Dewsbury town centre is set for a £1m make-over.
Shop fronts will be targeted for improvement as part of a project aimed at reinvigorating and re-energising the local economy.
Kirklees Council is to offer landlords and property owners the opportunity to apply for grants totalling £1.25m to improve buildings within the Dewsbury Town Centre Conservation Area.
It comes as Dewsbury has been added to a shortlist of towns eligible to bid for up to £25mfrom the Government’s £3.6bn Towns Fund.
As part of the Dewsbury Grant Revival Scheme Northgate, Galleries Corner, Westgate, Corporation Street, Bond Street and parts of Union Street and Foundry Street have been proposed as “priority streets”.
In what the authority describes as “exceptional cases” grant money may also be available to “very good schemes” elsewhere in Dewsbury outside the conservation area.
The Dewsbury Grant Revival Scheme was approved by the council’s Cabinet on Tuesday (September 10).
It is hoped that it will address the appearance and condition of town centre shop fronts as well as some vacant buildings, some of which feature poor workmanship and ill-considered advertisements and suffer from a lack of maintenance as well as unauthorised alterations.
A similar project has already been rolled out in Huddersfield.
Councillor Cathy Scott (Lab, Dewsbury East) described the investment as “an opportunity to work with owners”.
It also sits alongside the £3m revamp of Grade II listed Pioneer House on Northgate, which will be a new campus for Kirklees College
Dewsbury MP Paula Sherriff said she was “encouraged” by schemes designed to tackle the decline of the town and that the council’s funding “presents another opportunity to improve long-neglected buildings”.
She also welcomed the chance for Dewsbury to receive “long overdue” investment as part of £241m to be made available between now and April 2021.
She blamed the state of the town centre on central government cuts that have impacted on council budgets, youth services and policing.
Miss Sherriff said: “I have asked the government again and again, what strategy they have for turning around this decline – sadly ministers have failed to give me a proper answer.
“I’m pleased that, finally, there’s some recognition of the need to address the bitter frustration that stems from areas like ours having been held back for decades without serious investment, while regions like London and the South-East have become wealthier.”