HCS Members’ Update November 2023

Nominations invited for Huddersfield Civic Society Design Awards 2023

Huddersfield Civic Society is pleased to announce the re-instatement of its annual Design Awards.

Last held in 2020, the Covid pandemic and resulting slowdown of local development projects resulted in the awards being put on hold. Now we feel it’s time to revive these prestigious awards but we can only succeed if we have the help of HCS members and the general public identifying projects that meet the criteria of good design as outlined below.   

Established in 2012, these prestigious awards have been presented to the very best developments within Huddersfield that have been completed over the years.

Between now and the end of December we hope you will be on the lookout for exemplar projects within the following categories:  Best New Build, Best Shop Front, Best Refurbishment, Best Residential Development, Best Commercial Development and Best Community Project. 

There is no restriction on the number of nominations you submit and can be sent to the society by completing a simple form on our website or emailing us the relevant details (see below). In addition, HCS will be teaming up with the Huddersfield Hub news website so its readers have a chance to vote for the development which they feel has contributed most towards helping improve the quality and image of the town.

Nominated buildings should fall within the former Huddersfield borough boundary which is between Outlane and Fixby in the north, Berry Brow and Almondbury in the south, Milnsbridge in the west and Cooper Bridge and Waterloo in the east. Projects must have been completed between July 1, 2021 and December 31, 2023.

Members have until December 31, 2023 to submit their choices. From nominations submitted, judges will choose the winners from each category. The winners will be presented with specially designed slate trophies with an additional trophy awarded to the outright winner at a presentation event in spring 2024.

Consideration will be given to the following in determining the winning categories:

Quality of design and materials
Appropriateness to street setting and adjacent property
Contribution to environmental sustainability
Quality of landscaping
Contribution to community enhancement

Not only will the awards raise the profile of Huddersfield Civic Society but of the town itself, something that we, as society members, Huddersfield Hub and all its readers are keen to do.

We look forward to receiving your nominations.

Simply download the form attached, fill it in on screen and email it back to 

Planning Issues

Since my last update Robert Taylor has co-ordinated a response to several applications including concerns regarding illuminated signage at the Istanbul restaurant, John William Street and alterations to 94 New North Road, within the Highfields Conservation Area, noted in David Griffith’s book, Highfields – A Most Handsome Suburb (see the HCS website Publications page).

Having found no way of submitting our objections to illuminated signage on the Istanbul Restaurant on John William Street, Robert emailed the planning officer dealing with the application and received the following reply: “Applications for advertisement consent are not required to seek representations under current legislation. The proposal has been reviewed by the Conservation and Design Officer and we are seeking modifications to the scheme. Hopefully I shall receive an amended plan prior to the initial target date of November 23.”

While this is helpful, it is of concern that, given the importance of shopfronts and the poor perception created by inappropriate signage on listed buildings and in Conservation Areas, the society has no facility for objecting formally to such applications.

Also, with an increasing number of unresolved issues regarding listed buildings at risk and enforcement matters relating to various illegal works and required reparations on specific buildings and sites, HCS representatives are hoping to arrange an update meeting with Helen Bower, Kirklees Team Leader for Conservation, Design, Ecology & Trees. I hope this will provide some positive news regarding what sometimes appears to be a deliberate act by some to ignore their responsibilities in terms of maintenance and illegal work on listed buildings, Conservation Areas etc.

Transport News

In my last update I indicated we had not received any news about the allocated West Yorkshire Combined Authority funding for the Station Gateway project. Thankfully, an email from the key Kirklees contact on the issue indicates that things are, at last, moving forward. Comments on the draft brief for a masterplan have been received from the delivery partners, the brief for consultants finalised and options to procure a consultant team are currently being prepared.

Station to Stadium Enterprise Corridor

We have just been made aware that a public consultation has begun regarding the above initiative which is a further strand of the Huddersfield Blueprint. Starting at Huddersfield Railway Station the Enterprise Corridor incorporates land and buildings along Northumberland Street and Leeds Road to the John Smith’s Stadium, as well as incorporating areas off St Andrew’s Road and Gas Works Street. The consultation is on the masterplan framework that sets out the proposed land use plan over the short, medium and long term, supported by an approach for improved connectivity and urban greening. More details can be found here: Have your say on the Station to Stadium Enterprise Corridor | Kirklees Council. The consultation ends on December 8.

Huddersfield Unlimited Mini Conference: Why Huddersfield? Why Now?

This event organised by Huddersfield Unlimited, which is chaired by Sir John Harman, was attended by me and committee colleague Howard Smith.

The overall message of the afternoon was upbeat and summarised the range of strategic projects now taking place around the town and the money being invested. However, despite the fact that we welcome and support progress being made on the Transpennine upgrade and at the university, George Hotel and Kingsgate, we felt that Clr Turner failed to address key issues of perception, promotion and fundamental changes being brought about through financial constraints and lack of consultation. From images/illustrations shown it appeared that Kirklees Council is carrying on regardless of increasing problems and changes are already being made without consultation with HCS and other local organisations.

A few other HCS members also attended and one said: “I feel yesterday’s Huddersfield Unlimited mini-conference did not put enough emphasis on making this a town that is pleasant to live in, to work in, to go out in and to visit. The challenge we face is more than buildings and jobs, although they are important to economic regeneration.”

Blue Plaque Marks Huddersfield Town’s Birthplace.

I was very pleased to be invited to the unveiling ceremony on October 25 of a plaque commemorating the founding of Huddersfield Town Football Club at the Albert Hotel, Victoria Lane, in Huddersfield town centre attended by Sir Patrick Stewart. Organised by Town Supporters’ Association and HCS Member James Chisem and funded by the club, HCS helped co-ordinate the production of the plaque.  

HLHS History Day and Publication, ‘Meet Me at Harold Wilson – Stories from St George’s Square’

I was also delighted to have been invited to give a presentation called ‘St. George’s Square – The Power and the Glory’ at Huddersfield Local History Society’s History Day on Saturday, November 4.

The day focussed around a new HLHS publication called ‘Meet Me at Harold Wilson’, the culmination of the society’s Memories of Our Square’ project and available via the HLHS website and from local bookshops.