By Andy Hirst
A group which promotes civic pride in Huddersfield is warning that three 40ft tall sculptures planned for the town centre could add to the “tatty” look of the street scene if not properly maintained.
Huddersfield Civic Society (HCS) has concerns about the three giant planters due to be erected in New Street near its junction with Cloth Hall Street and say the council is already failing to look after the town centre to the point it’s looking scruffy.
Kirklees Council has already granted itself planning permission for the sculptures and now the design has been finalised the public can comment on them under what is known as ‘reserved matters.’
This public consultation has a closing date of January 7, 2022, but HCS has concerns the council will have no budget to maintain the sculptures.
They are designed so plants will grow through them, giving the impression of giant trees.
The art project is part of Kirklees Council’s £250m re-imagining of Huddersfield town centre, known as the Huddersfield Blueprint.
HCS chairman David Wyles said: “The society is not convinced these designs are compatible with the architectural and historic features of New Street, particularly the setting of 14 listed buildings.
“As great a concern is the ability of Kirklees Council to maintain these features, both with regard to the structures and the planting that will grow up them.
“The society has previously raised concerns regarding the poor maintenance of street furniture and landscape features. Many fixtures require repainting, graffiti removal or simply replacement.
“The bigger picture, as outlined in the town centre blueprint, cannot be successfully achieved without attention to detail. Proper maintenance is essential if perceptions are to be improved.
“Until it can be demonstrated that Kirklees Council has both a management regime and a revenue pot for ensuring such features are adequately maintained these sculptures risk becoming an eyesore and counter-productive to the aim of restoring vitality and economic vibrancy to the town centre.”
* Written by former Huddersfield Examiner Head of Content Andy Hirst who now runs his own Huddersfield-based agency AH! PR specialising in press releases, blogging and copywriting for business in Yorkshire and across the UK.