2-8 King Cross Street, Hopwood Lane Gateway site, Halifax
Heritage Works was commissioned as part of a consultant team to undertake a conservation assessment for the Hopwood Gateway site and to explore the potential to regenerate the listed historic buildings (2-8 King Cross Street) within the context of a wider regeneration scheme. Yorkshire Forward, Calderdale Council and the Architectural Heritage Fund contributed to the cost of the study, which prepared an Options Appraisal report for the listed structures. Uses for these buildings and the stable courtyard considered in the Appraisal include residential apartments, offices within a managed business centre and a café in Hopwood House, looking towards the town centre.
In order to lever in grant funding, in June 2007, Heritage Works took ownership of the listed buildings at 6-8 King Cross Street with funding from Yorkshire Forward, and managed the tenanted properties on behalf of the development agency until recently. In 2008 the Trust undertook a £500,000 emergency works programme, funded by SRB with matching funds from Yorkshire Forward / Calderdale Council and Halifax Townscape Heritage Initiative.
Heritage Works also contributed to the process of identifying a private sector partner for the project, providing conservation advice and participating in design reviews for shortlisted developers. Cityheart, a property development company based in Chester, were selected and their architects, Glenn Howells, submitted detailed proposals for a planning application. The application was approved, but the development is currently on hold, while funding is secured.
The emergency works programme included:
Rebuilding chimney stack at 6 King Cross Street
Emergency works completed
King Cross Street elevation - before
King Cross Street elevation - after
After - how 8 King Cross Street would look without retailer's signage
Hopwood Lane elevation - before
Hopwood Lane elevation - after
In conjunction with Calderdale College, Heritage Works also organised site visits for students studying for the ICA in Brickwork. This gave the students the rare opportunity of seeing a restoration project in progress.
Background to the site
Yorkshire Forward, the former regional development agency (functions now subsumed into the Homes & Communities Agency), identified the Hopwood Lane Gateway as a priority for regeneration. This triangle of under-developed land and underused buildings lies just inside the ring road on the western edge of Halifax town centre, close to the Elsie Whiteley Centre, which accommodates new high-technology businesses. Visitors to the new Centre and employees of the businesses that locate there pass this area of land en route to the town centre. The site had been acknowledged to be an eyesore as well as a waste of economic potential, discouraging businesses from investing in the neighbourhood. Formed by King Cross Street, Hopwood Lane and Hanover Street, the Gateway site includes several historic buildings at risk and lies within the Halifax Townscape Heritage Initiative (THI) area.
2-4 King Cross Street stands at the apex of the site and is very prominent from the town centre. Now semi-derelict, this grade II listed building may date from the sixteenth century and have agricultural origins, although its architectural embellishments (stone quoins, ashlar facings and pediments) seem to have been added in the late eighteenth century, when the property was known as Hopwood House.
6-8 King Cross Street was added in the early nineteenth century and was probably built as a pair of semi-detached houses for professionals, such as doctors or solicitors, who practised from office accommodation on the ground floor. Today the buildings are in reasonable order and provide business accommodation for a number of small commercial enterprises.
Behind 6-8 King Cross Street there appears to be the remains of a rather fine stable courtyard, although the pediment of the stable wall has been lost and all the arched openings infilled. Behind this elegant façade, a row of cottages at 5 to 11 Hopwood Lane, built within the footprint of the former stables, was in a seriously dilapidated condition and had been the subject of a public safety order. The interconnected barn or 'coach house', which may be one of the oldest buildings on the site, is also in a condition beyond economic repair.
Much of the rest of the Gateway site is vacant, with car parking on previously developed land (where a mill and terraces of back-to-back cottages were demolished in the 1960s). The Playhouse, built as a Methodist Chapel in 1836, is still in constant use and, until recently, a number of businesses operated from the Crown Works. 22-24 King Cross Street is a semi-detached Edwardian tenement building with two ground floor shops and flats above.