.
In its previous and very detailed response to this application, HCS has made numerous comments and suggestions as to how this many buildings and their services might be provided. We have also met with the planning officer to ensure that we were fully informed of the options and the implications of this application proceeding.
HCS understands that the planning system allows for developers to make submissions in line with an adopted Local Plan, that these be considered by council planning officials and, in cases of substantive development such as this, that a council planning committee meeting be asked to decide either refusal, acceptance or acceptance with specific conditions as the meeting may agree.
HCS notes that the applicant has made suggestions as to how the development might proceed but we regard many of the proposals as materially inadequate.
As this application is a request for OPP only, we understand the applicants are also in no way committing subsequent builders or developers who might submit quite different detailed planning requests in years to come.
Council planning officers have suggested that the planning committee delegate to them sorting out many of the inadequate or non-existent proposals with the applicant as ‘Reserved Matters.”
Conclusions & Recommendations
HCS notes that the applicant is currently only asking only for ‘Access Matters’ to be agreed as part of an application for Outline Planning Permission.
2. Accordingly, HCS asks that this Strategic Planning Committee: a) Considers ONLY access matters at this stage, as per the applicant’s request b) Defers consideration of all remaining matters to a future, more complete, application c) Does NOT delegate to officers the many key matters which are critical to the success of a future new community here and its impacts on existing neighbourhoods 3. Only a future application will be able to address the many real needs to create a new community in Crosland Hill, along with several other sites in close proximity designated for housing. 4. This application raises key issues for Kirklees Council in the challenge of meeting local and national targets for housing, transport, energy, air quality and many other standards.
Erection of dwelling following demolition of existing dwelling, 4 Kaffir Road, Edgerton
UPDATE: Planning application refused on June 28, 2021 Our strong objection to this application follows on from objections made to the previous application 2020/62/91143: Erection of Extensions and Alterations (within a conservation area) at this property. The previous application was for a building roughly 2.5 times the floorplan of the existing c1983 building and significantly damaged the setting of the neighbouring Grade 2 Listed Lunnclough Hall, which lies below it and which this site dominates.
Kirklees Council’s own Conservation Officer recommended refusal of this application citing numerous ways in which the application harmed the Edgerton Conservation area, the many ways it went against the council’s adopted appraisal for the Edgerton Conservation area and specific Local Plan policies and NPPF paragraphs which it contradicted. Huddersfield Civic Society fully endorsed these comments.
In summary, application 2020/62/91143 went against many of the objectives and principles established by the designation of Edgerton Conservation Area. Nevertheless, permission was granted subject to conditions. It appears major building work is currently underway. Rather than this being an ‘extension’, photographs indicate what is effectively a new building being built around the previous structure. Observation from the nearest public highway suggests that the existing building itself may be deteriorating with gaps in the eaves suggesting it may no longer be waterproof.
Application 2021/90247 now seeks to demolish the existing dwelling and significantly increase the floorplan of the building, including the introduction of rooms in the attic, plus the addition of numerous windows and other features.
Huddersfield Civic Society strongly objects to this new application. There is no precedent for adding such a large new building into the Edgerton Conservation Area: its size, form, number of windows, dominance over the adjoining overlooked Grade 2 listed property and many other features, are completely at odds with all existing buildings in the Kaffir Road part of the Conservation Area. It clearly compromises the significant architectural and historic importance and setting of its surrounds.
The Society also objects on the principle that an applicant who has started construction should not be given permission, in a subsequent application, to make dramatic changes to the building already under construction, causing significantly more harm to the Conservation Area, beyond the permission for which conditional approval has been granted.
Because of the above, if no existing building is to be retained, the Society considers that this application should be considered as a ‘new building’, in which case both design and materials should meet the standards appropriate for any such new build within the Conservation Area.
In conclusion HCS again emphasises the fact that approval would set a precedent, totally contradicting the very values that Kirklees Council itself confirmed through its designation of Edgerton as a Conservation Area in 1976 and the later adoption of an Edgerton Conservation Area Appraisal, itself based on guidelines produced by English Heritage (now Historic England).
HCS would remind the Council that, in its own words, ‘conservation area status imposes a duty on Kirklees Council to preserve and enhance the quality and character of a conservation area.’ Approval of this application would not only contradict but undermine this statement. The local authority must not abdicate these duties if it is to retain credibility in protecting the town’s heritage.
Should application 2020/62/91143 be granted, Huddersfield Civic Society will consider requesting a call-in of this application by the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, as the Society believes this application has national significance regarding the very purpose of designating a conservation area and formally adopting a conservation area appraisal.
Daisy Lea Lane in Lindley. Photo from Google Street View.
Planning Application 2020/94184
Erection of car port, Stonecroft, Daisy Lea Lane, Lindley
Although the design of the car port appears reasonable the society has major concerns regarding the position and size of the development in the grounds of a dwelling that has already undergone various extensions.
To reiterate the society's comments submitted regarding 4 Kaffir Road - 'Critically, consideration must be given as to whether this scale of development and reduction of green space will set a precedent, encouraging similar schemes, resulting in the erosion of the very special qualities of the Edgerton area.'
What seems to be happening in Edgerton, particularly, is a slow attrition of some of the key qualities that form the basis for the Conservation Area designation. Kaffir Road, Ramsdens development on Halifax Road, the A629 'improvements' and several other schemes are adding to this gradual erosion of its intrinsic qualities, contrary to the wording within the CA Appraisal that emphasises the need to retain architectural and landscape characteristics.
The issue is exacerbated in this instance by tree and shrub surgery and removal. The wooded aspect of the area is a critical to the overall value of the Conservation Area designation. It is noted that, as a result of previous work, trees within the curtilage of this property have been removed and not replaced. The current proposal adds to the denudation of this asset. HCS would recommend that should the LPA be minded to approve this application, a full investigation is carried out to prevent damage to mature trees with the submission of a replanting scheme.
To see the full application submitted to Kirklees Council and the latest comments and objections then please click here.
