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.