Springfield Centre – Gateway To Dewsbury

photo of Springfield College, Dewsbury

The new Springfield Sixth Form College is looking smart and getting ready to open with the new academic year in 2018.

But what do our young people see of Dewsbury?

Click on any image to enlarge

It's good to know that our young people are going to be well prepared to contribute to the development of Dewsbury.  But turn around and look at Dewsbury from the main entrance to the college, as they will see the town, and consider the impression they will take home with them every day for two years or more.

Deterioration to the point of collapse

This is a pretty demoralising vista for our students to see at least twice a day for two years.  

What we think..

"If we can see it then it should be worth looking at!"

Is this a subject for the Heritage Action Zone?

The purpose of Heritage Action Zones, of which Dewsbury is one starting this year, is to: 'to unleash the power in England's historic environment to create economic growth and improve quality of life..' 

Is this situation one where Dewsbury could use the Heritage Action Zone to both use our history to motivate our young people while improving the quality of life for current residents?

On the right

Most of the buildings on the right can not be seen fully from the main entrance to the college.  

But they will be front and centre when seen from all the windows on the side facing Lidl and whenever the students walk out towards the town centre

..and a closer view

Regrettably, half of the attractive building on the right and across the road simply fell down on Boxing Day, 2015 leaving nothing but a pile of rubble behind the wall at ground floor level.  

However, the remains on the far right are an attractive little gem and were the offices for various businesses that have occupied the site varying from mill machinery, plumbers merchants to builders. 

The fact is that, however difficult the task, something needs to be done to improve that frontage to ensure that it presents an optimistic outlook for our young people as the college comes into use.

On the left

Traditional mill building on the left

The back of the mill on the left is a standard, completely functional building. But that, in itself, communicates something about the work ethic that brought it into being and the nature of the work done there. 

However, what it needs is the rear elevation tidying up and making presentable. 

The side elevation is a big plain face half covered in cement.  What to do with this monstrosity?  Or is it an opportunity? 

What if we use it to communicate with the students who will crowd that space at least 3 times a day?

Street Art & Graffiti

photo of Quality street art from Upfest

Quality street art - in progress at the Bedminster festival

Street art and graffiti will inevitably attract criticism when done badly - but it can also both contribute to the built environment (that's council speak for buildings and roads and things) and be good business.  It just depends how we manage it.

How About A Festival?

As well as providing a great way to connect the student body to the town with a great piece of street art, could that big, blank wall be the starting point for a Dewsbury Street Art Festival?

Take a look at the successful Upfest Street Art & Graffiti Festival held in Bedminster every year - and then wander up Union Street and count how many big, blank walls we have in Dewsbury - and what potential we have.

How about we turn a problem into an asset - and use these walls. to add to the diversity and life of our town - starting with the college wall?

Of course, all these things are going to be difficult and will need lots of cooperation between different people to make them happen.  But that's not a reason not to do them. 

It's not what's wrong, it's what's strong that matters.

Be sure to click that big green button to register and be kept up to date with new information as it becomes available - and to have your say whenever we are given the opportunity.

What we think..

"If we can see it then it should be worth looking at!"

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