Planning application 2018/92647 Revised Proposals (Mixed Use Development), Former Kirklees College, New North Road, Huddersfield
Approved by Kirklees Council on August 3, 2022
Huddersfield Civic Society welcomes the retention and conversion of those buildings marked Buildings 1,2 and 3 on the submitted plans. It also echoes those concerns, articulated in the Society’s original comments, concerning the proposed residential block (Building 5) but notes the applicant states, ‘this drawing shows an indicative design only. Detailed planning permission is not sought for this building’.
Should a detailed application on this part of the site be submitted it is essential that attention is paid to the relationship with buildings within the adjacent Conservation Area and particularly those along Portland Street. It may be appropriate for a planning condition to this effect to be incorporated into any approval granted on this initial phase of the site development.
However, the Society wishes to state its strong objection to the elevational details of the proposed supermarket and related car parking. This occupies one of the most prominent sites within Huddersfield, adjacent to Castlegate (ring road) and Trinity Street, the latter providing the main access to and from the M62 motorway.
Over the past few years there have been a number of high quality developments fronting the ring road, including those on the university campus and Huddersfield Sports Centre which have complemented buildings of architectural and historic value such as St Paul’s Church and Queensgate Market.
Those buildings on the former Kirklees College site, which were constructed in the 1960/70 period, have, generally, been considered to be of poor architectural quality, particularly in relation to the former Infirmary, adjacent Conservation Area and the prominence of the site. The proposed supermarket would appear to achieve even lower standards of design, particularly in relation to these features.
It would, therefore, be a retrograde step for approval to be given to this element of the proposal, and contrary to objectives of the Council in promoting good design, on a site which leads to the Station Gateway, where a fundamental ambition within the Council’s Blueprint is to enhance the heritage and commercial attractions of the town. Furthermore, this element of the application should, at the very least, undergo some major design revisions coupled with a far greater focus on materials, elevational detail, built form and landscaping, incorporating greenspace with tree planting.
Finally, the Society views the introduction of the proposed supermarket, into an existing application, to be wholly inappropriate given no such element was included in the original application. There is little clarity regarding the ‘revisions’ and major conflicts between the (still undecided) Aug 2018 application on the council website and statements in latter documents.
By accepting this change as a ‘revision’ to an existing application, the opportunity for members of the public to submit comments has been significantly curtailed from the time frame allowed in the event of a new application. As such, we strongly recommend this application be rejected and the applicant asked to resubmit a new application to ensure residents of Huddersfield are allowed the opportunity to express their views. As it stands any approval would be a retrograde step for the town and severely question the Council’s commitment to its own BluePrint and its ability to positively promote high standards of architecture and design.
Planning application 2020/92657 Erection of teaching block, King James's School, Almondbury
The society echoes the major concerns articulated in the objections embodied in neighbourhood representations concerning the critical issues resulting from the increased numbers of pupils in relation to the traffic issues, pollution, pedestrian safety and community disruption caused by this proposal.
Documents prepared by the agents around sustainability and travel are inadequate. For example, virtually all the approach roads are narrow and busy so there is significant risk to cyclists. The presentation of the school bus access and departure is accurate but under states the issues.
The access to the drop off involves 2 very sharp 90 degree bends in close succession at a busy junction where the buses block traffic in both directions. When leaving the site they have to negotiate a blind 90 degree bend over a bridge at the bottom of Farnley line.
Such issues, in themselves, prompt the question as to whether King James is the right/or an acceptable location for the newly created 'combined’ school?
Beyond such issues, the proposed teaching block itself is disappointingly pedestrian in design and related matters. Although the school is based in a set of buildings which are a mix of modern and traditional it is an historic site containing listed structures. In addition, given the location of the building it is considered that more thought should be given to raise this design above the mundane and use materials complementary to the environment of, not only the school, but Almondbury Conservation Area and the outstanding surrounding countryside.
Huddersfield Civic Society presented Greenhead College with the award of overall winner in its annual Design Awards in 2018 recognising the high standards of design and sustainability incorporated into a new teaching block. As applicants for the King James proposal, Kirklees Council should endeavour to achieve similar high standards in relation to elevational details, materials and carbon reduction measures. This current application fails on all counts.
Outline planning application 2020/92546 New settlement at Crosland Hill on the edge of Huddersfield
In this objection, Huddersfield Civic Society raises 10 key points, which we believe are important for the successful delivery of this development scheme. These are:
Holding the developer to the commitments in the OPP
Community facilities on the edge of town
Wider impacts of increased traffic
Sustainable housing design, energy and home working
Affordable Housing commitments
Biodiversity and trees
This OPA is a rework of the rejected 2019 application, which claims to address a number of objections last time round. However, several of the applicant’s documents still describe the position around 2017. One key issue HCS wishes to raise is about the effectiveness of the master plan prepared for this site and the ability of Kirklees Council to ensure the community facilities and the affordable housing remain intact throughout the process from Outline Planning approval to delivery. It is important that commitments made by the applicant in the application are locked into the completion of the development by any and all developers and during all phases. This is imperative in light of the difficulties likely to be encountered with site remediation, and a strong possibility that the scheme will be delivered by more than one developer, as occurred in Lindley Moor. The full text of the society's objection may be read by clicking on the link below.
Planning Application 2019/93789 St Peter’s Parish Church – Amended Proposals The society reiterates its concerns submitted at the time of the initial application and strongly objects to the car parking proposals. Approval of this application is entirely inconsistent with the Blueprint vision for St Peter’s Gardens and now the SPD has been approved as a tool for implementation of the Blueprint’s objectives, this application fundamentally contradicts a key element of the document.
The artist's impression shows no cars or vehicles, merely open space, broad pedestrian routes and restricted vehicle access. The claimed objective in approving the SPD was to avoid this kind of conflict or at least provide a rationale for refusal of inconsistent development.
We strongly object with the concept of increasing car access and parking provision in this part of the town centre. We understand the aim of the Council is to limit access by car and certainly not to encourage it. There should certainly be no provision for parking within the town centre’s primary green space. The SPD (p.19 Vision, Item 3) refers to wanting the town centre to become ‘a quality environment with fewer vehicles’.
