By Leah Conway –
Kirklees Council announced that it would speed up the delivery of the town centre regeneration plan for Huddersfield. This includes plans for
- A new food court
- A new event space,
- An urban park in the heart of the town
- Finally, a new library, museum, and art gallery
Next week, councillors will decide whether to endorse an accelerated process for delivering the £200M regeneration scheme. It remains part of the council’s commitment to the economic recovery across Kirklees.
The Cultural Heart project is the centre of Huddersfield’s Blueprint. It is a ten-year programme of economic and infrastructure improvements for the town.
The disruption of the pandemic on local businesses has encouraged the council to find ways to bring the plans forward more quickly.
The council believes a dedicated, expert delivery team to oversee the project would save time moving the projects from the drawing board to construction.
The drive follows news that the council secured £25M government funding for town centre improvements for Dewsbury
A further £6M is earmarked for improvements in the borough’s towns, including Batley, Holmfirth and Cleckheaton.
The council’s Cabinet will ask councillors to appoint a Strategic Delivery Partner to drive the Cultural Heart programme forwards. It is hoped putting industry experts in the heart of the plan means the council can move into the delivery phase of the projects faster, possibly being in the position to have its business plan ready as early as July 2022.
“A thriving Huddersfield…”
Leader of Kirklees Council, Cllr Shabir Pandor, said: “Leader of Kirklees Council, Cllr Shabir Pandor, said: “Make no mistake, a thriving Huddersfield is essential for the economic health of everyone in Kirklees. This investment will see people from North and South Kirklees enjoy a range of choices and opportunities. It’s another way of keeping the Kirklees pound in Kirklees whilst attracting individuals and families to Huddersfield to boost our Kirklees economy in an inclusive way.
The challenge for us is to get these plans off the drawing board and into the construction phase as quickly as we can. We think we can get ahead of the game by tapping into the expertise and know-how of experts and get these projects shovel-ready in the shortest possible timeframe.
“Bigger picture of change.”
Cabinet Member for Regeneration, Cllr Peter McBride, said: “Our work on the Cultural Heart programme is part of a bigger picture of change and improvement for Huddersfield. We already have major projects ongoing in the town at New Street, the redevelopment of the George Hotel and a series of local transport improvements. On top of that, we’ve worked with the University on a very significant investment for their new healthcare campus and there’s plenty of opportunities for development along the station to stadium route. It’s all about momentum now and that’s exactly what this proposal gives us.”
“Support businesses and communities to thrive.”
Cabinet Member for Town Centres, Cllr Eric Firth, said: “Town centres are going to look and feel different in the future. These plans will create a place where people want to spend time and enjoy leisure and cultural activities. It’s a plan that respects our proud heritage while having a firm eye on the future. The Cultural Heart programme is in tune with the economic changes that are happening across the country, but we need to work quickly and be ambitious to make a reality of the vision.
“There’s a real sense of urgency about our work in town centres as we look to recover from the pandemic and support businesses and communities to thrive. That’s why we’re investing in towns across Kirklees where we can speed up recovery and unlock potential.”