Arcade revamp will be ‘jewel in Dewsbury's crown’
An eyesore arcade in Dewsbury town centre is to be revamped after Kirklees Council bought it from previous landlord for a seven-figure sum.
The historic arcade, with more than 20 individual shop units, which was built in 1899, is set to be cleaned up and refurbished, after being closed for four years.
Kirklees Council, which now own the building after purchasing it from a private landlord, said options are now being explored to reopen the arcade – which connects Market Place to Corporation Street.
Councillor Shabir Pandor, Leader of Kirklees Council, said: “This shows how serious we are about delivering on our vision for Dewsbury.
“The arcade building is a proud part of Dewsbury’s past and by completing the purchase of it we’re making sure it’s a key part of the town’s future.”
It is the first step towards delivering the council’s ‘Dewsbury Blueprint’ vision, which launched in February and aims to create a family-friendly, active, accessible and attractive town centre as part of an ambitious £200m transformation of the town over 10 years.
“We want this to be a hub of activity and central to the town,” said Mr Pandor.
“Such a beautiful and historically significant building cannot stay closed any longer and that’s exactly why we’ve made this decision.
“Residents of Dewsbury deserve better than closed buildings and empty units.”
Peter McBride, cabinet member for regeneration, said: “This arcade has a great history in Dewsbury and at the heart of the town for more than 100 years.
“By buying it we’re taking control of its future.
“We’re working to deliver the right plan to fill the space with independent and local businesses and pump energy into the heart of Dewsbury.”
Chairman of Dewsbury Forward and Dewsbury East councillor, Eric Firth said: “This is wonderful news.
“We hope the clean-up can start as soon as possible and assessment of what works need to be done.
“Despite the coronavirus crisis, things are happening and Dewsbury Blueprint plans are taking shape.”
Paul Ellis, president of Dewsbury Chamber of Trade, said: “This is a boost for the town and will be the jewel in the town’s crown.
“There is lots happening and we look forward to welcoming new business.”
Councillor Cathy Scott, Cabinet Member for Housing and ward member for Dewsbury East, said: “The Arcade will act as a catalyst for change in Dewsbury as we continue to deliver on our vision for the town centre.”
The council are drawing up details and proposals over the next 12 months with an aim to reopen the Arcade by as early as 2022.
Words by Alison Bellamy