We note that in June 2020 Kirklees Council proposed the closure of Byram Street to vehicles. This alone should negate any request for new car parking to be accessed from Byram Street
We express disappointment that the supplied Heritage Assessment does not mention the proposed deterioration in the setting of the church by introducing a car park into the view of the church across its green space.
We note the comments from Kirklees Highways that state, there is currently a traffic regulation order (TRO) on this section of Byram Street that prevents all motor vehicles (except those authorised) from accessing at any time, except for loading between 4pm and 10am the next day. In this instance authorised vehicles would be the likes of recognisable service vehicles such as refuse wagons, emergency service vehicles, funeral cars etc. It is not a permit scheme where those associated with the church could apply for an exemption for their private motor vehicles.
Declarations of climate emergency stand for nothing if subsequent planning decisions ignore them. There is an urgent need across all settlements to reallocate space dedicated to private vehicles, and specifically not to increase that space.
We disagree with several statements in the supporting document submitted by the former vicar of Huddersfield, Canon Simon Moor, including:
The Church, if to stay viable, is required to meet the standards of a twenty first century venue.’
‘The North side of the Church together with St Peter’s Gardens is currently a poor quality amenity, both visually and usage. It represents for many a ‘no go area. Parking would be part of the future vision’. The society asks, when was the provision of parking ever an effective means of improving an area of green space? It would certainly be amazed if a car parking area became what the Rev. Canon asserts would become the ‘place to be’.
That additional visitor attraction ’aspirations cannot be achieved without dedicated parking’.
That ‘Attendance at worship can only be achieved on Sundays with the use of cars’.
That the car parking area’s ‘hardstanding would also help preserve this grade 2 * listed building as the civic church of Huddersfield’.
Planning application 2020/91989 Erection of single storey extension with canopy and security roller shutters (within a Conservation Area), 98a Halifax Old Road, Birkby. The society has some concerns regarding this application although it considers it an improvement when compared to the scruffy and poorly designed frontages of many premises within the main shopping area just 200 metres away.
The property appears to be in good condition, albeit the shop units are nondescript, and vehicles parked on the large corner paving area present an ugly view, especially against the backdrop of the imposing mosque conversion opposite.
The applicant is proposing something that appears of higher quality than other shop fronts in the vicinity. The large paving area here currently used for parking would be replaced by semi-outdoor shopping under a fixed structure. There are no awnings currently on any of the nearby premises on Halifax Old Road and this would, obviously, set a precedent.
However, some aspects of the proposal would appear acceptable in this instance. The willingness to invest in improvements may encourage new life and improvements along Halifax Old Road, complementing the excellent mosque building. And a restart to better use of outdoor shopping space could help encourage social distancing in a new Covid world.
The main concern relates to the use of roller shutters which are both aesthetically and, in a predominantly residential area, an unwelcoming feature. This issue should be addressed and suitable amendments made.
A further issue requires addressing: car parking. Although this part of Halifax Old Road is not as heavily congested (mosque activity times apart) as is the current centre of Birkby, it is fairly congested with this application aiming to increase trade while removing existing car parking spaces, albeit spaces accessed by crossing the current pavement at the road junction. The Council needs a parking strategy for local centres such as Birkby to tackle increasing congestion and safety issues.
It is suggested that Birkby would benefit from a Conservation Area Assessment in order to tackle the issues outlined and encourage improvements, which this proposal, though flawed, is attempting to implement.
Planning application 2020/91720/91721 Change of use from dwelling to residential unit, 11 Wentworth Street, Huddersfield
We consider the details and plans relating to this proposal to be wholly unacceptable and wonder why the submitted application was processed in its present form.
As these applications relate to a building of architectural and historic importance, the applicant should be asked to resubmit with a comprehensive, understandable set of documents and measured plans detailing elements to be changed or inserted into the present structure.
It is also requested that the applicant resubmits the application forms in order that all answers correlate to information in the accompanying documents. Additionally, it is noted that the attachment, entitled ‘Heritage Statement’, is not an adequate heritage assessment. The applicant should be requested to submit an assessment that indicates how proposed changes will affect the fabric of the listed building.
However, beyond the issues identified above, there is concern that in converting a dwelling house into what, in essence, will become three residential units with up to three members of staff present, is an over-intensification of use in what is essentially an area of individual houses. Such use will inevitably result in related issues regarding parking, waste collection etc. In conclusion, the application should be refused.
Planning application 2020/92024 Demolition of supermarket, erection of block of six flats, 19, Northgate, Almondbury
While there is no doubt that the existing supermarket building is a negative element within the townscape of this important and historic conservation area, the proposal to replace it with a block of six flats can only be classed as mediocre.
It is accepted that the site layout constrains redevelopment proposals but equally the scheme pays little attention to the architectural and historic form of the Northgate area. In order to provide adequate parking for the number of flats proposed, the whole frontage is to be laid out as a hard-standing area. This appears contrary to the values that should be achieved within conservation areas in general.
There is, in addition, meagre detailing with regards stonework and related materials and it is considered that any development should be in coursed York stone to all elevations, not simply on the front elevation. In summary, although it could be argued that the proposal is better than what currently exists, the result is disappointing and could be rectified by reducing the number of units with layout and elevational amendments that include reduced parking requirements.
Planning application 2020/91574/91575 Conversion of mill building to create wellness centre, Brooke's Mill, Armitage Bridge
The society applauds work carried out over the past few years to introduce new uses into the former textile mill. It fully supports this application which will further enhance the business, cultural and recreational mix that has been gradually created, ensuring the retention of a key building within a complex that remains both historically and architecturally important within the region.
The aim to achieve zero carbon and to increase biodiversity are also welcomed and do not compromise the integrity of the whole. Finally, the society recognises the fine commercial balance in achieving a viable proposal in a building that has stood vacant for many years and supports the comments made in the design and access statement.
