HCS Members’ Update Late October 2023

Image of what the new Cultural Heart in Huddersfield town centre will look like

Written by Huddersfield Civic Society chairman David Wyles

Huddersfield Cultural Heart

In my last update I mentioned a meeting held with several other local organisations who shared similar concerns regarding the proposal to amalgamate the town’s museum and art gallery under one roof, thereby significantly reducing exhibition space from that indicated in the approved Cultural Heart proposals and in relation to lack of investment/ maintenance as well as the future of Tolson Museum.

Since then I have received helpful comments from Huddersfield and District Archaeological Society (HDAS) which has articulated its concerns about the size of the museum (5,918 m2 for the museum and 3,043m2 for the art gallery) and the likely reduction in floor space for exhibits and exhibitions.

Concern is also expressed about the conservation of collections and status, the cost of the scheme escalating in the current economic climate (£5.62m quoted in October 2022), finds and collections in general and future capacity, the ability of a watered down scheme being able to achieve the objective of revitalising the town centre and the future for the Tolson building which is covenanted to the people of the town for educational purposes and is a listed building.

HDAS has agreed to participate in any broader collective response and emphasise its concerns around the size of the proposed museum and exhibitions, as well as the care and status of collections. We will be liaising with the other societies in order to present our joint concerns and suggestions to Kirklees Council which I shall share with all our members.

George Hotel

It’s understood that despite some worries expressed by our members regarding the likelihood of this important scheme not progressing as a result of increasing financial constraints, we are pleased to confirm that Kirklees has a signed agreement with Radisson to operate the hotel, contractor Morgan Sindall (known to some for their work on major Huddersfield University projects) is now undertaking survey work within the building and it’s hoped that construction works will commence in 2024.

Planning Issues

As usual we try and respond to planning applications that appear relevant to the society and its objectives and I thank committee colleague Robert Taylor for identifying proposals which may be worthy of a formal response from the weekly list of submitted applications. For example, we have submitted our disappointment with regard to a proposed welfare block at Greenhead Park depot, suggesting the scheme should be a smaller, simpler and more sustainable building, complementary to the park and its historic/cultural importance to the town.

If you haven’t looked for some time you will find responses such as this on the HCS website Planning pages.

Transport News

Given the news about HS2 we can be thankful that work progresses on the Transpennine upgrade. Disappointingly though we still have received no news about the allocated WY Combined Authority funding for the Station Gateway.

In early June I reported that comments on the draft brief were awaited before consultants were appointed. This appears still not to have taken place.


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

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

If you haven’t already booked here’s a final notice about this joint event in association with Huddersfield Modernists.

Eddy Rhead from the Modernist Society and a panel will aim to reveal what Modernism is, looking at structures as diverse as Huddersfield library and art gallery, Farnley Hey and Emley Moor Mast and what happens when modernist buildings are no longer modern.

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

Discover Huddersfield Walks Programme 2023

Only two walks remain for the 2023 season. On Sunday, October 22 at 2.30pm I’ll will be leading the walk around the university campus looking at the history of the site and the remarkable variety of buildings that exist, covering a period of almost 250 years.

At 2.30pm on Sunday, October 29 Dave Verguson will again lead the popular Walk Through Lindley’s History.
Bookings can be made up to 14 days before the walk through Eventbrite by going to: bit.ly/42gClji

Hopefully, my next update will report on work to update and improve the HCS website now that it holds more and more information, investigations and proposals on Biodiversity Net Gain conditional planning requirements applied to large housing developments and future events.