Yorkshire Children’s Centre (YCC), which has its headquarters at Brian Jackson House, Huddersfield has recently been impacted as a result of the redevelopment of Huddersfield train station.
The changes come from the Transpennine Route Upgrade plan. In the plan, Network Rail plans to invest in the railway that runs through Huddersfield to Leeds and beyond, to improve connectivity and help support economic growth in the North of England.
To achieve this expansion, Network Rail have acquired the land next to the station, which was owned by company HD1 and has been used, in part, by YCC for 35 years!
After a long period of planning and consultation, Network Rail officially commenced the redevelopment of the station on 8th May 2023. In doing so, YCC – situated next door to the station – has with immediate effect, lost all access to the rear of their building.
This move means that YCC have zero rights to access the back of their building which was used for deliveries, staff parking, and an entrance for service users amongst many other things. YCC ultimately only own and have a legal right to access the land which the building sits upon – and not an inch more.
The instant effects of this to the charity are huge. Financially, employees, trustees and volunteers have lost access to free parking in the town when delivering services – an extra cost of around £4 per day per individual, which must now be burdened by the charity itself, which is working tirelessly to Improve Lives and Inspire Change throughout the community.
CEO Mark Farmer, said, “Whilst we are in support of improving the local area for communities, by way of both the Huddersfield Blueprint and the Transpennine Route Upgrade, it does seem that the needs of the charity – a huge part of the community – have been overlooked. We now face additional financial and holistic impacts when delivering some services – all whilst in the middle of a cost of living crisis. These billion-pound projects have failed to consider this and to date, we have been unable to reach any level of agreements with the organisations involved to reduce the impact to the charity”.
The goal of both Network Rail and Kirklees Council in these projects is to enhance connectivity. One of Kirklees Council’s 5-pronged approach to the Blueprint is ‘Better Access’. This in part is to be achieved by Huddersfield Rail Station Connections, a project which aims to ‘make it easier for everyone to make their way between the railway station and the places where they live, learn, work or visit in Huddersfield town centre’. Although in doing so, it does seem that YCC, a local employer of over 100 staff, established in Huddersfield for almost 50 years, and operating from Brian Jackson House since 1988, has not been considered.
YCC’s Head of Children and Family Services, Catherine McKenzie, explained, “in terms of service delivery, we have already been impacted by simple things such as access into the building which has affected delivery of our much-needed child safety equipment. This has resulted in precious staff time being utilised to make alterative arrangements rather than spending time supporting families.”
YCC continues to operate within Brian Jackson House including delivering services such as Stay and Play, Child Contact and Domestic Abuse Perpetrator Programme work.
YCC are appealing for any individuals or local organisations who may know of any free parking opportunities/may have a few parking spaces to spare close to the Brian Jackson House building, to please get in touch with YCC to support the delivery of the charity.
To learn more about YCC and the impact it delivers across communities to young people and their families, CLICK HERE