The next stage of funding for Kirklees Cultural Heart has been approved at a cabinet meeting, paving the way for Kirklees Council to carry out the next steps in the regeneration scheme’s programme.
Cabinet agreed to release £10.5 million of funds to enable the next stage of works on the £210 million project to commence.
This work will initially include the finalisation of the design, in line with the RIBA (Royal Institute of British Architects) design framework, and the submission of planning applications, which are to be submitted to the Local Planning Authority at the end of September.
The funding will also cover securing possession of key buildings and units across the Cultural Heart site, various site surveys, partial building strip outs, asbestos removal and entering contract discussions with potential construction contractors.
To support their decision, cabinet were presented with the latest business case for the project. This outlined how the Cultural Heart will deliver many long-term economic and community benefits for Kirklees, including:
- Increasing the number of visitors
- Safeguarding heritage assets
- Creating new jobs
- Enhancing the town centre’s green credentials
- Acting as a catalyst for further private-sector investment – particularly in the retail, leisure and accommodation sectors.
Councillor Graham Turner, cabinet member for regeneration, said: “I think we, as a cabinet, have made the right decision for Kirklees in approving this next stage in the Cultural Heart programme. This is a significant step closer to delivering the transformational masterplan and I am excited to move towards the submission of a planning application later this month.
“This comes on the back of several weeks of healthy public consultation and engagement, which is helping us finalise the plans. We are extremely confident in the Cultural Heart investment and can’t wait to deliver an amazing new landmark for the people of Kirklees.
“This administration will not sit idly by and watch our once great towns slowly decline. We will invest across Kirklees to create thriving vibrant communities. The Cultural Heart will create an exciting and vibrant new chapter for Huddersfield which builds on its great history.”
The Cultural Heart is the centrepiece of the wider Huddersfield Blueprint, Kirklees Council’s ambitious ten-year vision to create a thriving, modern-day town centre for Huddersfield.
Plans for the Cultural Heart would see the refurbishment of the historic Queensgate Market and Huddersfield Library buildings to house a vibrant food hall and a dedicated museum space respectively. These new offers will sit alongside a new community-focused library, modern art gallery, multi-purpose live entertainment venue and a 350-space car park – all of which will be connected by a series of world-class public spaces and green parks.
Two phases of public consultation on the Cultural Heart proposals, which began back in May, finished last week. In total, around 8,000 people engaged online and nearly 600 people attended the various in-person exhibition spaces and events to learn about the plans. All comments submitted as part of the consultation have been considered and are helping to shape the final plans.