Bird’s-eye view: Elland

Elland aerial late 1960s
Elland aerial late 1960s

It is just 50 years since plans for the latest stage of the mammoth rebuilding of Elland town centre were announced. This was Southgate phase 2 and in this picture work is under way in the centre right of the photo, an area bounded by Southgate, the town’s main shopping street, left of the development area, Huddersfield Road, Timber Street and Casson Place.

An earlier stage in the scheme, Southgate phase 1, was almost finished, as can be seen by the flat-rooofed blocks between the phase 2 building site and Church Street, next to the medieval St Mary’s Church.

Phase two consisted of seven blocks of flats and maisonettes of between two and eight storeys. The tallest block, Castlegate House, taking shape at the corner of Huddersfield Road and Timber Street, matched the eight-storey Church House at the other end of the development.

Altogether the two Southgate phases provided 188 homes and 75 garages with 89 parking spaces. The development included children play areas and entry to the flats and maisonettes was kept separate from vehicle access roads .

The first stage of the whole town-centre scheme, at Westgate, towards the top left of the photo, had already been completed and tenants had moved in to the flats, houses and old people’s accommodation in what had been one of the most rundown parts of Elland.

Another stage of development was still to get off the ground. More flats were to be built towards the bottom left of the photo, where two parallel white lines can be seen, the narrow New Street and Brooksbank Street. The streets, with their gentle curve, followed the lines of ancient strip farming. The old terraced houses had already been demolished in readiness for the building of new four-storey blocks in Brooksbank Gardens and another eight-storey block, Talbot House.

Victoria Road runs across the bottom of thre picture from New Street and Brooksbank Street towards the town centre.

David Hanson