Planning Application 2020/91591 Erection of extensions, demolition and refurbishment of vacant care home and coach house to create care facility, external and internal alterations and erection of activities cabin within a Conservation Area,34 Greenhead Road, Huddersfield
The society generally supports this application which should improve a building and grounds which appear to have deteriorated whilst empty. The new car parking spaces can be accommodated within the grounds with significant shielding by remaining trees and features, such as changes proposed to the single-storey structures and the provision of staff cycle storage – are positive improvements.
The one concern is the replacement of the current external fire staircase from the second floor to ground level. The existing structure looks to be a standard open metallic staircase and is visible as a protrusion to the side of the house from Greenhead Road, Park Road South and from part of the war memorial area of Greenhead Park. It would be more visible from the war memorial area in winter when the park trees are not in leaf.
The proposed structure is described as a 'new external steel staircase to replace existing stair, enclosed with perforated metal sheets to detail.' There appears to be little detail in the plans, regarding the materials, colour, reflective state etc. and it is suggested that consideration be given to a structure more sympathetic to the style of the property which is within a conservation area and is visible from Greenhead Park.
Incidentally, Longdenholme, as it was originally called, was built for Joseph Woodhead, founder and proprietor of the Examiner, and designed by Ben Stocks (plans submitted July 1879).
Planning Application 2020/91253 Detached office building with rooms in roof space and reformation of car parking, Oakley House, 1 Hungerford Road, Edgerton
Although this is a revision of plans submitted in 2017, the last of which was approved, HCS has serious concerns regarding this development particularly in respect of the density and area allocated for parking and the impact on the mature trees, which form a critical feature within the conservation area and are important visually and environmentally along the Halifax Road corridor.
Again, HCS directs attention to the Council’s own appraisal of Edgerton CA which states: 'The character of the area is partly established by the pattern of past development, which generally consists of substantial houses in large plots. Previously, substantial infilling has been permitted but this has damaged the character of the Conservation Area because of the increased density of built form, loss of trees and breaching of boundary walls. It is therefore recommended that in future new development within the designated area should be kept to a minimum and the following policy is included in the LDF.’
‘Policy: The Council will resist proposals that would result in the over development of plots and loss of gardens to the detriment of the character of the conservation area.’
It is also noted that if the policy was included in the LDF this would have been after the earlier planning applications had been submitted, and any decision regarding this application should consider the implications of over development and loss of green space.
As with the recent application for major extensions at 4 Kaffir Road, this proposal creates a worrying precedent with car parking pushed close to the trees, increasing the danger of root damage. Should removal of trees then be required, creating a much more open aspect to Halifax and Hungerford Road, this would be contrary to the policy for protection of green space and mature trees.
In addition, the planning authority must consider this in context to other large properties now adapted for office use, rather than the residential use for which they were designed. The erosion of Edgerton’s unique character could be dramatically affected if similar schemes were put forward for consideration. Approval of this development would make other applications difficult to refuse.
If the LPA is minded to approve this application it is requested that all issues covered by the aboricultural report be followed to the letter and that the applicant commits to a monitoring and reporting regime on the trees, with substantive restitution in the event of tree loss, perhaps as a S106 condition?
Please note: it appears the 2020 tree survey and tree removal requests are as written in 2017, but it looks as if the various trees approved for removal in 2017 have in fact been felled – indeed, very recently – and the replacement areas left unkempt with sycamores and laurels now growing
The society’s comments focus on the above issues rather than the new building which it considers to be well designed.
Planning application 2020/91013 Two detached dwellings, adjacent to 27 Woodthorpe Terrace, Longroyd Bridge The site is adjacent to a building of both architectural and historic importance, Spring Lodge. It was awarded the 'Best Refurbishment' project in the HCS Design Awards 2015. The society has no objections to this proposal as long as there is no deviation from the proposed use of coursed Yorkshire stone and appropriate roofing materials in the construction of the dwellings.
Planning Authority Decision: Permitted.
Planning application 2020/91268 & 2020/91269 Change of use & listed building consent alterations to create six flats, 69-71 New Street, Huddersfield
The society believes that any internal features relating to the architectural significance of this building should be retained. We have some concerns regarding the process by which the local planning authority can determine this application given the lack of any strategy for the development of residential accommodation with the town centre.
Given the likelihood of an increasing numbers of vacant premises and upper floors, how will the Council determine the balance of varying needs and opportunities for a variety of tenures, age groups and needs? This site fronts New Street which will be subject to comprehensive refurbishment with the Council's Blueprint programme. Should similar applications be received on this street what are the strategic means of dealing with housing applications as well as the practical issues such as waste disposal and collection?
Update on November 15, 2021: Application withdrawn
The society is concerned over the scale of the proposed extensions within a Conservation Area, as they appear to almost double the size of the existing footprint with expansion in three directions and a proportionally even greater increase in upstairs room space.
The existing house appears to have been built in 1983 and is considered to have a ‘neutral’ impact on the Conservation Area. It sits within extensive grounds with numerous mature trees on all sides. Edgerton Conservation Area designation was predicated on the pattern of substantial C19th houses set in large plots. It has been recognised that infilling has damaged the character of the area and that ‘the Council should resist proposals that would result in the over-development of plots and loss of gardens to the detriment of the Conservation Area’.
In addition, whilst it appears that the plot may look large on paper, over 50% of this is in a massive ravine that can be seen from the roadside of the main Halifax road. Not only should the impact of the proposed extensions be fully considered but, in addition, the plans do not show how cars would get from the existing drive across the grass to the proposed triple garage.
This implies further development and reduction of green space within the grounds of the house and possible requirement to fell mature trees. This should be subject to conditions for the management and replacement of any trees affected with suitable species. No trees flanking the historic driveway from Kaffir Road should be removed and access must be from the existing driveway.
The use of matching external materials ie stone and slate must be ensured. The appearance of the proposed extensions appears to be dictated by the internal layout and, unfortunately, this makes little aesthetic contribution to the mass and form of key buildings within the area. It is also recommended that there should be no windows in the side elevation in or above the existing garage as they reduce the privacy of neighbouring property.
