Grand designs for Cleckheaton

A by-pass, a multi-storey car park, display gondola, shopping precinct, and further education centre.

Wednesday, 23rd October 2013, 4:01 pm
Artists' impressions of what Cleckheaton could have looked like. The top picture is looking towards the town hall from Northgate, while the bottom one shows the perspective from Bradford Road.

These were all part of an ambitious scheme drawn up in 1970 to remodel Cleckheaton town centre.

Details of the scheme appeared in the Guardian in October that year and show a traffic-free civic square with a large open air market and new shopping mall running through the centre of the town.

The plan was compiled by the newly-formed Spen Valley Affairs Group of the Huddersfield Chamber of Commerce, as the first draft of a comprehensive redevelopment scheme.

A plan of what the town centre could have looked like. The lightly shaded area would have been the shopping precinct and open market, on what is now Bradford Road. The plan shows a re-routed Bradford Road going down Pavement Street and the back of the town hall before re-emerging on St Peg Lane.

It was its first project and the group hoped to gain the support of local people and the business community before it could be submitted to Spenborough Council.

A report prepared by Walker, Liley and Associates, the Cleckheaton firm of architects, said Cleckheaton should be a combination of the past, present and the future.

One of the scheme’s main aims was to develop the centre with a pedestrian precinct without ridding the town of the motorcar altogether – which it saw as key to the town’s vibrancy.

Northgate and other smaller streets would remain open to cars, but there were also options for taking other traffic away from the centre.

A by-pass from Westgate would take traffic up Tofts Road and under the railway bridge to Serpentine Road, while at the other end of the town, Bradford Road would have been re-routed down Pavement Street, round the back of the town hall and exiting on to St Peg Lane.

The shopping mall would have centred on Cheapside, linking to a shopping precinct and open air market on what is now Bradford Road. There were also plans for a multi-storey car park on what is now the St John’s car park.

The scheme would also have seen a new police station, multi-functional hall and a further education centre on Crown Street.