Sunday, July 5, 2020

£25m bid to make Huddersfield a hub of culture

Kirklees Council is looking to secure £25million from the Government’s High Street Fund to deliver a new cultural and arts quarter around the Huddersfield Library and Queensgate Market area of the town centre.

The plans, which are still in the early stages, would include a significantly enhanced Huddersfield Library and Art Gallery and a new museum alongside the Lawrence Batley Theatre and new 700-1,000 capacity live music venue, if the bid is successful.

It is hoped that this could transform Huddersfield Town Centre, increase footfall and boost the night-time economy. It would also better connect The University of Huddersfield to the town centre.

This would form part of an ambitious Huddersfield Town Centre Masterplan, which is currently being drafted and is set to be revealed in spring, 2019.

The Council’s Cabinet has recently allocated £45million to regenerate Huddersfield and Dewsbury town centres, as well as a further £25million to support key projects which will help reshape the whole of Kirklees.

Further funding has also been secured from the West Yorkshire Transport Fund for a variety of transport-related projects, totalling over £150 million of investment.

The council is also monitoring future High Street Fund funding rounds which are due later this year and in 2020, with a view to bid for Dewsbury Town Centre next.

Cllr Shabir Pandor, Leader of Kirklees Council, said: “It’s clear to see that we are an ambitious and innovative council that is investing to ensure Kirklees is a great place to live, work and do business.

“It’s crucial that we get this right and in order for a modern day town centre to thrive it needs to have a more diverse offer. We recognise that in an age of online shopping, people want to have experiences in their town centres and culture is at the heart of this.
The future of our town centres is a huge priority for us. Whilst we’re bidding for funding for Huddersfield in this case, we’re working on a range of projects to improve our other town centres too.”

Cllr Peter McBride, Cabinet Member for Economy, said: “Our ambition for Huddersfield Town Centre will be captured in the emerging masterplan which we’ll be sharing in the coming months. However, we cannot miss out on what could be vital funding.

“Clearly, this is not the only project identified in the masterplan but bringing better experiences to the town centre is crucial to increasing footfall and attracting more visitors. Town centres have changed and we can no longer rely on retail alone.

“We want our town centres to have something for everyone, including families, and this would be a huge step forward.”

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