Critically, consideration must be given as to whether this scale of development and reduction of green space will set a precedent, encouraging similar schemes, resulting in the erosion of the very special qualities of the Edgerton area, that have been recognised both locally, nationally and internationally.
UPDATES Planning application refused on June 28, 2021 Planning application 2022/91350 for variation of condition 2 (plans and specifications) on previous permission for erection of extensions and alterations (within a conservation area). Refused.
Planning Applications 2020/90930 & 90931 Alterations to former works to create 10 residential units (Listed Building within Conservation Area) The society has no objection to the proposal, subject to retention of any internal features contemporary with the building's original purpose. Any future signage on the Bath Street frontage should be strictly limited and designed so as not to detract from the architectural/historic integrity of the building.
It is to be hoped that the residential units will be available to other than students as it is felt that the latter market is saturated and would have limited benefits in the regeneration and economic vitality of the area around St. George's Square. The society supports the idea of a blue plaque to commemorate the Hall of Science and its historic associations. The plaque is being considered by Huddersfield Local History Society.
Planning application 2020/90757 Outline Application for Erection of Three Sculptural Features, New Street, Huddersfield
Huddersfield Civic Society considers this application to be unacceptable and recommends that it be withdrawn.
The society recognises that improvements along this section of New Street are proposed in the Town Centre Blueprint and has broadly supported an initiative which would upgrade and replace dated and anachronistic street furniture, paving and other poorly maintained features.
However, this application provides neither illustrations nor specific details of what these sculptures would look like, only that, and I quote, 'tall sculptural features designed to allow planting to go over and through ....The sculptures are yet to be designed .....The structures will be metal in construction with an open structure to give a feeling of lightness.'
This is unacceptable. The application has not been placed in context with an overall plan for New Street, so there is no clue as to how it will fit in with other elements of the street's enhancement. It is purely a concept without any rationale in relation to how the street will function, be maintained or complement adjacent buildings, including the setting of 14 listed buildings.
The Heritage Impact Assessment states,’ They will not have any physical impact on the listed buildings and will only have a positive visual impact within the conservation area streetscape.’ These are made-made structures up to 12 metres in height so without any designs having been prepared how can anyone assess whether these structures will be acceptable or not?
This application should not and cannot be considered in isolation to the whole.
This application is, therefore, premature and should be withdrawn and only re-submitted when designs, not only for the sculptures but for the comprehensive enhancement of New Street are prepared and publicised.
Castle Hill proposal not justified and must be rejected
Planning application No. 2018/93591 – Castle Hill Restaurant with Rooms & Event Venue Comments made on behalf of Huddersfield Civic Society.
As a society, focused on the maintenance and improvement of civic pride and the protection of historic structures important to the people of Huddersfield, we strongly believe that the debates about developments at the top of Castle Hill have gone on far too long.
Without doubt, Victoria Tower atop the Scheduled Iron Age Hillfort (known as Castle Hill) holds a very special place in the hearts of Huddersfield residents. It is a symbol of our heritage and a well-loved spot to visit and take in the surrounding views and reflect. It is also a destination of choice for visitors wishing to sample our heritage and rural landscape. Tourism and visitor facilities should be focused on Huddersfield Town Centre (as proposed in the Blueprint) or district centres, such as Almondbury and Honley, which already provide a range of pubs, restaurant and small hotels, support the wider business community, and have suitable provision for access by sustainable public transport.
With this in mind, we believe it incumbent upon us to scrutinise with care any proposals which affect this valued historic location. In this regard, we detail below our understanding of planning policy relevant to what is recognised as new build development, in the Green Belt, within the curtilage of the listed Victoria Tower, physically built into key features of the Scheduled Motte and Bailey Iron Age Hillfort.
Our conclusion, supported by the analysis below, is that the current proposal (together with its prior iterations) constitutes inappropriate development in accordance with NPPF13 para 145 and is not justified under the claimed ‘very special circumstances’ of NPPF13 para 145 (b) on the basis that the ‘inappropriate development and other harm’ is not clearly outweighed by the claimed benefits as required by NPPF13 para 144.
Analysis of Planning Policy LP56 New Build in Green Belt incorporates into the Kirklees Local Plan, the very narrow circumstances, defined by National Planning Policy Framework (“NPPF13”) within which development can be undertaken in the Green Belt. The fundamental aim of Green Belt policy being to prevent urban sprawl by keeping land permanently open; the essential characteristics of Green Belt land being its openness and permanence. Once Green Belts have been defined, local planning authorities are tasked with positively enhancing their beneficial use, which includes looking for opportunities to:
Provide opportunities for outdoor sport and recreation
Retain and enhance landscapes, visual amenity and biodiversity or
Improve damaged and derelict land
Development Proposals Affecting Green Belt: The element of NPPF applicable to the proposed development is contained within Section 13 paragraphs 143- 145 and states:
143. Inappropriate development is, by definition, harmful to the Green Belt and should not be approved except in very special circumstances ('VSCs').
144. When considering any planning application, Kirklees planning authority should ensure substantial weight is given to any harm to the Green Belt. VSC’s will not exist unless potential harm to the Green Belt (by reason of inappropriateness or other harm) resulting from the proposal, is clearly outweighed by claimed facilities provided within the development. Clearly the threshold required to outweigh harm is intended to be very high.
145. Kirklees planning authority should regard the construction of new buildings as inappropriate in the Green Belt subject to consideration of the narrow exception claimed in this application: (b) the provision of appropriate facilities (in connection with the existing use of the land) for outdoor sport, outdoor recreation, cemeteries and burial grounds and allotments; as long as the facilities preserve the openness of the Green Belt and do not conflict with the purposes of including the land (Castle Hill) within the Green Belt.
Appropriate Green Belt Facilities: As the principal objective of Green Belt policy is to maintain an open character by preventing development, it follows that any new building/parking area (associated with an appropriate Green Belt use) should be no more than is genuinely required to enable that use to be carried on. Reference to guidance and case law states that ‘appropriate facilities’ should:
Be genuinely required
Involve uses of land which preserve the openness of the Green Belt
Not conflict with the purposes of including the land (Castle Hill) in the Green Belt.
