HCS Members’ Update February 2024

Things are warming up – not only the weather (hopefully) but a number of events and initiatives. Here’s a short summary with more to be found on our recently re-launched web site and social media pages:  (https://www.huddersfieldcivicsociety.org.uk), Facebook pages (https://www.facebook.com/HuddersfieldCivicSociety/) and Instagram (huddersfieldcivicsociety).

February Events

Last call for booking a place at the Transpennine Route Upgrade presentation by Paul Sumner, Senior Sponsor, Network Rail, Thursday, February 8, 2024, 7pm at New North Parade Baptist Church. To book your place please go to http://bit.ly/48kZMKZ.

Thursday, February 29, 7pm; Head of Steam, St George’s Square

HCS Members’ Open Evening.

I hope you will be able to attend our informal open evening, the first we have held in a number of years. For details of the evening, booking and the option for ordering supper at the event please see the attached invitation and pie menu.

March Event

HCS AGM and 2023 Design Award Presentations, Tuesday, March 26, 6.30pm. Brian Jackson House, New North Parade, Huddersfield.

Please make every effort to join us for our AGM followed by an evening comprising several 10-minute presentations by architectural experts on the theme ‘What is GoodDesign’, followed by presentation of the awards by the Mayor of Kirklees, Clr Cahal Burke. Plus, we’ll be serving tea, coffee and biscuits between the AGM and the presentations with the whole evening finishing by 9pm.

Further details and papers for the AGM will be sent out in early March.

Discover Huddersfield

Details of the 2024 walks programme are currently being finalised with the walks leaflet produced and the DH website updated by the end of the month. As in previous years, walks must be pre-booked via Eventbrite no more than 14 days before each walk date by going to http://bit.ly/DiscoverHuddersfield

2024 walks include the Villas of Edgerton, Exploring Castle Hill, an Urban Safari, Musical Sites of Huddersfield and 13 others, starting with The Irish in Huddersfield on Sunday, March 10.

Each walk lasts between 90 minutes and two hours and costs £4.50 per person.

Update on meeting with Helen Bower, Kirklees Team Leader-Conservation, Design, Ecology & Trees. January 17, 2024.

Our meeting with Helen helped to clarify the position with regard to key listed buildings at risk, enforcement matters and the emerging requirement for Biodiversity Net Gain contributions from residential developers.

Key areas included HCS request for heightened efforts to prevent further deterioration of the Grade 2* former infirmary and need for appropriate legal action, similar concerns regarding buildings such as the vacant Oakes school and the need for Kirklees Council itself to address the issue of vacant and deteriorating properties in its own portfolio by securing agreement to dispose of such property e.g. Edgerton Cemetery gatehouse and chapels.

In relation to enforcement matters, we emphasised the fact that public information on the Kirklees website about outcomes on specific cases is poor and requires improvement and received comfort in hearing that the enforcement compliance team is ensuring actions to correct breaches of law were being implemented. We requested further information regarding enforcement of illegal shop signage on Trinity Street.

HCS Launches Revised Website

Just in case you hadn’t noticed, the new HCS website is now live: https://huddersfieldcivicsociety.org.uk/ – do have a look and make it one of your ‘favourites’. Many thanks to Andy Hirst () for getting this up and running!

It includes a very large number of fairly small changes to the look and feel of the previous material plus new capabilities, such as a powerful search facility. A key feature is that it is based on standard modern software that should work properly on all sizes of devices, shouldn’t give worrying error messages and should last HCS well into the future. As each entry can now be a separate webpage, we have left behind the old days of having to scroll down screen after screen to try and find the news or planning item that you were searching for.  

The bottom of the home page also has links to our actual/intended Facebook, Instagram and Twitter/X accounts. This will enable us to improve our publicity and link between the various platforms to better reach audiences who prefer their information by different channels.

Have a look and find your way round the new HCS website. We’d be happy to receive your suggestions as to how we might want to tailor or make additions to the new site.

The Huddersfield Broad Canal Towpath and Huddersfield Narrow Canal Towpath Upgrade Project: Public Engagement.

Following the award of £2.3 million from the government’s Active Travel Fund, Kirklees, in collaboration with the Canal & River Trust and the West Yorkshire Combined Authority, are developing proposals to improve parts of our local canal towpath network, provide mostly flat, attractive, traffic free routes and enable more people to make more active journeys on foot and by bicycle. Proposed upgrades include introducing a new towpath surface and adjustments to restrictive barriers and focusing on nature and heritage to enhance the canal’s overall appeal and functionality.

In principle we welcome the improvement of these often muddy towpaths and support the idea of wider and better surfaces. However, some may consider certain proposals less than desirable, for example, removing ‘A-frame’ barriers at entry points which may encourage fast riding by cyclists and e-scooter users plus (illegal) access by motorcyclists and quad bike users, though such measures may support those with mobility issues.

The consultation period, which ends on February 25, includes an online survey and webinar and I’d encourage members to view the proposals and take the survey by going to:  https://www.yourvoice.westyorks-ca.gov.uk/canals

That’s all for now. Hope to see you at our February events.

Best wishes,