HCS Members’ Update April 2024

HCS AGM and Design Award Presentations, Tuesday, March 26, 2024

It was heartening to see so many attend our AGM and Design Award presentations just over a week ago.

For those unable to attend the evening details of the winning developments can be found on the HCS website News and Design Awards pages with the overall winner the new A&E unit at Huddersfield Royal Infirmary (pictured). Our thanks to the Mayor of Kirklees, Clr Cahal Burke, for presenting the awards and to architects Adrian Pitts and Jonathan Lovett whose presentations on What is ‘Good’ Design were worthy of a separate event in the future.

At the close, HCS President Bernard Ainsworth presented our departing committee colleagues, treasurer Michael Barron and minutes secretary Martin Kilburn, with small tokens of our appreciation for their input to our work and initiatives.

Michael, after 18 years as treasurer, and his wife Winifred, are soon heading to a new home in Nantwich. Martin will remain a local resident and will no doubt be watchful for any resumption of plans at Castle Hill to develop part of this unique hillfort site which the society has always strongly resisted.

With their departure I am most grateful to Geoff Hughes and Gideon Richards for taking on the roles of secretary and interim treasurer and welcome Amanda Boothroyd to the committee.

Future Events

Transpennine Route Upgrade:  Presentation by Paul Sumner, Network Rail, on Thursday, April 25 at 7pm at New North Road Baptist Church.

It’s only three weeks before this re-scheduled event. If you haven’t already done so you can still book a place by going to https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/transforming-huddersfields-railway-the-transpennine-route-upgrade-tickets-829967333637?aff=erelexpmlt

St George’s Quarter – A Jewel in Huddersfield’s Crown: Presentation by Susan Meadwell, Project Director, Thursday, May 23 at 7pm at New North Road, Baptist Church

A rare opportunity for you to hear the aspirations of Hd1 Developments, owners of SGQ, the St George’s Quarter former railway warehouse in Huddersfield’s town centre.

Susan Meadwell, Project Director for SGQ, will comment on the array of development designs explored, describe the capital works completed to date and present current thinking in bringing the warehouse back into use.

As a Grade II listed building within a Conservation Area and at over 14,800 sq metres there are significant challenges in the aim to protect, conserve and adapt SGQ for future use. The global push to net zero introduces new business pressures and opportunities. 

Retrofitting SGQ for sustainability, energy efficiency, AI technology and providing a high level of occupant well-being are the key areas being embraced within the innovation and development process.

Book now to secure your place at this event which will look at the history and the future potential of this great landmark at the centre of our town, by going to https://bit.ly/49nTslF

It’s free for HCS members. A recommended £5 donation from non-members will help towards costs. This amount will be deducted from the annual HCS membership charge (£12.50 individuals, £30 corporate) for those non-members who join the Society on the evening.

HCS Promotion Event – Kingsgate, Saturday, June 1

Kingsgate Centre Manager Jonathan Hardy has kindly offered HCS a display unit from which we intend to promote the work of the society and, hopefully, recruit new members. I hope that some of our members will not only be able to visit us on the day but may be willing to help and promote our work and initiatives. Please let me know if you are able to support us on the day – it’s useful to involve other than those on the committee. Further details in my next update.

Discover Huddersfield

David Griffith’s recent walk to look at the Villas of Edgerton sold out in 36 hours so be sure to book in time. Places must be pre-booked via Eventbrite (http://bit.ly/DiscoverHuddersfield) from 14 days before each walk with only 25 spaces available every time. The next walks are ‘A Walk Through Lindley’s History’ on Sunday, April 7 and ‘Exploring Marsden – The Growth of a Village’ on Sunday, April 21.

And More to Come

We are drip-feeding this year’s events to HCS members as we finalise arrangements, both for further presentations and for visits further afield including Wakefield and Sunnybank Mills, Farsley. These take quite a bit of planning and, again, it would be so useful to have more members on board to help us organise the programme.

Our Wakefield visit will take place in the third week of July and booking details will be included in my May update.

Planning Matters

Application number: 2024/90257

Variation on previous permission 2022/93248 for demolition of existing Piazza shopping centre; part removal of Queensgate Market.

In my last update I stated that ‘a submission on the proposals is being submitted in the next few days which will be added to our Planning website pages’. This has now done. As you can see, while broadly supportive of the changes there are a number of requests and concerns.

One particular area of concern is the relationship of these amended plans with the wider Cultural Heart framework and I have written to David Shepherd, Strategic Director Growth and Regeneration, saying: “While recognising the critical financial situation Kirklees Council finds itself in it is, nonetheless, considered important for both HCS members and the wider public to understand the impact and possible mitigation steps that need to be considered in relation to both the vacant land and buildings between Phase 1 and King Street and the site for the multi-storey car park.

“Without such consideration it is felt the Phase 1 developments could become isolated from areas of major footfall and business activity. This is exacerbated by the fact that the dynamics of the overall proposal, as prepared by FCB (the initial consultants), have now changed and will no doubt be subject to further iterations, for example the abandonment of the new build gallery and possible educational use for the site.”

Kirklees Sale of Listed Buildings

Perhaps it comes as no surprise the Kirklees Council had decided to dispose of a number of properties, including several important listed buildings. The Creative Lofts within the Mechanics Institution on Northumberland Street is just one example, comprising 21 live work units originally converted with support from the European Union in the early 1990s as part of the then expanding Media Centre.

Another building, the lodge at Edgerton Cemetery is, similarly, Grade II listed and concern about the condition of this building has been raised several times by HCS at meetings with the council’s conservation officers. Let’s hope disposal will result in careful and considerate restoration and the council will take appropriate measures to ensure such buildings are not vandalised and left in an increasingly dilapidated state while purchasers are being identified.

Best wishes,

David Wyles, HCS chairman