Kirklees Council accused of 'wasteful spending' in Dewsbury and neglecting smaller towns and villages

Councillors across Kirklees have accused the Labour administration of “wasteful spending” in Dewsbury and neglecting the borough’s smaller towns and villages.
Watch more of our videos on Shots! 
and live on Freeview channel 276
Visit Shots! now

At a recent discussion over plans to regenerate Marsden, concerns that the council does not treat all areas of the borough equally when it comes to investment were raised by Coun John Taylor (Con, Kirkburton).

The council is currently focusing on the regeneration of Kirklees’ two “principal” towns – Dewsbury and Huddersfield.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Other smaller-scale blueprint projects cover Batley, Cleckheaton, Heckmondwike and Holmfirth.

Coun Graham Turner of Kirklees CouncilCoun Graham Turner of Kirklees Council
Coun Graham Turner of Kirklees Council

The local authority’s Huddersfield-centric approach has been a cause for concern for several councillors and political groups.

Leader of the Conservative group, Coun David Hall said: “Conservative councillors have been challenging this Labour administration for years about its neglect of the smaller towns and villages in the borough.

“I can understand why our local residents are furious at seeing wasteful spending in Huddersfield and Dewsbury – such as on flower planters, public art, grants to shopkeepers and landlords, buying buildings to do up at great cost and then giving them away – while our smaller towns and villages crumble.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

“And this waste is at a time when the council is meant to be short of money!"

Leader of the Lib Dem group, Coun John Lawson said: “What is very stark is the disparity between the Huddersfield Blueprint proposals and the comparatively tiny investment in the towns and villages program.

"These elements of investment in places like Cleckheaton and Holmfirth have seen their timescales extend from five to 10, then 15 years – further diluting the impact to a bare standstill if we’re lucky.

“We were the first to call for a review of the proposals and still think we should seriously consider what our priorities should be when we come to spending the remainder of the cash earmarked to fulfil the previous Labour leader’s vision.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

“In the council’s current financial situation, fairness must be our watchword. Cutting cultural and leisure provision in outlying parts of the borough while investing in another risks breeding resentment and we have to ask that if the debts for such investment extend out to 2073 is the whole of Kirklees really getting best value for money?”

Coun Graham Turner, cabinet member for Finance and Regeneration said:“Town centre regeneration remains an important strand of government policy with several core funding streams targeting this. To complement this the council is initially focusing its attention on the largest towns – Huddersfield and Dewsbury.

"This is clearly defined in our Local Plan which has a shopping centre hierarchy within it.

“These places provide for the shopping needs of residents across Kirklees and are the focus for the provision of financial and professional services; offices, entertainment; sport, leisure, arts, culture, and tourism facilities; as well as further and higher education and health services.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

"In addition, these places show the most visible signs of change and need the most support to reimagine themselves.”

Coun Turner explained that the council has established a hierarchy of towns based on their “importance” to determine the areas next in line for investment.

After the two major centres, the council considers Batley, Cleckheaton, Heckmondwike and Holmfirth to be the most important when it comes to regeneration.