A GOVERNMENT minister has signalled his plans to retain two of Huddersfield's most imposing buildings
Lord McIntosh announced plans to list the town's library and art gallery and the nearby Queensgate Market Hall - both of which face an uncertain future.
Kirklees Council is in the middle of a huge consultation exercise to determine multi-million pound redevelopment plans for both. Its plans could be affected by the minister's ruling, which came after pressure from groups fighting to save the buildings.
The announcement was made following consultations with English Heritage.
Lord McIntosh described Queensgate Market Hall as "a highly unusual and structurally innovative 1970s' market building".
And he praised the library and art gallery. Building work started in 1937 and it opened in 1940. It was built in the "stripped classical style" of the period.
The Queensgate Market Hall was opened in 1970 and its roof structure is based on 21 asymmetric paraboloid shells designed to allow maximum light into the market.
Lord McIntosh said: "The library and art gallery is a first-rate example of classical architecture interpreted in a modernist way. It is an exemplar of the period with fine original features surviving both inside and out.
"The Queensgate Market is a dynamic, imaginative structure combining high quality engineering with architecturally outstanding details. The most remarkable feature of this innovative building is its striking roof."
Local people and interest groups now have the chance to tell Lord McIntosh whether they believe the Queensgate Market merits the extra protection that listing provides. But consultation is not being sought in respect of the library and art gallery - a final decision on that building will not be taken until the outcome of the public consultation on Queensgate Market is clear.
Kirklees Council's deputy leader Clr John Smithson said: "The decision to list the library and art gallery does not surprise me, as it has quality and style. I am surprised about the market hall, which to many people looks drab and ordinary and typical of so many 1960s' buildings.
"As regards our development plans, we have said we will put forward our recommendations in the autumn and will take into account the effect any listing decision may have."
Huddersfield Gem, the pressure group set up to preserve the market hall, was delighted with the news.
Spokesman Chris Marsden said: "We welcome the decision to open it up to public consultation."
The main purpose of listing a building is to ensure care will be taken over decisions affecting its future.
THE Right Hon Lord Andrew McIntosh of Haringey is Britain's Minister for Media and Heritage.
His ministerial responsibilities include broadcasting, press and censorship, gambling, libraries and archives.
He is also responsible for the country's historic environment, architecture and design, and the Royal Estate.
He was educated at Royal Grammar School, High Wycombe; Jesus College, Oxford and Ohio State University.
He became a life peer in 1983.
He was opposition spokesman for education and science (1985-87), the environment (1987-92) and home affairs (1992-97).
He served as Government spokesman for the treasury (1997-), trade and industry (1998-2003), culture, media and sport (1997-2001), the Scotland office (2001-02) and transport (2002-2003).
He is married and has two sons. His interests include cooking, reading and music.