Heritage/Design and Access Statement

1. Introduction and Proposal

This statement supports a Listed Building application for Wilshaw Village Hall, Wilshaw Road, Wilshaw, Meltham, HD9 4DX. The proposal comprises of the following works:

a). Replacement of the scruffy, drafty, single glazed windows with more energy efficient double-glazed windows of a similar but neater appearance. The new larger window panels would incorporate glazing bars to replicate as closely as possible the existing metal transoms which currently separate smaller single glazed panels. No stonework would be altered and the removal of these metal transoms and the flap ventilation system would be the only changes required to allow fitment of the new panels. Our preferred supplier is Touchstone Glazing of Brighouse who specialise in supplying double glazing for heritage buildings see https://www.touchstoneglazing.co.uk/

b). Installation of a Mezzanine Floor above the kitchen with glazed balcony overlooking the hall to provide more space and facilities. This will involve the demolition of the upper part of the internal wall separating the kitchen from the main hall and some minor structural work to support the floor and some roof timbers previously supported by the dividing wall.

c). Fitment of a heritage style opening roof window above the new Mezzanine to provide natural light.

d). Reinstatement of the original Iron pedestrian gate removed as part of recent approved works to a new position to secure the car park for children.

2. Existing Property

The application site is located to the South of Wilshaw Road(B6107) between the larger villages of Meltham and Netherthong.

The Village Hall is grade 2 listed and was listed in 1984 with number 1184182. The building is the single storey former village day school which opened in 1873 and closed in 1974/5. It formally became the Village Hall in 1982.

It was constructed in hammer dressed stone with chamfered mullion windows and a pitched slate roof by Messrs. Kirk and sons, of Huddersfield and was commissioned by the textile manufacturer and philanthropist Joseph Hirst who established a model industrial community in Wilshaw in the mid-19th century. It is attached to the former School Masters House and had a sympathetic extension including toilets and a store room added around twenty years ago. Little work has been carried out to the building since the extension was built and although it is still used regularly further changes and improvements are now required to ensure its survival.

After a lengthy and costly dispute with the former owners the Village Hall committee (with the assistance of loans from villagers) purchased the building in 2018. They are now seeking approval from the council, via this application, for a number of changes which should make the building much more appealing and capable of surviving as the only community building in the village, apart from the church.

3. Justification of these Proposals

Pre-application discussions have been carried out over the past few months with Conservation and Design to enable us to produce this application.

It is believed that the works proposed are in accordance with relevant statutory requirements whilst respecting the listed status of the building.

National and local planning policy requires that consideration is given to the potential harm to the significance of heritage assets and their setting. Weighing of harm against public benefits Paragraph 196 of the NPPF requires that where a development proposal will lead to less than substantial harm to the significance of a designated heritage asset, this harm should be weighed against the public benefits of the proposal including, where appropriate, securing its optimum viable use. The former school requires significant investment to improve its appearance, improve its energy efficiency and comfort and increase its appeal. The applicants believe that the harm to the listed building would be minimal and would be outweighed by the public benefit of ensuring its sustainability as a community building.

The element of this application that will probably be most noticeable is the replacement of the windows. It should be noted that the existing windows are unusual in that they have no frames. They are mounted directly into the stonework with simple metal T shaped transoms allowing more than one pane of glass per pair of mullions. The History of Wilshaw written in 1961 by Alfred Taylor states that at one time the school had diamond shaped leaded windows. Clearly all these (apart from one small one above the Northern doorway) have been replaced over the years and so none of the main windows can be considered to be original. The existing glazing is a mix of frosted and clear panels of different ages which are detrimental to the appearance of the building and consequently the conservation area. The proposal to replace these windows with double glazed panels would include the fitment of glazing bars to retain the same visual effect as the original rails which would have to be removed. The old fashioned and ugly flap ventilation system (which is no longer used) would also be removed as it has been concluded that the benefits of trying to retain it would be massively outweighed by the costs of doing so and the improved appearance without it. The applicants believe that the minor loss of these original features will be outweighed by the improved appearance and the obvious energy efficiency improvements. The proposed windows will also be significantly easier to keep clean both internally and externally. Following research and discussions with a supplier of windows for historic buildings it has been discovered that most historic buildings with similar window designs to this building actually have (and look far better with) black window surrounds. Therefore, it is also proposed that the glazing bars and window surrounds will have a black finish rather than the existing white. A number of top hung opening casement windows would also be fitted within the hall and the kitchen.

As requested, the applicants carried out research into secondary glazing to determine whether that may be a preferable option and our conclusions are as follows:

  1. Secondary glazing would inevitably detract quite significantly from the original simple design and it cannot be seen how this could be avoided. It would be fussy and of different appearance when viewed from the inside, and the double-glazed proposal would therefore retain a more original appearance internally whilst retaining a very similar original appearance externally.
  2. Secondary glazing would be more likely to result in condensation.
  3. The weight of a single secondary glazing panel would be such that it could not be safely removed with ease as Historic England states is important for cleaning. The large number of individual secondary glazing panels that would need to be regularly cleaned would mean this would become a major task and would consequently not be done very often probably resulting in the building becoming scruffy again.
  4. Whatever way the secondary glazing is installed it would require fastenings of some type securing it to the stone surrounds thereby damaging the fabric of the building.
  5. If secondary glazing is installed many of the existing windows (including all the frosted ones) would still need to be removed and replaced and all of them would need the external sealant removed and replaced. This in itself may be just as time consuming as removing all the windows and replacing them with large new double-glazed panels as proposed. In fact, as secondary glazing would have to be custom designed and fitted it would be likely to be more expensive overall.
  6. According to the Historic England guide on windows “a significant proportion of the thermal benefit of secondary glazing comes from decoupling the frame from the primary timber moving parts and frame” As this clearly would not apply in this case using secondary glazing for this application would be significantly less efficient than usual.
  7. Therefore in summary this application is not suited for secondary glazing because the traditional appearance internally would be damaged quite significantly, the structure of the building would be damaged more by the installation than installing double glazing, maintenance would be significantly increased, the risk of condensation and the consequent damage that causes to the fabric of the building would be increased, the thermal efficiency would be less and it is unlikely there would be any cost saving either.

The mezzanine floor will cause very little disturbance to original features and will in fact expose more of the original roof structure that is currently hidden by the modern suspended ceiling above the kitchen.

The roof window will be quite unobtrusive, being fitted to the rear of the building, and will be mainly visible from agricultural land to the South.

It is considered that the relocation of the original gate will make a positive contribution to the character as well as providing obvious public benefit.

4. Conclusion

The requested changes will be beneficial to the building and are necessary to ensure its sustainability as a community building. The minor harm to original features will be outweighed by an improved appearance, improved comfort and energy efficiency, greater community use and public benefit. Without change there will be no future for the building as a community building and it will face an uncertain future that is likely to result in far more harmful changes to its significance than those requested here.