New lease of life for former college building in Dewsbury

Proposals have been put forward by MMR Construction to convert the Wheelwright Centre building in Dewsbury (Picture by LDR service)
Proposals have been put forward by MMR Construction to convert the Wheelwright Centre building in Dewsbury (Picture by LDR service)

A former college building in Dewsbury could be given a new lease of life after plans were submitted to Kirklees Council.

Proposals have been put forward by MMR Construction to convert the Wheelwright Centre building of Birkdale Road into 65 apartments ranging from studio flats to to three-bedroom.

The proposal will also include an on-site gymnasium exclusively for residents, internal plant and BEMCO rooms and external refuse and cycle stores.

The site will also have 70 regular parking spaces, four disabled spaces, six EV charging spaces and eight visitor parking spaces.

The building was originally built between 1891-1893 as Wheelwright Grammar School for Boys; more recently the building was secured as part of Kirklees College, known as Batley School of Art henceforth.

While the main building was built in the 19th century; extensions were added to the school, seeing two large wings erected in both the 1960’s and 1980’s.

Beckwith Design Associates Ltd acting as planning agents for MMR Construction said: "The proposed works are a full refurbishment and therefore the scale and mass of the building are to remain unaltered expect in relation to the 1960’s extension.

"The 1960’s extension is to be demolished as the existing layout is undesirable and does not actively suit refurbishment as well as this the footprint of this extension could be more usefully be utilised as external parking."

In December 2018 a century of teaching and tradition came to an end when Kirklees College decided to sell off two of its historic sites.

The Wheelwright Building and the Oldroyd Building, both within the college’s Dewsbury campus, were surplus to requirements following a £3m investment in a new site.

The two parcels of land – on Birkdale Road and Halifax Road – are held on trust for Dewsbury Endowed Schools Foundation