George Hotel, Huddersfield

Application to remove the rear wing of a Victorian hotel for modernisation:

The George Hotel holds pride of place on Huddersfield’s famous St George’s Square, which to my mind is one of the most impressive urban environments in the country. Arriving into Huddersfield is an uninterrupted 360 degree vista of imposing stone buildings. It makes a statement.

This element of the building dates from somewhere between 1870 and 1930. The loss of the chimney would be particularly sad, as it brings a lot to the square. The wing is appropriately austere for its location next to the hotel frontage. It provides an interface between the back end of the railway and the grandeur of the square, and displays a unique hinge that results in an intricate interface with its neighbour.

The proposed demolition of the rear of the hotel would see a modern building introduced into this setting, bereft of stone, adorned in cladding. The renders look highly attractive, but on a cold wet day in the North, stone buildings look resilient and dramatic. The above would resemble a business park off the M6. Architecture like this can really benefit regeneration, and can complement the urban environment very well. But not here. St George’s square is perfection, and any changes here should be considered with utmost caution.


Newall Church Hall, Otley

Plans to demolish a former Sunday School for 8 dwellings:

This building is described as being built in the 1920s, but appears much older by virtue of the weavers cottage style mullion windows.

Built on the grounds of the former Newall Old Hall, which was being demolished simultaneously, the building served the Sunday School congregation of Otley to the North of River Wharf, and was constructed of reclaimed materials from the hall.

8 semi-detached dwellings will replace the building. The hall could have been converted into a dwelling, but arguing against the intensification to 8 houses would need a powerful case for conservation.

The actual building footprint would make way for a single pair of semis and with a bit of creativity the building could be well integrated into the layout to offer an attractive an historic gateway to the new cul-de-sac. The planning industry still has to articulate to the real estate world the notion that identity adds value to property. Until they do, the biggest influence on the design of the built environment will be the land promoters armed with excel.

Ornate house in South Cave, East Yorkshire

Plans to demolish a house to allow for access to a proposed volume housing development:

A very historic component of the Market Place in South Cave, this pair of houses is required to be demolished to allow for road access to a larger development to the rear.

The Humber Historic Environment Record have objected to the loss, stating that previous plans viably retained the house. As such it would be unlikely the planning officer could depart from this recommendation. So hopefully the building will be saved.

Quirky end terrace, Sheffield

An interesting Victorian end terrace to be replaced with a new dwelling near Norfolk Park in Sheffield:

Nowhere near being on the radar of any conservation body, this town house punctuates the end of this Victorian terrace, and is an example of how families would extend their houses before the age of the ubiquitous box dormer.

While its loss would not ruin the street, these quirky terminating buildings always add the story an urban street tells.

UPDATE: This application has subsequently been refused.

Possible former Church? Upper Brook Street, Manchester

(Possibly a house, possibly a Methodist church) to make way for student accommodation in Manchester:

Genuinely flummoxed by the age and origin of these buildings. They appear ecclesiastical, but no reference to a church on the Ordnance Survey is made on historic maps. I can’t see the buildings (to the right) being used as houses, so their purpose eludes me.

Still, attractive buildings nonetheless. And the last of the old stock along Carmoor Road adjacent to upper brook Street in Manchester’s University Quarter. It follows that their replacement is to be a block of mid-rise student flats.

While the intensification of the site is a good idea for such a central location in the city, I still lament the loss of the buildings pictured above, which could only ever be from old school Britain. A recent tirade against the studentification of urban centres has presented itself in the media. I fully support the decanting of students from suburban ‘family housing’ into city centres, but I still wish one of the many surrounding tin sheds could pave the way for such a development.

The street will soon be block after block, rather than building after building. I like to see a city grow upwards, but not at the expense of a good solid street frontage.

Halfway House pub, Wyke, Bradford

Outline application for the demolition of a pub to make way for a vehicle service yard:

The Halfway House pub managed to reopen again after Covid-19 lockdowns and was serving the local community well until quite recently at which point the pub suddenly closed, presumably to create a vacant asset ripe for a demolition application.

