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Former Miners’ Welfare Institute, Methley

Plan to demolish care home and former ball room in Methley:

Methleys care home

A domineering mock Tudor civic building from the turn of the 20th century, this building represents an interesting departure from the red brick materiality of the coal field mining villages.

Steeped in history, the building was most recently used as an extra care facility. The council now wanting to raise receipts for assets such as this closed the facility and sold off the land to a private extra care facility provider.

Whether or not the building is suitable for extra care provision is not for me so say, but I know that when I reach the autumn of my life, I’d rather live in a beautiful historic building than a utilitarian ‘facility’.

Why can we not use redundant historic buildings as homes for the elderly? What better way to live out your hard earned old age, than to be the custodian of a piece of history.


St Johns Hall, Cleckheaton

St Johns Hall, another Kirklees owned building is being pulled down:

Cleckheaton scout hall.JPG

Although a diminutive building, these civic halls offered spaces for scout packs, brass bands, and various other institutions that make bolster social capitol. Sad to see this type of building go. I need not mention the importance of brass bands in social history.

Kirklees Council continue to plunder their building stock to brighten their balance sheets.
Strange that there is no system that separates powers when both the applicant and the decision maker are one and the same. No chance for the objectors at all.

Old Fire Station and Chapel, York

Quite a lot of objection made to this application to demolish a whole street in a conservation area in York:

Peckett street York.JPG

I’d be very surprised if this gets passed, as the people of York tend to rally in these situations, however there are quite a number of letters of support for this proposal, which I find odd. I would like to know how much of a vested interest some of the supporter have for the development. I can not fathom why a resident of York would take time and effort to write to the council to support the demolition of a beautiful cluster of buildings within arms length of Clifford’s Tower. Perhaps they are iconoclasts, or perhaps they genuinely do support more houses/cars in the narrow streets of York City centre, but from my  own experience on the dark side (planning consultancy), it is generally favours called in by the developer.


Unforgivable demolition of theatre in Hoyland


Wish I had come across this before the permission was curtly passed.

hoyland cinema.JPG

Hoyland is a small town in South Yorkshire, with a decimated centre that was formally a microcosm of Victorian creativity and urban thinking. This building is without a doubt the most impressive example of the era that remains in the centre (please explore street view to see what is left of the centre of the town). First used as a playhouse, then as a cinema, the building has remained redundant for a while, and after having been snapped up by Commercial Development Projects Ltd is now to be flatted to be replaced by:


Hoyland replacement.JPG

I just can not understand firstly how the consultant architect can write a design and access that condemns the building to demolition (oh yeah thats right, money), and secondly, how the planning officer can not at least get this to a committee.

To lose this last vestige of Victorian splendour in Hoyland would be a cultural crime, and I’ll be setting about doing everything I can to stop it being even scraped by a bulldozer.

(Hopefully) more to follow…


Cross Church Street, Huddersfield

Application to extend the Kingsgate centre involving the demolition of part of the historic street front of Cross Church Street:

Cross Church Street

Although not an ornate building, this is an example of a wider context that will be diminished by a development. This street is an in tact albeit rough Victorian Street, with yards tailing off every now and then. Somehow the entire street has survived bombings, redevelopment, and depressions, and it would be a shame for the extension of the Kingsgate Centre to truncate this survival. Strangely enough, the buildings would make way for a cinema. Town centre cinemas were a thing of the past I was told. Lets hoe this indicates something of an urban renaissance.

And while I’m at it, I wish the developer would think more about the frontage they are proposing for Venn Street. This development could actually forge a new quarter in Huddersfield with just a bit of architectural innovation applied.

Former Council Depot, Thornhill

An application to demolish the old council deport at Thornhill has been submitted. The building, formally known as Overthorpe Halls stable block has been subject of local concern for some time, recognised as an important local asset
in a local newspaper.

The building represents the last of the Victorian stock in the area. The proposed replacement is a series of terraced houses that are of a mediocre design quality by an architect, that I suspect has not visited the site, such is the generic nature of the proposal. The extant building so unique and charming, and look robust enough for conversion as was noted in a recent listing on right move. Yet again, more short cited vision by a developer who likes to keep the housing market as simple as possible – build em flog em

.Edge top roadEdge top road 2Edge top road plan

The proposed massing ignores the street, and negates the courtyard feature, which would have provided much needed communal space.

A structural report – commissioned by the client (basically a formal statement to the sentiment of whatever the client requests) mentioned the building is beyond repair. This is simply not true, and an impartial report needs to be available to the council.

If only the developer could see the value of 8 dwellings in a converted Victorian building, when compared to 8 new builds. I thought the industry had realised this inherent value a long time ago.

Cinema and Hospital clearance in Todmorden

A large area of the centre of Todmorden is being cleared, with plans to build a Netto supermarket:

The site is occupied by the former cinema and the Abraham Ormerod Hospital in a central location in the town. Previous plans for the supermarket incoperated the cinema frontage, but this submission sees the site fully cleared.

Police station todmorden

Todmorden cinema

I think of lot of the town of Todmorden. An outpost of Yorkshire high in the Pennines, the air is so damp that the buildings are bright green with lichen.The buildings in question here are not particularly special, but the fact that a picture house was built for the good people of Todmorden reflects on how vibrant and independent Pennine life once was. As each Roman town had it’s stadium, so the Mill town had its Odeon.

Sadly Todmorden didn’t quite manage to achieve the cult status of neighbouring Hebdon Bridge, but it is a town like no other nonetheless and needs looking after. I hope the council consider retaining the front of the old cinema. These buildings mean a lot to small towns that are still trying to define themselves. Having a budget supermarket as the focal point of a town centre sends out the wrong message, and is certainly not regenerative.