New artist’s impressions of what Huddersfield’s proposed Cultural Heart could look like have been published.
The six images showing various views around the Piazza and Queensgate area have been released by Kirklees Council as a major public consultation into the £210 million scheme is launched.
The council has hired a team of expert consultants under strategic development partner Turner & Townsend to draw up the plans.
The plans, which involve a new use for Queensgate Market, a new 2,200-capacity entertainments venue with multi-storey car park and a new library and museum, have been evolving over the last few months.
The latest plans, which will form the basis of the public consultation, appear to have changed again since the last public announcement.
The plans now include a modern new art gallery at the end of Queen Street which would showcase some of the valuable collection of artworks owned by the council which includes Francis Bacon’s Figure Study II.
That picture was valued at up to £60 million on the open market in around 2016 but the terms of how it was gifted to Batley Art Gallery in 1952 means the council cannot sell it. The council also owns works by painter LS Lowry and sculptor Henry Moore.
The other key change appears to be on the multi-storey car park. Previous designs showed the car park next door to the entertainment venue but the latest plans have it underneath within the same building. It will have 350 spaces but is still described as a “multi-storey.”
This is how Kirklees Council now describes what will be created within the Cultural Heart:
- The Queensgate market building refurbished to house a vibrant new food hall that will celebrate local and independent traders and provide a new hub for social dining;
- A modern and welcoming library – featuring bright, flexible and collaborative community spaces – will be accommodated within the existing east wing of the market building and in a new extension to the north;
- The existing Huddersfield Library building will be refurbished, with a contemporary extension added to transform it into a dedicated new museum space, which will showcase some of Huddersfield’s remarkable stories;
- A brand-new multi-purpose entertainment venue with a capacity of up to 2,200 will be created for major concerts, live shows, conferences and exhibitions. A new modern multi-storey car park will be built below the entertainment venue, with around 350 spaces;
- A modern new art gallery space on Queen Street and home to iconic works by Francis Bacon, LS Lowry, Henry Moore and Harold Gilman;
- The new public square will become an active centrepiece that hosts regular community and cultural events and gatherings of up to 3,000 people;
- The museum garden will become a place to rest within the busy town centre environment and could showcase art installations and sculptures;
- A new landmark urban park will make the Cultural Heart a unique place and will act as a key link between the Cultural Heart and wider town centre.
The public consultation starts on Monday May 23 and runs until Sunday June 19 and offers members of the public the opportunity to have their say. The council says it is hoped that community feedback can help shape the final plans.
Council leader Clr Shabir Pandor said: “This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to redefine one of the great Northern towns. An investment like the Cultural Heart is an investment for Kirklees. It will be a major catalyst to stimulate further investment and economic growth, including jobs.
“The overall aim is to create a welcoming destination that’s open to all and to bring new people into the town centre, including Kirklees residents and visitors from further afield.
“We are very fortunate to have incredible heritage buildings in the centre of Huddersfield and these plans will not only revitalise some of Huddersfield town centre’s most-loved buildings but they will also have the opportunity to shine among new contemporary buildings and a range of high-quality outdoor spaces.”
Michael Grace, director and strategic lead for Turner & Townsend and the strategic development partner for the Cultural Heart, said: “The redevelopment will transform this part of the town creating family friendly space and buildings for local business and the community to thrive and flourish.
“The development will welcome visitors by day and night. It will be a place to enjoy, whether that’s through public art or space for children to play.
“This is a truly accessible destination and we’ve worked closely with the scheme’s architects to listen to initial feedback. The public spaces have been carefully designed around the proposed new buildings, key transport drop-off points and interlinking walking routes.”
The pre-planning application public consultation can be accessed at http://www.kirkleesculturalheart.co.uk
The website has a virtual exhibition available, allowing visitors to explore a virtual room full of information banners, display boards and maps that outline the Cultural Heart plans and ambitions in more detail.
The plans will be on display in a unit on the Piazza over the coming weeks. The unit will open on Tuesday May 24 and will be open on Mondays from 8am to 11am, Tuesdays from 12pm to 3pm, Wednesdays from 3pm to 6pm, Thursdays 8am to 11am and Fridays 12pm to 3pm.
It will be closed over the Jubilee Bank Holiday but will be open on the weekend of June 11 and 12 from 12pm to 3pm. The drop-in information centre will close on June 17 ahead of the end of the consultation.
This current phase of consultation will help Kirklees Council and its partners to continue to develop the design proposals for the Cultural Heart.
Another phase of consultation will be held later in the summer, prior to submitting a planning application in the autumn.
For more details, including information in different formats and languages, email firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 0808 175 4300 or write to: FREEPOST Cultural Heart.