Clearly a pub in this location is viable, and its demolition would represent the loss of a vital community facility, further eroding the social capital of this already struggling old mill town. Pubs close and reopen all the time. To have been shuttered for 12 months is no indication that it is redundant.

Particularly concerning would be the building’s replacement with a tarmac hardstanding and industrial utility for car repairs and cleaning. This is town centre street, which is characterised by dense built form and elevations facing the road. A mechanics workshop would see a large hole cut out of the urban fabric of central Wyke.

The fact this in an outline application to test the water suggests the applicant knows that this is folly. I hope the Council agree.

An image of the pub from 1908 shows how the pub contributes to the attractive townscape of Wyke.

Valley Mills, Drighlington

Industrial campus to be cleared for a new suburb:

Not the grandest of Yorkshire’s mills, this dark red brick complex of north-light buildings, houses, and mills is to be cleared for a very dull volume house build in this rural location in between the cities of Leeds and Bradford.

A heritage-led masterplan would see the terraced houses retained, and all the two-story elements utilised as a nucleus from which to design the rest of the site. No such vision from the architects that have put together this layout, which suffers from the usual standardised highway widths, corner radii, and housing types.

Even the retention of the road layout would at least leave a token allsuion to the site’s history. And always worth a mention is the incredble waste of embedded carbon which could be saved if the buildings were rennovated and not demolished.

Former Huddersfield Technical College

Application from 2018 finally determined:

Thankfully the main portico building will not be lost to this development (which looks to be predominantly surface carparking). However the latter elements of the stone building are to be lost, including the linking tower from 1876. The entire building benefits from a Grade II* listing, however this has tacitly only applied to what was the 1831 Infirmary building.

The original Infirmary building, shown with the 1876 extension to the right, including the linking tower which will be demolished

The bulk of the campus to be lost dates from 1932, and hints towards an art deco character. The building fronting Halifax Road is from earlier (circa 1901), and boasts an excellent mansard roof, the loss of which will be regrettable for Huddersfield.

It is a shame that the towers and the 1901 block couldn’t be negotiated for, as they are stunning buildings that establish a strong urban grain in this part of the Town Centre.

The new supermarket will be a stark contrast with the ornate civic character of the college. The apartments to the north laudably address the street frontage. However, the contrasting architecture of the buildings my result in the Old Infirmary appearing as an awkward relic.

It is also frustrating that this approval has suddenly appeared 4 years after the original application. It will be quite a shock to the people of Huddersfield to see this quarter being suddenly torn up.

The art deco (ish) elevation facing Portland Street, which will be lost

Terraced High Street in Bradford

A row of Victorian commercial buildings to be demolished for a retail park:

This Victorian Terrace has lost much of its character thanks to the relaxed approach to signage and box dormers in Bradford, but a keen eye can still see the original detailing of the frontage and rhythm of the building line.

However, what is lamentable here is the proposed replacement – the curiously named ‘Jinnah Park’:

Quite an intensification of land, and a significant departure in character. Still, I’m sure Jinnah Park will be a commercial success, and if it makes one of Bradford’s newest communities feel they have made a their mark on the city, then maybe its the right move.

The Beehive Inn, Salford

A community owned pub in Salford to be bulldozed:

This pub, themed on the iconic Manchester Bee (albeit in Salford) was saved from conservation to flats in 2016 by a Norwegian Manchester City fan.

Described by the Salford Star as the last pub in the area, its loss would resonate through this beleaguered community. ‘This community needs this pub, there needs to be something for the community, you can’t take everything away from it’ one resident commented when the pub faced closure in 2016.

Closed in march and quickly sold to a developer, there is no evidence to demonstrate the lack of demand for a pub here. Quite the opposite in fact.

I hope the planning officers engages the full arm of planning policy, now that the demolition of pubs have been removed from the general permitted development order – with good reason.

The pub shown in red, was once surrounded by industry and housing, but now is within a desolate urban edge