HCS Members’ Update July 2023

Golcar Providence Methodist Church which will be one of the main attractions during an evening walk through Golcar. Photo by Andy Hirst from AH! PR.


Thursday, August 24 at 6pm: Evening Walk Around Golcar – followed by Supper at the Colne Valley Museum. Meet: Providence Methodist Church, Knowl Road, Golcar.

Our summer evening guided walk takes us on an exploration of the Methodist and Anglican churches, together with a tour/history of the village and ends at Colne Valley Museum for a pea and pie supper with a hot drink at about 7.30 pm (and a look around for those who wish).  Please let us know if you have any special dietary requirements.

The walking tour will last approximately 90 minutes. The evening costs £8 including supper for HCS members. Non-members will be charged £10. Numbers will be limited to 25 people so don’t delay in booking a place for yourself and any guests you wish to bring.

Bookings must be no later than Tuesday, August 8 please as we need to confirm numbers with the museum for supper by contacting Michael Barron, email: , telephone: 01484 537080.

Discover Huddersfield Walks’ Programme 2023

The next walk – Huddersfield Textile Walk – is at 2.30pm on Sunday, July 30. Join Carol Hardy and Julie Mahoney to explore some major locations associated with textile manufacturing. Bookings can be made up to 14 days before the walk through Eventbrite by going to bit.ly/42gClji

Thursday, September 7 at 7pm: Kingsgate – 20th Anniversary, Current Development Proposals. Details and venue in a future update.

Thursday, October 19 at 7pm: Huddersfield Modernism: From Art Deco to Brutalism. A joint event with Huddersfield Modernists. Details and venue in a future update.

Huddersfield Cultural Heart

Kirklees Cabinet meeting on June 27 approved spending a further £5.62m on the next stage of the Cultural Heart development and the implementation of phase 1 (new library, food hall, events square/public realm and the associated service areas).

While heartened by the efforts to move the scheme forward to the next stage, HCS has major concerns regarding the proposal to amalgamate the museum and art gallery within the former library. The report stated that ‘because economic constraints’ need to be considered, one of the opportunities currently being explored ‘is the combining of the museum and gallery into one building to provide the most cost-effective solution in terms of capital spend and operational costs’ and find another purpose for the art gallery building.

The concept of a Cultural Heart emphasised the importance of improving and re-developing the library, museum and art gallery. There is a clear danger of this ambitious scheme being watered down by limiting the key elements on which the ‘cultural heart’ concept was initially based. Combining these important assets will severely limit the space needed to re-house the excellent collection currently at Tolson Museum and restrict the art gallery from displaying its important collection and hosting touring exhibitions.

The spatially co-ordinated design by consultant architects FCB on which the planning permission was based provided a museum of 5,918sqm and an art gallery of 3,043 sqm. By suggesting both could fit into one building it assumes the museum could be reduced to half the proposed area planned by FCB or that both will lose a considerable amount of floor area.

Are we, therefore, to assume there will be a requirement to re-consult the public on these elements?

As I write I am hoping to organise a meeting with a number of other local organisations who have expressed similar concerns.

Transport News

Thanks to colleague Geoff Hughes for providing the following update on transport matters.

Station Gateway

Following on from my last update there appears to have been no progress on the draft brief regarding the cross-station links. We had hoped to have been consulted on work to develop the business case by now. Let’s hope the wait won’t be as bad as that faced by those hoping to catch a train on time!

Transpennine Route Upgrade

Preparatory work continues year with periodic line closures while preceding work, eg rebuilding Morley station, continues. Momentum is building at project sites, including at Alder Street, where significant earth moving and construction is taking place.

No news though on dates for major work activities and for timing of anticipated long-duration local road/bridge/line closures on John William Street, along Leeds Road and the Cooper Bridge area. Similarly, there is no news on when the proposed temporary station at Alder Street may come into use.

A62 Leeds Road Improvements

This scheme has now been completed for nearly a mile out from the ring road with a major redesign of the area around the entrance to the Great Northern Retail Park. Kirklees Council is to be congratulated on constructing Huddersfield’s first substantive new cycle lanes along this section and high quality landscaping. Included are several sections of shared cycle/pedestrian paving and a number of dedicated cycle crossings.

Unfortunately, there are numerous design problems and several serious build problems that affect cyclists and pedestrians. HCS and the Huddersfield Unlimited Transport Group has notified the Kirklees Highways project group of these issues and been told that ‘snagging’ discussions with the contractors are underway.

However, the group is very concerned that some issues may not be corrected and that lessons may not be learned for future schemes.

Town Centre Maintenance

Last summer I contacted Kirklees Council regarding dying trees and poorly managed planters saying: “I was dismayed to see dead and dying trees in the planters in St George’s Square and weeds filling the planters opposite the town hall … it reflects the concerns articulated by the Society in relation to ambitious improvement programmes, such as New Street. If revenue resources are limiting the proper management and maintenance of existing areas there has to be an increasing level of concern regarding certain initiatives being pursued within the Blueprint area.’

Now with dry weather again affecting us and no visible improvement in maintaining planters, concerns have recently been highlighted in the Huddersfield Examiner under the headline, ‘Kirklees Council accused of letting trees and flowers die in scorching heat’ (June 14, 2023).

With what appears to be growing numbers of local people visiting Halifax, Brighouse and other neighbouring towns, poor perceptions could have a lasting effect on a town’s ability to retain existing footfall.

Both the Civic Society and, it appears, the majority of local residents welcome the aspirations contained in the Blueprint for the town centre. Therefore, it is of mounting concern that unless these important issues are addressed, public confidence in the council’s ability to effectively manage current and planned improvements will dissipate.

Civic Society announces Winner of Sustainable Architecture Prize 2023

HCS has announced the winner of its annual Peter Stead Award.

The award, organised in association with the University of Huddersfield Department of Architecture and 3D Design, is presented to the student who, in the opinion of the judges, produces the best project focussing on the issue of sustainability.

From the four nominated submissions judged by HCS Executive Committee members Sylvia Johnson and Gideon Richards it was decided that this year’s winner was architecture student Stacey Barratt who received the £200 prize.

The Peter Stead Award is named after the designer, architect, writer and innovator responsible for some of Huddersfield’s most remarkable post war houses and long-time member of the society, who died in 1999. The award also demonstrates our continuing positive working relationship with the University of Huddersfield and its staff.