PLANNERS will rule tomorrow on an ambitious blueprint for a new £70m campus in Huddersfield.
But a leading conservation group has criticised the proposals as “cheap and nasty”.
Huddersfield Civic Society made the comments as the Kirklees Council cabinet met in private to discuss aspects of the scheme.
Senior councillors were in talks last night over various issues regarding the project – including the costs and a proposal for a loan from the authority.
Kirklees College wants to build the campus on a triangle of land between Manchester Road, Chapel Hill and the River Colne to replace its base on New North Road.
Kirklees Council granted outline planning permission in 2008. This week the council’s Huddersfield Planning Sub-committee will rule on the appearance and landscaping of the campus.
The college’s proposals include:
A nine-storey block of classrooms clad in grey metal and using large amounts of glass to maximise natural light
A covered street with a partially-glazed roof linking the college with Manchester Road
A cube-shaped learning resource centre with dark grey cladding
The main block, which would be “wrapped around” the learning resource centre
A sensory garden next to Manchester Road to serve as an outdoor classroom
College square and terrace to form the central open space in the development
A natural stone bridge from Manchester Road into the campus
Council officers have recommended that the sub-committee approve the plan at its meeting in Huddersfield Town Hall tomorrow.
But Huddersfield Civic Society spoke out strongly against the plan yesterday.
The society’s planning officer Frank O’Brien said: “We have made several critical comments about the design and the awful materials proposed for its construction.
“Kirklees seems so desperate to get this building off the ground that they have jettisoned requirements to use local stone facings, allowing cheap and nasty dark-grey concrete blocks and metal cladding instead.
“It is a disgrace . Other developers will demand the same laxity over the use of local materials.”
The campus is due to open in 2012.