Combined Authority asked to back projects to aid economic recovery

Schemes to help boost the recovery of the economy and create jobs in the wake of Covid-19 will be considered at next week’s meeting of the West Yorkshire Combined Authority Investment Committee.  

The Dewsbury Arcade project will reopen the Victorian Arcade in Dewsbury. 

Reopening the site will enable small, independent, local businesses to occupy the space. The project is set to create 30 jobs, with an additional 10 construction jobs. 

The £3.25m project – which is seeking £600,000 in investment from the Combined Authority – will be discussed by members, who will be asked to progress the scheme to the next stage.   

Members will also consider investing £1.37m into the proposed acquisition of the George Hotel in Huddersfield and works to make the building safe and ready for development. 

The George Hotel, which would cost £9.27m in total to refurbish, is a grade II* listed building and will become the home of the National Museum for Rugby League along with complementary commercial space. 

Options are being considered whether to deliver flexible Grade A office space or overnight accommodation within the upper floors of the George Hotel.

The office space would deliver approximately 148 jobs and the overnight accommodation would deliver about 134 jobs.

Both schemes will be funded by the Getting Building Fund. West Yorkshire Combined Authority secured £52.6m from the Government fund in September 2020 to accelerate projects in response to Covid-19.

The projects will be discussed at an online meeting of the West Yorkshire Combined Authority’s Investment Committee on 4 March 2021. 

Councillor Denise Jeffery, chair of the West Yorkshire Combined Authority Investment Committee and leader of Wakefield Council, said: It is going to be very important to encourage people to return to our town and city centres as we emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic. 

“These projects will support the recovery of Dewsbury and Huddersfield town centres, helping to create jobs and boosting the overall local economy.  

The Combined Authority is committed to enabling a strong and growing economy, which benefits all of our West Yorkshire communities. 

“We want to improve people’s day-to-day lives, by investing in infrastructure, supporting the creation of new jobs and unlocking the region’s economic potential.”