Green light for £210m town centre regeneration
Proposals for Kirklees Council’s £210m Cultural Heart development, which is set to transform the heart of Huddersfield town centre, have been approved by the Local Planning Authority.
With approval secured, construction of the first phase of the scheme is to get underway in spring 2024.
Initial works will concentrate on refurbishments of the historic Queensgate Market, as well as creation of an outdoor public square.
The Grade II Listed Queensgate Market building will be adapted to turn it into a food hall with space for around 10 independent food stalls and large, communal seating areas.
Within the same building will be a new library venue. The glass-fronted building will feature group meeting amenities, quiet breakout rooms, a dedicated children’s area, a local history room and computer facilities.
Once complete, a special event space and terrace on the top floor of the library will look out over the scheme’s landmark public square – an outdoor space with water features. This will double up as a destination for community and cultural events.
To enable these initial works, a section of the existing Piazza building along Princess Alexandra Walk will need to be demolished.
The remainder of the Piazza building will stay in place until demolition is required to progress work onsite. Shops including Boots and WHSmith will stay open during this period.
Leader of Kirklees Council, Councillor Shabir Pandor, said: “Our Cultural Heart project is a transformational scheme that will, alongside our wider Huddersfield Blueprint plans, provide a huge boost to our local economy and existing businesses.
“The Cultural Heart is all about delivering genuine long-term community assets, where friends and families can gather, relax and socialise.
“We are in the middle of a cost-of-living crisis and we understand times are challenging right now for many.
“This reinforces our ambition to grow our town centre offer and give people more reasons to visit and spend time here.”
Cllr Graham Turner, cabinet member for regeneration, added: “We’re pleased our plans to deliver the Cultural Heart have been approved.
“A lot of hard work has gone into this project. I’d like to thank the project team involved and also all the members of the public who took the time to share their comments on the plans, helping us to shape the final design.
“Construction of the scheme will be phased and work is already underway to appoint a principle construction contractor.
“Various site surveys and preparation works will be completed throughout 2023, with work getting underway in earnest early in 2024.”
The first phase is projected to complete in spring 2026. Following this, work will get underway on delivering an urban park.
There will also be a museum and gallery, a mixed-use building to help bridge the park and Queen Street divide, and a multi-purpose live entertainment venue with a 350-space car park.