By Leah Conway – KLTV contributor
Kirklees Council received an offer from the University of Huddersfield, who are looking to buy the former sports centre site at Southgate.
The university was to develop a healthcare hub to provide training for future nurses, and other health professionals.
The council is meeting today – 18 November 2020 – to make a decision. If the council agrees to the offer it could see the 6.296 acre site be transformed into vital facilities. It would be a substantial investment into a National Health Innovation Campus; including research, teaching and learning facilities, associated infrastructure and related businesses.
The university proposed to develop the site in a number of phases. Phases 1 includes a prominent gateway building, which they want to be opened for the start of the academic year 2024/25.
The university outlines key campus features:
- The Health and Wellbeing Academy
- World leading research facilities
- Specialist clinical teaching facilities
It also included facilities for the public:
- Award-winning Podiatry Clinic
- THRIVE telehealth service
- Plus new Sports and Physiotherapy Clinics, parent and child clinics, mental health clinics and public facing spaces dedicated to social science.
The university ensured that the campus would help the health, wellbeing and social inclusion within Kirklees and the region and will complement the local shared outcomes
The council will also make sure that pedestrian links from the site into the centre are improved as part of the development.
Cllr Peter Mcbride, Cabinet Member for Regeneration said:
“We could see an investment worth up to £250M into this site, and as a major employer and investor in the town, the university is well placed to make the most of it, bringing new people to the town and increasing footfall at this key gateway. The income generated from the sale will go towards the development of other blueprint projects in the town, maximising the economic benefits of the proposal.
“At a time when the importance of our healthcare colleagues has never been clearer, supporting a development which will help grow that workforce, improve research and support the ongoing training of local practitioners has to be a good thing.
“A centre like the one proposed by the University could bring the skills needed for our national healthcare service, including the nursing expertise to fight any future pandemics right into the centre of Huddersfield.
“As an added benefit, I think we could see many of the new heath care practitioners studying at this site choosing to stay in Kirklees after graduating. benefitting both the local economy and the health of local people.”
University Vice-Chancellor, Professor Bob Cryan, commented, “The University is determined to help end health inequality in our region. We believe that by establishing the National Health Innovation Campus we can work with our partners to achieve this goal.”