By KLTV Newsdesk –
Kirklees Council’s £210m Cultural Heart development, which aims to rejuvenate Huddersfield’s town centre, has been approved by the Local Planning Authority.
The first phase of construction is expected to begin in Spring 2024, with significant refurbishments of the historic Queensgate Market and the creation of a new outdoor public square.
The Grade II listed Queensgate Market building will be renovated to become a food hall with space for around ten independent food stalls.
The building will also house a new modern library venue designed to cater to the town’s community needs, featuring group meeting amenities, quiet breakout rooms, a dedicated children’s area, a local history room, computer facilities, and more.
An event space and terrace on the library’s top floor will overlook the scheme’s new public square.
To enable these initial works, a section of the existing Piazza building along Princess Alexandra Walk will need to be demolished.
The remainder of the Piazza building will stay in place until demolition is required to progress work onsite, with units such as Boots and WHSmith remaining open during this period.
Leader of Kirklees Council, Councillor Shabir Pandor, described the project as a “transformational scheme” that will provide a boost to the local economy and existing businesses.
“The Cultural Heart is all about delivering genuine long-term community assets where friends and families can gather, relax and socialise; Pandor said.
“We are in the middle of a cost-of-living crisis, and we understand that times are challenging right now for many.
“This reinforces our ambition to grow our town centre offer and give people more reasons to visit and spend time here.
“The public square, food hall, museum and library will be amazing new spaces that provide free and low-cost activities – ultimately bringing our diverse community closer together.”
Councillor Graham Turner, Cabinet Member for Regeneration, added: “We’re delighted that our plans to deliver the Cultural Heart have been approved.
“A lot of hard work has gone into this project. I’d like to thank the project team involved and also all the members of the public who took the time to share their comments on the plans, helping us to shape the final design.
“Construction of the scheme will be phased, and work is already underway to appoint a principal construction contractor. Various site surveys and preparation works will be completed throughout 2023, with work getting underway in earnest early in 2024.”
The first phase of the scheme is projected to complete in Spring 2026.
Following this, work will get underway on delivering a new family-friendly urban park, a state-of-the-art museum and gallery, a mixed-use building to bridge the park and Queen Street divide, and a new multi-purpose live entertainment venue with a 350-space car park.