Examples offered in the guidance include small changing rooms or unobtrusive spectator accommodation for outdoor sport, or small stables for outdoor sport and outdoor recreation. Each of these examples makes clear the construction envisaged is intended to be:
Directly (rather than indirectly) related to the outdoor activity
Limited in size, and
Dedicated to the provision of the facility (rather than containing an incidental element)
The development, for which approval is sought, represents: a 100 cover restaurant; bar; 6 bedrooms; and an 80sqm event facility; over 3 floors (2 sunken into the very heart of a scheduled Iron Age Hillfort) which is primarily: a commercial venture run for profit; not directly related to the outdoor activity; is not of limited size; and is not dedicated to the provision of the facility.
As such, the development:
Is not genuinely required – Current high visitor levels are achieved without the facility
Does not involve a use of land which preserves the openness of the Green Belt – Constructionrestricts openness and cannot be approved unless one of the VSC’s applies.
Conflicts with the purposes of including the land (Castle Hill) in the Green Belt – The purposebeing the preservation of an historic landscape, a listed monument and a Scheduled Iron AgeHillfort of local, regional and national importance
Is not directly related to the outdoor activity – The prime focus is provision of a commercial eventfacility
Is not limited in size, an is not dedicated to the provision of the facility (rather than containing an incidental element) – lessthan 20% of the facility is directly provided for this purpose and only that on a shared basis.
Claimed 'Very Special Circumstances': The supporting documentation acknowledges the application is subject to the VSCs test and claims that facilities including provision of interpretation and education space, as well as for more basic physical needs such as shelter, WC’s and refreshment could constitute those very special circumstances. Whilst this is theoretically correct there needs to be a far greater emphasis on such facilities other than shared restaurant and event facilities.
The application also claims putting the development at the top of the hill will provide a presence which will curb antisocial activity. Obviously, reduced vandalism and inappropriate behaviour can (in theory) form the basis of justification for any development in a remote location. However, this criterion does not feature in national policy for new build in the Green Belt. All this amounts to is a further public benefit which can, in certain circumstances, justify harm to a listed or schedule structure but is irrelevant in respect of inappropriate new build in the Green Belt.
Provision of recreational amenities: The proposed layout comprises 6 bedrooms, a restaurant plus supporting bar and is primarily aimed at a closed group of guests being restaurant drinkers and diners, overnight guests and private event-based functions. Whilst there is an element of the development, provided for general visitors to the site, this comprises access to a restaurant, bar and toilet facilities on a nonexclusive basis. The bulk of visitors to Castle Hill are families out for a walk, looking for snacks, drinks, information, and toilet facilities. Very few visitors to the site are looking for a sit-down meal, a party or a bed! This application is primarily seeking to deliver facilities to a group who would not attend the site other than to make use of this new build facility.
Provision of an educational recreational/interpretation facility: The applicant also highlights the provision of an event space, within the new build property, as justifying approval of the overall application. Whilst the facility does have an independent access, this will only be available for specific educational events on a pre-booked basis. At other times this will be available to further the primary hospitality function of the proposed building. A cursory review of the application makes clear the concept is a multi-purpose room (with associated toilets), occupying around 15% of the overall building, to be made available for the education of groups of children and the general public (on a pre-booked basis) between the hours of 10:00 and 16:00. The application is silent on any charges.
Provision of Toilet facilities: Well over 100,000 people currently visit Castle Hill every year. The proposed development incorporates an unspecified toilet facility to be shared with guests of the restaurant, bar and event facility. Whilst such facilities are welcome (given there are presently none on the site) this is unlikely to be commensurate with likely demand and does not fulfil the necessary NPPF13 requirement
In Conclusion: Kirklees planning authority are required to ensure any claimed VSC clearly outweighs the inappropriateness of construction in the Green Belt and any related harm. As such, to reach a conclusion on whether a claimed VSC case can be accepted, any other harm introduced by the development has to be taken into account (as well as the inappropriateness of the new build) and the claimed VSC’s must clearly outweigh all these elements combined.
The introduction of the proposed new build development, into such a highly sensitive location of local, regional and national importance, must therefore be weighed against the claimed VSC’s. Many areas of harm have been identified and articulated in the comments of both statutory consultees and concerned members of the general public. In the interests of avoiding repetition, we have simply listed the key areas of harm (as we see them) in the attached appendix.
Case law has considered and established that developers are not entitled to attach inappropriate development to an otherwise appropriate development and, through such alchemy, render the entire development as appropriate. Indeed, to do so would, over the passage of time, be severely detrimental to the objectives of Green Belt policy.
From the above analysis, the application does not meet what is intended to be a stringent test and as such this application is in breach of LP56 and NPPF Section 13 paragraphs 143-145 and must be rejected. A failure to refuse this application risks establishing a national precedent opening Green Belt across the UK to a ‘death by a thousand cuts’.
Planning application 2019/62/93789/W and 2019/44/91146/W Location: Byram Street Description of development: Erection of porch entrance, fire escape enclosure, platform lift and formation of car park, Huddersfield Parish Church (Listed Building within a Conservation Area).
Huddersfield Civic Society applauds the work carried out by the church to restore its fabric and improve facilities. Indeed, the church and its architects, One17 AD, were the overall winners in the society's annual Design Awards in 2014.
However, although there has been a previous approval for the formation of car parking on the site, HCS would request further consideration of issues that make the car parking element of this application contrary to current policies and town centre strategies.
The gardens provide an important green 'lung' and setting within the Conservation Area. The Council's Blueprint for the town centre indicates that Kirklees will 'support the enhancement of the gardens ....and make the most of the green space'. Using part of this space for parking would appear contrary to this aim. HCS, therefore, objects to the provision of parking for the following reasons:
It is contrary to the recent KC town centre Blueprint and consultation for improvements to the town’s centre major green space.
The proposal flies in the face of the Council’s aim to promote the greening of the town centre and is contrary to the aim of improving environmental and air quality.
Vehicles parked between park and church constitute a serious degradation of the ‘setting’ of the Grade 2* church.
