Floating to the future

hecky cafe site walkley lane/smithies lane
hecky cafe site walkley lane/smithies lane

A proposed cafe in Heckmondwike could lead to “affordable housing for the future” if it gets the go-ahead, according to the head of the project.

Green Future Building has outlined plans for a “floating” cafe on an artificial lake site between Smithies Lane and Walkley Lane, and has been given a helping hand from universities and companies from around Europe.

My beautiful picture

My beautiful picture

The project is the first of its kind in the country, and project manager Graham Wiles said it would help manufacturers find ways of building housing on flood plains.

“First and foremost, this would be a cafe that can serve people who use the greenway,” he said. “But this will also help constructors in the future

“The research work that is going on for this site could help developers build houses on flood plains in the future without fear of the houses flooding.

“If we make it so that the houses are built on land, but are able to float if they need to, this could lead to affordable housing for the future.”

Organisations such as Swiss chemicals company Sika, as well as researchers at Sheffield University, have got involved in the project, which Graham believes is unlike any other in the world.

He said: “There are similar projects in Holland, but they are extremely high-tech forms of construction, whereas we needed a design that was easy to build.

“This is why people like those at Sheffield University have been helping us research fibres in the materials we use so that the cafe will be easy for our workers to construct.

“We are very enthusiastic about this project and, if it gets the go-ahead, we hope for the cafe to be up and running by next summer – this has the potential to create a whole new industry for constructors.”

The plans have been lodged with Kirklees Council’s planning committee and a decision is expected in August.