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SQUARE REVAMP UP FOR AWARD.

Byline: BARRY GIBSON

THE controversial redevelopment of St George's Square has been shortlisted for a top architecture award.

The pounds 4m revamp was yesterday nominated for the Yorkshire White Rose Awards organised by the Royal Institute of British Architecture (RIBA).

The new-look square, which was unveiled last October, includes fountains and a water cascade.

Award judges praised the work by Leeds-based Whitelaw Turkington Landscape Architects, saying: "The scheme enhances the existing classical architecture and creates a public area suitable for both everyday use and special events with new water features, planting and specialist lighting design."

The council's Cabinet member for regeneration Clr Peter McBride welcomed the news yesterday.

He said: "We're pleased to hear that Whitelaw Turkington's design for St George's Square has been shortlisted for such a prestigious prize.

"We unveiled the new-look square nine months ago and since then I've been watching its popularity and use steadily grow, especially over recent weeks when the water features have proven to be a welcome relief from the heat for many a child.

"The new square lent itself particularly well to last weekend's carnival, which for the first time ever was staged in its entirety in the town centre.

"Creating a high-quality and flexible public space in the centre of a busy town is always a challenge, but one which I'm pleased RIBA has acknowledged has been completed with flair here in Huddersfield."

The square is one of 19 Yorkshire sites shortlisted for the awards.

The Passivhaus in Denby Dale has also been nominated. The property, built by Golcar-based Green Building Store, uses 90% less energy than a conventional home.

The winner will be announced at an awards ceremony at Sheffield City Hall on November 26.

The regeneration of the square was riddled with problems, including: October 2007: Kirklees announces plans to move Harold Wilson's statue from in front of the railway station to outside the Head of Steam as part of the redevelopment. The proposal is dropped after his widow Lady Wilson and Prime Minister Gordon Brown protest May 2008: Work gets underway June 2008: Kirklees claims the work will be finished by October 2008. The council ends up being right about the month, but wrong about the year July 2008: Lindley Lib Dem Clr Christine Stanfield tries to block the use of pounds 215,000 of pink Chinese granite on the square February 2009: Two businesses in the square - the George Hotel and Bramley's Estate Agents - complain that power cuts caused by the work have cost them tens of thousands of pounds in lost trade March 2009: Work halts as contractors Wrekin Construction goes into administration July 2009: The Examiner reveals that taxpayers will fork out pounds 1,000 a week to maintain the square's water features October 2009: The new-look square is opened January 2010: Seven people are injured after a bus drives over a loose stone slab on Railway Street. Kirklees Council blames the accident on Wrekin July 2010: The pounds 230,000 cascade is turned off after one of its pump breaks down.

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SHORTLISTED: The fountains make a splash in front of the railway station
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Publication:Huddersfield Daily Examiner (Huddersfield, England)
Date:Jul 15, 2010
Words:521
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