By Leah Conway –
Local business owners have voiced support for Kirklees Council’s plans to improve Holmfirth town centre. The plans have steadily gained support as business owners have expressed excitement for the town’s future.
Earlier in the year, Kirklees Council allocated £1.5M to improve Holmfirth Town Centre. The plan is part of its Small Centres Funding, which should build on the £3.9m investment already being planned by the council in partnership with the West Yorkshire Combined Authority (WYCA), through the Holmfirth Town Centre Access Plan.
Professor Graham Leslie, C.B.E. founder of pharmaceutical company Galpharm, has shared his interest in seeing investment into Holmfirth and is reportedly delighted to support the scheme. Graham owns a building on the south side of Victoria Street, one of the roads that will see the biggest improvements and a family connection to one of the town’s bars – Holmfirth Bar Oscars – owned by his daughter and son-in-law.
“Worthy of investment”
Graham said: “Holmfirth is a lovely town and worthy of investment. However, its popularity means it’s also a busy one; the congestion caused by the current road layout is not only frustrating for local businesses and visitors but also potentially dangerous. The planned wider footways and river view walkways will make sure everyone can enjoy a safe visit to the town.’
“We need to make sure our little town is fit for the future. This means we need adequate parking for all types of vehicles, including electric cars and e-bikes, as well as [a] free-flowing traffic system that makes it a more pleasurable place to spend time. I’m also excited to see what will happen with the planned event space and new market offer. This can only add to the town’s appeal in years to come, bringing more residents and visitors into town to enjoy our local independent shops, bars, cafes and restaurants.’
“We all know that any investment and regeneration require the right infrastructure, so starting with the roads makes perfect sense. By getting the roads right, you have a solid foundation for future investments to be successful.’
“The council and combined authority are making a significant investment in the town because they, like the residents and businesses that call it home, value its cultural and creative heritage. I am sure that what little disruption the changes will cause in the short term will be worth it, especially when we see the increased vibrancy and further investment over the coming years.”
The Holmfirth Town Centre Access Plan
The Holmfirth Town Centre Access Plan will include the demolition of the former market hall building and extension of the adjacent Huddersfield Road car park to improve disabled access and the layout of parking bays.
The Small Towns Funding, which the leader of Kirklees Council announced in March 2021, will be available for both short and longer-term projects to help build on the town’s unique selling points, support the local economy and help Holmfirth recover after the pandemic.
Visitors, residents, businesses, and local organisations are encouraged to help the council decide how best to spend the £1.5M. The public engagement survey asks how they feel about Holmfirth town centre now and what things they’d like to see in the future.
The engagement will take place in person in the town centre until 15 October 21 and online.
Councillor Shabir Pandor, Leader of Kirklees Council, said: “I am looking forward to hearing residents views on Holmfirth and would encourage them to take the time to get involved in the engagement process.
“This is an exciting time for regeneration in Kirklees with our blueprints in Huddersfield and Dewsbury and the small towns investment in Holmfirth, Heckmondwike, Cleckheaton and Batley. It’s important that local people are at the heart of our decision making and that we work together to maximise the benefits for towns like Holmfirth and Kirklees as a whole.”