The aim should be to discourage further private parking areas within the town and not establish a precedent for others, e.g. The Methodist Mission, which has similar requirements.
Provision of vehicular access on to an attractive and well used pedestrianised street with the related removal of stone walls would potentially create pedestrian/vehicular conflict in relation to those vehicles entering and leaving the site.
HCS would like to see the Church and Kirklees find a solution that does not compromise the historic setting and green space. The planning application refers to church parking on Venn Street that was replaced in order to develop Kingsgate, but this was not adjacent to the church entrance, entailing a short walk. It is felt that both parties should investigate alternative options such as use of the Lord Street car park, formerly occupied by the YMCA.
The application also refers to the moving of a table tomb to enable the car park to be built. This tomb is, in fact, historically important, being the memorial of Joseph Kaye known as ' the builder of Huddersfield' who constructed many of the town's churches, railway station and its finest buildings, although, ironically, not the Parish Church where his body is laid.
Planning application 2019/91505 and 2019/91506 Location: St George's Square Description of development: The George Hotel.
Huddersfield Civic Society welcomes these applications to secure, restore and introduce some changes of use within one of Huddersfield's most notable buildings. The heritage statement supporting the application indicates comprehensive retention of historic/architecturally important features and HCS would emphasise the need to ensure protection of these elements during the period of building work.
HCS does not object to the external interventions proposed. Indeed, it considers that the entrance to John William Street could be extended to indicate access to part of the building for which will serve other uses, subject to suitable detailing and proportions.
HCS would support the display of historic material relating to the founding of Rugby League at the hotel (some of which was formerly housed within the hotel's RL Heritage Centre) with the agreement of the RFL, University of Huddersfield, which holds the Rugby League archives, and Kirklees Council, should future town centre cultural developments be implemented.
Finally, the success, viability and longevity of the development and its associated businesses will be greatly enhanced if Kirklees Council and its partners are able to secure a link between St George's Square and the Railway Warehouse and its adjoining land. The George (and other developments such as Estate Buildings), would benefit enormously from such an initiative being realised.
Planning application 2018/93591 Location: Castle Hill. Description of development: Hotel and restaurant.
Our objection: We consider this application to be unacceptable for the following reasons: It contradicts both local and national planning policies. Indeed, the proposal creates greater impacts than those indicated on previously refused applications for development of the site. Kirklees Council has itself recognised the importance in historic, archaeological and environmental terms for protecting the hill and its surroundings and support would seriously undermine the Council’s consistency of approach in determining such applications.
Wording within the draft Local Plan as well as the Castle Hill Setting Study produced by Kirklees Council in 2016, makes it clear that proposals which detrimentally effect Castle Hill and its undeveloped slopes and summit will not be allowed. To reverse such policies, especially given the footprint of the development exceeds previously refused proposals, is considered unacceptable. The fact that the current proposal indicates a contemporary design with use of non-traditional materials in no way mitigates from the above policies. Indeed, the visual impact of such a development would be greater and at odds with the surrounding built environment and totally alien to the setting.
The proposal flies in the face of green belt policy, the site’s designation as a Scheduled Ancient Monument and the setting of the listed Victoria Tower. Castle Hill is, perhaps, the most iconic symbol of the area and the iron age hillfort is comparable to similar protected sites around the country, for example Maiden Castle in Dorset where any provision for visitors is off site. Development on the very top of the hill as proposed would be seen as an act of gross vandalism.
The applicant’s Planning Statement states (3.4), ‘Today visitors find no public conveniences, nowhere to obtain refreshments’. The Castle Hill Management Advisory Group’s aim to ensure ‘that Castle Hill remains a special place’ indicates that it is already a special place and has little need of a place to obtain refreshments or ancillary facilities. Equally bogus is the statement (3.7) that the ‘Council’s Business Team supported the proposals and expressed the view that from a tourism point of view this is a unique location and it is sensible to target both day and overnight visitors.’ There is clearly need for more and better tourist accommodation but this statement should not imply accommodation provision is necessary on this site. Furthermore, the proposed bedrooms are not significant in regard to Kirklees overall provision where demand is closely linked to locational factors.
Clearly such statements are misleading. Castle Hill is noted for its repeat visits, by both local people and tourists and there is no doubt that they come for its setting, peace and historic associations without the need for further facilities. It is as important to Kirklees as Stonehenge is to Wiltshire. Would anyone consider refreshment facilities and a hotel on the latter site?
One element of the Planning Statement that can be supported concerns the poor level of Council investment in maintaining the site. However, the assertion (4.4) that ‘The Council, with its severe funding constraints, is unlikely to make any meaningful contribution on its own’ does, in no way provide a rationale for accepting this current proposal. Kirklees Council would remain responsible for the lion’s share of the site and its maintenance.
The proposed access arrangements appear both unworkable and contrary to highway design guidelines. Since no quota on vehicles accessing the hilltop can be applied and large functions at the hotel could add substantially to the movement of vehicles up and down the hill, there appears to be no consideration should drivers encounter difficulties along this narrow twisting road, nor the question of access from or into Lumb Lane and its junction with the increasingly busy Ashes Lane.
Planning application 2018/92687 and 2018/92647 Location: Former site of Kirklees College, New North Road. Description of development: Mixed Use and listed building consent for alterations and demolition.
Our objections: While Huddersfield Civic Society accepts the uses proposed (mainly residential) for the site, the overall design raises some concerns. Critically, the proposals have a profound impact on the setting of the listed Infirmary building, which, as a Grade 2* building is considered of regional importance, the impact on houses on Portland Street and the adjacent Conservation Area, and the aspect of the new build from the ring road.
The uniformity and 'international' style (ie it could be anywhere) of the various blocks, and their mass, articulation and fenestration, particularly those adjacent to the Infirmary, fail to reflect the architectural quality of the listed building and the town’s distinctive architectural quality. There is no suggestion that the society seeks a Neo-Georgian pastiche, rather that the design shows greater understanding of its impact and setting in relation to its surroundings.
