Erection of two storey welfare facility building (within a Conservation Area). Greenhead Park Depot, Trinity Street, Huddersfield

2023/92417 (click on application number to go to full application on Kirklees planning website)    

Erection of two storey welfare facility building (within a Conservation Area). Greenhead Park Depot, Trinity Street, Huddersfield, HD1 4DT.

Huddersfield Civic Society is happy to support the principle of improved welfare facilities for staff working in, or based at, the depot in Greenhead Park, this being a Grade 2 registered park within the Greenhead Conservation Area. However, we have a number of concerns about these proposals.

We question whether a registered park in a conservation area is an appropriate location for new facilities which go beyond the provision of staff welfare, eg approx. 33sqm of office space, a 25sqm meeting/training room and a 33sqm canteen/kitchen.

The Heritage statement says: “Furthermore, the proposed location of the building is such that it will allow for flexible adaptation of the remaining depot site in the future without requiring any adaptations to the welfare facilities”.

We understand that there are already ample facilities of all types at Huddersfield Civic Centre, a nearby location with good parking and close to excellent public transport facilities.

The proposed two-storey, flat-roofed building is to be ‘finished with plastisol coated composite cladding to all elevations” – this looks a poor match to the high quality, traditional stone-built and tiled buildings close by in the conservation area.

Although the proposed location – at a high point in the park – is currently surrounded by shrubs and trees, should these no longer be present this building would be very visible. Accordingly, it would surely be better to plan a building here that is appropriate to the park setting.

We are disappointed to see the proposal is to install a new gas boiler when the existing depot area has ample space to install an electric heat pump as part of the necessary reconfiguration of utility services for any new building here. Given that considerable space within the existing depot area is used for vehicle parking, we would also expect to see plans for the contemporary installation of e-charging facilities for Parks Service vehicles based in, or visiting, this depot.

In summary, there is no evidence to explain the building size or materials, why it needs be two-storeys high (with no lift/disabled access upstairs), why non-welfare rooms cannot be multi-purpose and why there appear to be no plans towards meeting the energy requirements of Kirklees Council’s climate emergency, which was declared in 2019.

Surely this ought be a unique opportunity to achieve a simple and unique structure in sustainable materials, showcasing a model of clean energy use in this, Huddersfield’s premier open space?