Scaffolding ‘eyesore’ is bringing town down

Gillian Roberts (owner of Dewsbury Diner) is concerned that scaffolding on a building next to her shop is making Daisy Hill look derelict and affecting business in the area. (D536B317)
Gillian Roberts (owner of Dewsbury Diner) is concerned that scaffolding on a building next to her shop is making Daisy Hill look derelict and affecting business in the area. (D536B317)

Scaffolding which dominates a town centre building is making a shopping street look ‘derelict’, according to local businesses.

Traders are fed up with the ‘eyesore’ on Westgate, which is still in place 18 months after it went up.

Gillian Roberts, who runs Dewsbury Diner, said the scaffolding was unsightly and put people off shopping on Daisy Hill.

She said: “It’s bad enough trying to get any customers now. People come out of the precinct and look round here and all they can see is they scaffolding – it looks like a derelict street.”

The last remaining tenant of the building, which includes 26-32 Westgate and 2-6 Union Street, closed his store, Dewsbury Photo Shop, three weeks ago. The company which owned the building went into receivership in 2009 and said they had no obligation or funds to make the building good. The building is no longer looked after by receivers UHY Hacker Young and Kirklees Council did not confirm who currently owns it.

Mrs Roberts added that the scaffolding presented a safety hazard .”I’ve got a least a couple customers who use wheelchairs who have to come off the pavement and go onto the road,” she said.

Cars often speed along Daisy Hill, with some drivers ignoring the one-way street sign, while children were also at risk when trying avoiding the scaffolding, she added.

“We’ve been told it’s not a priority,” Mrs Roberts added. “But you would think a falling down building would be a priority. Even if it was just knocked down and they put a park there – something different to bring people up here.”

Mrs Roberts said more should be done to help town centre businesses – including using empty shops to advertise goods sold at occupied shops.

Vice-president of the Chamber of Trade Andrew Hutchinson said: “We’re disappointed and frustrated that the scaffolding is still there. It’s been going on for a long time now and we’d like to see something done. It’s detrimental to retail trade in the area. It’s an eyesore. We’d like to see the whole town tidied, but we know the council can only do so much.”

Trish Makepeace, Chairwoman of Dewsbury Retail Forum, said the scaffolding was adding to the burden on struggling Daisy Hill. “It’s a blight on that area of the town but also a safety issue,” she added.

“It can’t be left like that. Somebody should take responsibility, if only to make it safe.”

A Kirklees Council spokeswoman said: “Now the building has come under new ownership we are seeking to resolve the problem with the new owners.”