The proportion and relationship of 19th and early 20th century extensions to the Infirmary building demonstrate, in many ways, a greater understanding of the architectural qualities of the original building and make a significant contribution to the built environment of the area north of the ring road, particularly in relation to adjoining the Conservation Area and listed buildings extending northwards beyond the site.
While the society does not wish to argue for the retention of all these structures, it is felt that the wing designed by local architect, John Kirk in 1874 and the wing containing the water tower are distinctive and architecturally important features. Furthermore, they provide a greater level of distinctiveness and understanding of the aesthetics of the setting than do the proposed replacement blocks. Given these lie within the curtilage of the listed building, no approval for new buildings should be given until there is substantial and convincing evidence that these structures cannot be successfully restored and re-used.
In addition, there are concerns regarding the level of metal cladding rather than the use of stone, particularly in relation to buildings along Portland Street and the adjacent Conservation area, although the sandstone rain-screen cladding would be acceptable and could provide a level of patterning to create a modicum of distinctiveness and interest.
Finally, any permission should ensure that those buildings which are retained are converted and suitably restored as part of an agreed phased development and are not neglected should part(s) of the site be disposed of.
Planning application2017/94109 Location: Queensgate House, Queensgate, Huddersfield, HD1 2RR. Description of development: Change of use and extension of the existing office building to create 156 student bedrooms including a gym, cycle and refuse storage area, student 'hub' space, plant and services and associated landscaping.
Our objection: This confusing application is for an extension to an existing building when in fact it would involve its demolition and replacement with a larger structure clad in entirely inappropriate material. When Queensgate House was constructed, relatively recently, the Planning Authority placed specific limitations on its massing, height and appearance, as it sits at a key gateway in the town.
This proposal contravenes all these conditions: it represents over-development of a relatively small site; it is far too tall and, by replacing the stipulated stone with brick, the cladding contravenes UDP policy BE11, NPPF paragraph 60 and the Draft Local Plan response page 156. The applicant makes much of the building’s position vis-à-vis Lowry’s celebrated 1960s painting of the scene from Chapel Hill. This proposed development would significantly damage the vista which has such importance for local people.
Planning Committee Decision: Refused.
APPLICATION NUMBER 2016/92030 Locations: Proposed Kingsgate Leisure and Retail Development, 20-22 Cross Church Street, Fleece Yard, Sun Inn Yard, White Lion Yard, land at r, Huddersfield, Cross Church Street, Huddersfield, HD1 2TP. Description of development: Listed Building Consent for erection of extension to existing Kingsgate Shopping Centre to form new Leisure Development including new cinema and restaurants, and demolition of existing buildings on the site including 20-24 Cross Church Street (partly within a Conservation Area).
Our comment: The Society is pleased that its original objections to the canopy and way markers have been heard and that both have been removed from the plan. We are also supportive of the use of natural stone on the visible elevations as now proposed in the amended plans. There are still concerns that the hanging sign could set a precedent for other listed buildings, but overall we are satisfied that our original fears have been assuaged. We would ask to be consulted before the proposed "public art" is commissioned.
Planning Authority Decision: Permitted.
APPLICATION NUMBER 2017/90951 Location: Longdenholme, 34, Greenhead Road, Huddersfield, HD1 4EZ. Description of development: Conversion of existing coach house to form 2 dwellings, erection of one dwelling, new vehicular access and parking/turning (within a Conservation Area).
Our objection: This application should be refused as it would have a severe detrimental effect on the character of Greenhead Conservation Area and the setting of the listed Greenhead Park, particularly the War Memorial designed by Sir Charles Nicholson in 1922 which was recently up-graded to Grade II* owing to its remarkable scale, exploiting to the maximum effect its siting on the Belvedere of 1881-4. The main detriment to this sensitive site comes from the proposed removal of huge sections of the high stone wall with profiled copings and an ornate gated pedestrian access on Park Drive South.
All this destruction is proposed to gain vehicular access to the site; this is neither necessary nor desirable. Park Drive South is narrow with parking all along the opposite side of the road. Vehicular access should remain as it is at present from Greenhead Road as this is far more suited to the role, being on a bus route as well as being free from car parking. The proposed two storey extension to the west of the stable block would lead to the diminution of the imposing chimney stack, which forms an iconic part of the building designed by the renowned local architect Ben Stocks: the extension should not be permitted. The proposed new house should not have the ground floor extension as it is not in keeping with the character of the Conservation Area.
Planning Authority Decision: Permitted, but, with the exception of vehicular access, all our objections dating back to 2015 have been satisfied.
APPLICATION NUMBER: 2017/92393 Location: 27, Greenhead Road, Huddersfield, HD1 4EN. Description of development: Listed Building Consent for erection of four non-illuminated signs (Conservation Area).
Our objection: These proposed signs are totally inappropriate for use on this Listed Building in a Conservation Area. The signage is almost laughable in its unsuitability: each is too large, harming the integrity of the building's frontage; the three designs being both tawdry and garish, paying no respect whatsoever to the character of the Conservation Area, causing substantial harm contrary to UDP Policies BE3 and BE13 as well as NPPF paragraphs 128-133. This application should be refused.
Planning Authority Decision: All proposed signage altered to our satisfaction and permitted.
APPLICATION NUMBER: 2017/62/92744/W Location: Birks Farm, Arkenley Lane, Almondbury, Huddersfield, HD8 0LH. Description of development: Erection of detached dwelling and demolition of existing building.
Our objection: This application should be refused as it constitutes inappropriate development in the Green Belt contrary to Kirklees UDP and the NPPF. No very special circumstances have been provided which could override the protected status of the site. This application does not satisfy any of the criteria required for a building to be permitted in the Green Belt: it is not for agricultural or forestry use; it is not an outdoor sports facility or a cemetery; nor is it a replacement of a current building for the same use. By no stretch of the imagination could this huge proposed house on a relatively isolated site be described as "infill" in a village setting, nor does it contribute to affordable housing in a rural community. If permitted, this application would set a very dangerous precedent for further unwarranted housing development in this most iconic of rural settings contiguous with a Conservation Area.