HCS Members’ Update May 2024

It’s always a quiet period regarding news concerning Kirklees Council around the time of the local elections but there is still plenty of information to share this month.

Future Events:

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

A rare opportunity for you to hear the aspirations of Hd1 Developments, owners of SGQ, the St Georges 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 and 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 they 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

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

Evening Visit to Wakefield Wednesday, July 17, 2024

Our summer evening stroll will take us around part of Wakefield and will be led by Kevin Trickett, MBE, the President of Wakefield Civic Society. 

We meet outside Wakefield Westgate Railway Station at 6.15pm. From here Kevin will lead the walk around the Westgate Heritage Action Zone where a 4-year project to refurbish key buildings and parts of the public realm has just been completed. He will reveal some of the fascinating history of the Westgate area which includes buildings that range from medieval timber-framed properties to the ultra-modern.

The walk will be based on a book Kevin wrote for Wakefield Civic Society as part of the Heritage Action Zone project. Anyone wishing to buy a copy of the book for £3.50 can do so on the night. 

The train from Huddersfield gets in at 6.03pm or there is a multi-storey car park adjacent to the station (parking at 90p per hour, payable on exit) and a number of surface-level car parks a little further away. Note that council-operated car parks are free after 6pm – the closest being Carter Street and Garden Street Car Parks.   

The walking tour will last between 90 minutes and two hours, returning to the station via Westgate where we can enjoy supper at the Black Horse, a busy traditional city pub built in 1818 and of historic interest.


The evening will cost £3 per person (£5 for non-members) and numbers will be limited to 25 people so don’t delay in booking a place for yourself and any guests you wish to bring. If you wish to book supper please consult the website above, choose your meal and let us know what you would like (keep it simple please!). Bookings – no later than Wednesday, July 10 please as we need to confirm numbers and food choices with the pub – by contacting Robert Taylor (Email: ) or David Wyles (Tel 07483 226982, Email: ). Meals to be paid by participants on the evening.  

HCS Promotion Event, Kingsgate, Saturday, June 1

As previously mentioned, on the June 1 HCS has a display unit in Kingsgate 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 give us a hand on the day – it would be good to involve others rather than just those on the committee.

Discover Huddersfield

The next Discover Huddersfield walk will be ‘Exploring Castle Hill’ on Sunday, May 19, led by John Bowen and Linda Beever from Huddersfield & District Archaeological Society

Walks cost £4.50 and must be pre-booked via Eventbrite (http://bit.ly/DiscoverHuddersfield) from 14 days before each walk with only 25 spaces available every time.

Cultural Heart Update

Following comments in my last update, the only significant update is the news that Cliveden Conservation has been sub-contracted by the principal contractor, BAM, to conserve the 10 external decorative panels by Fritz Stellar on the Queensgate façade of the former market hall which is set to become a food hall.  A condition survey has been carried out which will provide evidence for a programme of repair work, expected to be carried out in 2025. Reconstruction repairs will also be carried out to restore some of the missing elements of the panels.

Also, it appears work has now commenced on some internal demolition within the market hall.

Kirklees Heritage Strategy

After a period of consultation, the revised Kirklees Heritage Strategy, ‘We are Making History’ and its associated Strategic Heritage Action Plan, was presented to Kirklees Council’s Cabinet for approval on April 9 and has now been published. Further activity will take place during 2024 to begin its implementation. 

You can read the strategy at: https://www.kirklees.gov.uk/beta/culture-strategy/heritage-strategy.aspx

To implement the Strategic Heritage Action Plan (SHAP), Kirklees intends to seek external funding which will enable the council to engage further with partner and community organisations and to link up with the council’s Cultural Strategy and Tourism Strategy which are in development currently.

Hopefully, HCS will be involved in future engagement since the communication with the society was initially non-existent until after the initial consultation period had formally ended. The strategy is full of fine words proposing, for example, ‘to adopt a creative, collaborative and innovative approach to heritage sustainability’. This can only be realised if Kirklees adequately resources those teams specifically engaged in Conservation and Enforcement matters and pays due regard to its own buildings plus improved engagement with property owners, their agents and architects in driving investment consistent with heritage protection and enhancement.

Huddersfield Movement and Accessibility Framework

Committee colleague Gideon Richards attended a stakeholder workshop on April 12 organised by Kirklees Council in conjunction with consultants PJA. The consultation period following this meeting ended on May 1 after which the consultants will consider further comments made.

Much of the work focuses on the town centre and ring road with relatively little detail to accompany ideas for facilitating active travel from strategic development sites and longer distance routes. Critical to these developing proposals will be the million-dollar question – where will the money come from to undertake these developing initiatives?

We will share further information with our members as the next stages of the initiative develop.

St Peter’s Gardens

Those wandering around the town centre in the last few weeks will have noticed that work by Huddersfield Parish Church has now begun to create the ‘multifunctional space’ within the area of St Peter’s Gardens adjacent to the church. The chest tomb to Joseph Kaye, the ‘Builder of Huddersfield’ and several other grave markers will be moved to the northwest corner of the church to tie in with the proposed new, accessible entrance.

As members may recall, while understanding the church’s desire to create this space, HCS opposed the proposal which it believes will act as much as a car park as a multi-functional/events space and will effectively reduce the only green ‘lung’ of the town centre.

Sadly, despite several meetings attended by myself and HCS colleagues, Sylvia Johnson and Martin Kilburn, a couple of years ago, Kirklees progress in restoring and redesigning what will be left of the gardens seems to have ground to a halt and been put on the back burner in relation to other town centre masterplan initiatives.

David Wyles

HCS Chairman