A ten-year £250m masterplan to regenerate six areas across Huddersfield to “create a thriving, modern-day town centre” has been launched.
Kirklees Council has launched the Huddersfield Blueprint, which focuses on regenerating six focus areas in the town centre: Station Gateway, St Peter’s, Kingsgate and King Street, New Street, the Civic Quarter and the new Cultural Heart.
Funds for the £250m scheme will come from national government, private investors, West Yorkshire Combined Authority and Kirklees Council. It looks at delivering five key objectives for Huddersfield Town Centre: a vibrant culture, art, leisure and nightlife offer, thriving businesses, a great place to live, improved access and enhanced public spaces.
An improved bus station, railway station, a new Kingsgate cinema, a potential new hotel and a refurbished Open Market, all also form part of the ten-year vision.
The council said the centre of the plans will be the Cultural Heart; built around the Queensgate Market and library buildings. Plans show it will include a library, art gallery, museum and live music venue in the Piazza and Queensgate area.
The Queensgate Market building is being considered for the proposed new 700-1,000-capacity live music venue, which will also include studios and tuition spaces and is planned to be completed by 2023. The plans also propose to remove some of the Piazza buildings to create an open space. Kirklees Council has recently acquired the Piazza Shopping Centre.
A number of plans have been drawn up for each area, with a focus on bringing some of Huddersfield’s historic buildings back into use, supporting new and existing businesses and introducing more homes to the town centre. There would also be redesigned streets and footpaths and greener and cleaner family-focused public spaces around the town.
Kirklees Council said a thriving Huddersfield Town Centre will benefit the whole of Kirklees and will help the council support its ambitious vision for growth within the district up to 2031.
The Huddersfield Blueprint is part of the council’s wider Economic Strategy which plans to deliver growth and success throughout all towns, villages and valleys in the region, allowing every resident, business and organisation to reach their potential.
Cllr Shabir Pandor, Leader of Kirklees Council, said: “I am delighted to be able to launch this ambitious plan for Huddersfield. We’re committed to seeing our economies thrive and these plans set out how Huddersfield will become a vibrant, family-focused town centre with something for everyone to enjoy.
“Town Centres are changing. Whilst we remain committed to ensuring we have a good retail offer throughout Kirklees, more people are now shopping online and the challenge is to develop a different kind of offer to encourage more people into town centres. This means having culture and leisure offers such as theatre, cinema, art and live music.
“The extra visitors will boost business for the existing, diverse local restaurants, bars and cafes in Huddersfield and encourage new ones to open. We’re ambitious for Huddersfield Town Centre and for the whole of Kirklees and planning is underway to regenerate our other town centres.”
Cllr Peter McBride, Deputy Leader of Kirklees Council and Cabinet Member for Economy, added: “Huddersfield is a remarkable place to live, work and invest but it has even more potential and with this Blueprint for the town centre, we’re aiming high.
“Huddersfield will be a family-friendly town centre that attracts people from far and wide with its famous Cultural Heart, a place with theatre, art, music and more all in one place.
“We want to better connect the town centre, making it easier for pedestrians and cyclists and improved train and bus stations with better facilities will make Huddersfield a key destination. More town centre homes will add an energy to the town centre.
“The Huddersfield Blueprint is our vision for the future of the town centre but we want local people to help us shape it. Please take the time to see the plans in full and take part in our consultation when we launch it.”
The plans are subject to a three-month consultation and engagement period which will begin in the coming weeks. This will involve an online platform as well as face to face interviews with residents and a drop-in shop in the town centre.
Source: The Business Desk