St George’s Quarter Railway Warehouse – a jewel in Huddersfield’s Crown but facing a lot of challenges

“Fascinating” is just one of many adjectives you could use to describe the talk given by Susan Meadwell – HD1 Developments Ltd’s Project Director for St George’s Quarter, who is charged with bringing the hugely iconic railway warehouse adjacent to Huddersfield Railway Station back into beneficial use.

Around 40 Huddersfield Civic Society members and guests listened intently as Susan took them through a journey from the warehouse’s birth in 1885 as an extremely innovative and advanced facility for its time, through the ups and downs of its working life, onto the significant investments made by its current owners and finally to the owners’ aspirations to once again make it one of the most advanced and innovative spaces in the town, focussing on the health and wellbeing of its inhabitants.

As a Grade II listed building within a Conservation Area and at over 160,000 sq ft – the largest warehouse in the country when it was built – Susan explained there are significant challenges in the aim to protect, conserve and adapt St George’s Quarter (SGQ) for future use and that 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.

Owned and operated by the Puri family since 1998, St George’s Warehouse has benefitted from a number of multi-million-pound investments in the structural integrity, weather-proofing and external approach to the building.

In 2004-2008 the courtyard entrance was designed and constructed using cobbles and granite to reflect former rail tracks into SGQ.

From 2009 to 2011, all windows and cargo doors were replaced with conservation grade materials and in 2015 a full roof replacement was undertaken using Welsh Slate, including full insulation and the removal all south facing roof lights in anticipation of the future installation of solar panels.

The vision for the future of this unique space is to create a multi-use destination promoting a Circular Economy model which maximises heritage value of SGQ while incorporating modern materials and technology (Internet of Things and Artificial Intelligence) to reduce emissions.

This vision includes:-

  • A green energy hub to generate low carbon electricity using solar panels, battery storage and electricity trading.
  • Aim to repurpose waste from the building’s inhabitants and to recycle and re-use.
  • Grow food via CEA (Controlled Environment Agriculture) floor, to utilise produce on site and sell at local economy level.
  • Directly connect with the train station via subway or bridge
  • Food and drink and leisure offer to compliment rail services and TRU
  • Explore car parking and EV charging forecourt
  • Data Connections – 1Gig+ internet throughout all floors
  • Connect to KMC’s Heat Network in the town centre

Just some of the immense challenges faced by this project are:

  • UK Gov target of Net Zero for UK GHG emissions by 2050.
  • Retrofitting the internal space without significantly impacting historic fabric.
  • Visual impact on the setting of the building.
  • Planning controls, Listed Building Consent, Historic England, Campaigners.
  • UK Net Zero Targets, UK Energy Strategy and increasing energy costs.
  • Lighting strategy.
  • Thermal efficiency improvements.
  • In competition with new build offices better suited to energy efficient design.

Susan concluded this most thought-provoking presentation with a brief summary of the next steps being explored by HD1 Ltd, which include:

  • Working closely with Kirklees Council to understand the demand for offices and residential beyond 2027
  • Understanding Huddersfield Gateway Masterplan implications on the goods yard relationship with passengers and links to the town centre
  • Revisiting existing planning permissions and Listed Building Consents to ensure compatibility with changing needs
  • Consider options for “meanwhile” uses to provide interim revenues.

For enquires or further information regarding HD1 and St George’s Quarter, please contact Susan Meadwell at