HCS Members’ Update Late August 2023

Thursday, September 7 at 7pm: Celebrating 21 years of Kingsgate – a new chapter unfolds.

New North Road Baptist Church, New North Parade Huddersfield HD1 5JU

Jonathan Hardy – the man at the helm of the Kingsgate Shopping Centre, will reveal the story of 21 years of Kingsgate Shopping Centre and work now underway on an ambitious development programme and expansion into the leisure sector.

Jonathan will reflect on how and why Huddersfield’s premier retail venue came into existence, the changing landscape of town centre retailing over the years and the challenges faced post Covid, Brexit and the cost-of-living crisis.

The story will take us through to the current development activity which will see the establishment of much-needed leisure facilities to encourage visitors into the town.

Jonathan’s presentation will be supported by a range of visuals from the past, present and future with the opportunity to ask questions at the end of the presentation which is expected to finish around 8.30pm.

Entry is free to HCS members with non-members asked for a donation of £5. Those attending and wishing to become a member of HCS will be given the opportunity to become a member for an additional £5 on the night.
Booking via Eventbrite: https://bit.ly/Kingsgate21years

If you want to hear about future HCS events as soon as they become bookable on Eventbrite, please tick the box “Keep me updated on more events and news from this event organiser” when you make your Eventbrite booking for our September 7 talk.

Discover Huddersfield Walks Programme 2023

Three walks are scheduled to take place during Kirklees Heritage Open Days (see below).   On Sunday, September 10 at 2.30pm join John Lambe for an exploration of places associated with Irish immigration to the area.

On Wednesday September 13 at 2.30pm Lorna Brooks will reveal ‘The Changing Face of Birkby’ and on Sunday, September 17 at 2.30pm the extraordinary engineering feats that enabled the construction of canal and railway from Marsden to Tunnel End will be explained in association with Huddersfield Canal Society.

Bookings can be made up to 14 days before the walk through Eventbrite by going to: bit.ly/42gClji

Kirklees Heritage Open Days, September 8 to 17, 2023

Explore Kirklees’ history at FREE Heritage Open Days events from September 8 to 17 (full brochure at the end of this update). Discover an all-time record programme of 96 FREE events and over 40 new venues. England’s largest history and culture festival offers architecture, hidden gems, walks, talks and much more.

Behind-the-scenes visits to buildings, guided walks, hands-on craft sessions, exhibitions, film shows, parks and nature are featured as well as performances linked to Kirklees Year of Music and venues celebrating Yorkshire Churches Day on September 16.

For event listings and visiting information (including advice about whether you need to book a free place) check out the link:  https://tinyurl.com/kirkleeshods2023

Thursday, October 19 at 7pm: Huddersfield Modernism: From Art Deco to Brutalism

New North Road Baptist Church, New North Parade, Huddersfield, HD1 5JU

A joint event with Huddersfield Modernists.

In his 2021 book, Modern Buildings in Britain: A Gazetteer, Owen Hatherley observed that “modernism is now a century old and its consequences are all around us, built into our everyday lived environments.”

Indeed, from the bold colours and geometries of art deco and style moderne to the glass and concrete functionalism of Bauhaus and brutalism, modernist architecture and urban planning defined the 20th century.

But what is modernism? Why was it so popular? Where can you see it on the streets of Huddersfield and the surrounding valleys? Does it make sense to use the same term to describe structures as diverse as the library and art gallery, Farnley Hey and Emley Moor mast? And what happens when modernist buildings are no longer modern? Can, or should, a modern building or structure be preserved?

Join Huddersfield Civic Society and Huddersfield Modernists for a talk by Eddy Rhead from the Modernist Society and a panel session aimed at answering these very questions — and a few more from the audience.
Admission: Free to members of Huddersfield Civic Society or the Modernist Society. Donation of £5 per person requested at the door from non-members.

Booking via Eventbrite: https://bit.ly/45kFsYI

Huddersfield Cultural Heart

Last month I wrote about HCS concerns regarding the proposal to amalgamate 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. This decision was particularly worrying given the Cultural Heart proposals only received planning permission in March 2023.

As a result of Kirklees Council’s report, several other local organisations shared similar concerns and last week a meeting was held between representatives from HCS, Huddersfield Local History Society, Huddersfield and District Archaeological Society, Friends of Tolson Museum and Kirkburton History Group. The group intends to question how the initial and proposed decisions were reached, what future actions are to be taken e.g. will there be further public consultation and a need to submit a revised planning application and what does this mean for the future of Tolson Museum and Art Gallery, given the considerable reduction in floorspace for displays and collections.

I will report what actions are to be taken by the group in a future update.

Transport News

A629 Halifax Road Improvement Proposals

Committee colleague Geoff Hughes has contacted Kirklees Council 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 showed an ‘end consultation’ date of August 4, 2023.

The Society made a substantive comment to the original (2021) consultation yet only found out by accident that major changes have been proposed with around 30 new documents entered since June 2023 against this application and around 100 now showing as ‘superseded’.

While the society is pleased that one controversial part of the original scheme – at the A629/Blacker Road junction – appears to have been removed, it is noted 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 HCS chooses to object to this revised A629 Phase 5 scheme, the Society has urgently asked 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 300 or so who commented on the previous version of the scheme.