Ambitious plans which will transform Huddersfield town centre are a step closer to becoming a reality.
Kirklees Council has submitted a planning application for the £210 million Cultural Heart based around the Piazza area.
As part of the planning application, the council’s architects, Fielden Clegg Bradley Studios, has compiled a 168-page Design and Access Statement, which includes a series of computer-generated images of what the Cultural Heart could look like.
Detailed images have been released of The Venue, a 2,200-capacity concert, conference and events venue with a 350-space multi-storey car park.
The Venue will be on the site of the demolished Market Hall multi-storey car park while an extended Queensgate Market building will become a food court and a new library.
A new museum will be housed in the current library building and there will be a new-build art gallery in Queen Street.
A key part of the overall scheme is large areas of public space. This will include an events space between the new library and museum and an urban park in the Piazza area.
The Design and Access Statement outlines some of the public consultation and the council has taken on board much of the feedback.
Some asked for plenty of seating – and covered seating that could be used in all weathers and at all times of the year.
The report says: “Places to sit undercover have been considered across the site, both beneath building canopies and within covered seating shelters to allow the public to use the park throughout the year.”
Others wanted to ensure the urban park had play equipment suitable for children of all ages and also for it to be “durable.”
The report says: “Safe spaces for children to play were regularly mentioned especially space for accessible play. A multi-generational play strategy has been developed which seeks to represent all age groups and abilities.”
Safety and security of the urban park was also raised and people wanted the spaces to be safe throughout the day and into the evening.
The report says: “Safety and security are a high priority for the team. Designs that promote public safety, and that are also well maintained, was always part of the designs for this development but ‘on the ground’ feedback from participants has helped strengthen these proposals.
“We want to create a safe environment which discourages anti-social behaviour without feeling overbearing. Designing out crime with good visibility throughout the site is key, with trees positioned to frame not block views.
“The buildings on the site are predominantly located to the edges which means there will be good passive surveillance over the external spaces as well as the existing surrounding street network. Queen Street, in particular, will benefit from this.
“In terms of active means of crime prevention, a specialist security engineer has been engaged to work on the project. These suggestions have been incorporated into the design but are of a confidential status meaning limited information can be released at this stage.”
Speaking about the submission of the planning application, Clr Graham Turner, Cabinet member for regeneration, said: ”This is an important milestone for Huddersfield and the wider Kirklees district.
“A huge amount of work has gone into getting us to this stage and we look forward to people viewing the final plans and designs.
“We are extremely confident in our business case for the project and would like to thank all members of the project team for their support and expertise and, of course, the public for their significant contribution to the design process.
“It was great to see the positive feedback we received during public consultation.
“This is a game changing scheme that will provide a huge boost to our region and local economy, giving people many more reasons to visit and stay in our centre. The Cultural Heart will be a destination for people of all ages and demographics, and something for us all to be proud of as locals.”