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Huddersfield market hall could get a new lease of life - images

Radical new plans for Huddersfield town centre have been welcomed by campaigners battling to save the much-loved 1970s Queensgate market hall.

Under previous proposals to transform the key site the 'unique' market hall, which has a rare lightweight concrete roof structure made of 21 asymmetric paraboloid shells, was to be pulled down.

As a result, local group Huddersfield Gem fought to prevent demolition of the unusual hall. The building, designed by the J Seymour Harris Partnership, was eventually listed last year ( 'Unusual' 1970s market listed).

Now, following extensive consultation, architect Leslie Jones has come up with new designs which would not only keep most of the existing structure but also open up 'enhanced' views of the unique roof structure.

It is understood some of the roof supports will be rebuilt - taller than before - as part of a remodelling of the hall, which is at the heart of the mixed-use Huddersfield Revival proposals.

The new scheme could also save the facade of the nearby Art Deco Co-op building, built in 1937, which was facing demolition to make way for student accommodation ( Row grows over 'most complete Modern building in Huddersfield').

A spokesman for Huddersfield Gem said that, at first sight, the latest proposals were both daring and 'challenging'.

He said: 'Some of the elements [of the plans] are audacious and imaginative. The rebuilding of part of the market hall looks particularly challenging where new structures are incorporated into a period design.

'[The group] has been seeking the Queensgate Market Hall's renaissance, Co-operative facade retention, a Queensgate Bridge and the development of public space.

'It is very encouraging to see these in the scheme but we need to know more.'

Kirklees Council, which is backing the plans, has confirmed an architectural competition will be launched to find designers for the newly proposed Queensgate Bridge.

by Richard Waite

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