Plans to transform town centre and create a £210m ‘cultural heart’ move forward

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Game-changing £210million plans that could transform Huddersfield Town Centre into a vibrant cultural hub of leisure, arts and music are a stage closer after being given the go-ahead by Kirklees Council’s cabinet.

As part of Kirklees Council’s Huddersfield Blueprint regeneration vision for the town centre, details of the plans to transform the Queensgate and Piazza area into a unique “Cultural Heart” are progressing as planned with the stage one report being brought to cabinet this month.

The proposals, approved yesterday will see the library and market buildings retained for new uses and the Piazza Shopping Centre – purchased by the council in 2019 – demolished to make way for a new town park.

This latest cabinet decision marks the next steps in delivering the project and will see design and other works now continue, ahead of a decision on final plans which is expected by mid-2022.

The plans for the new ‘cultural heart’ also include a new entertainment venue with a 1,200-2,500 capacity, an art gallery, a new library, a food hall, a museum and a multi-storey car park.

There is also potential for future additional commercial uses including hotel, restaurants, bars and offices and residential.

Links between the University of Huddersfield and the town centre will also be improved with the demolition of the Piazza Shopping Centre and the creation of a new Town Park where activities spill out into it from the surrounding buildings, with facilities for outside events.

 

The current work comes after the cabinet approved the feasibility stages of the Cultural Heart to go ahead, which will culminate with the business case and masterplan being brought back to cabinet in July 2022 for approval to commit the funding.

Councillor Peter McBride, cabinet member for regeneration, said: “This is such an exciting project which will bring our vision for Huddersfield Town Centre to life.

“The Cultural Heart is what will make Huddersfield stand out as a unique destination for visitors, with a vibrant hub of music, arts, food and more all in one area, overlooking a stunning new Town Park capable of hosting large outdoors events.

“This is a game-changer for Huddersfield and the whole of Kirklees. Our Cultural Heart will offer something for every resident and will draw visitors in from far and wide with events and activities throughout the day and into the night.

“The demolition of the Piazza will open the town centre up, better connecting it to the University of Huddersfield and its students and staff, with the green, safe and welcoming Town Park acting as a perfect gateway into everything the town has to offer.

“When we launched the Blueprint in 2019 I said we meant business, and this might just be the most exciting step forward in the transformation of Huddersfield into a thriving, modern-day town centre with a boosted economy through increased footfall and an unrivalled cultural offer.

“Our ambitions go far beyond Huddersfield, we’re continuing to step up our plans to regenerate Dewsbury Town Centre and all of our other towns across Kirklees. This is a very exciting time for residents, businesses and visitors to Kirklees.”

The Huddersfield Blueprint is a ten-year vision to create a thriving, modern- day town centre that will be accessible, busy, inclusive, family-friendly, sustainable and a safe environment that will stay open longer

It focuses on regenerating six key areas of Huddersfield Town Centre: Station Gateway, St Peter’s, Kingsgate and King Street, New Street, the Civic Quarter and a new Cultural Heart in the Queensgate and Piazza area.

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