Kirklees Council leader Mehboob Khan answers budget cut fears

COMMITTED: Coun Mehboob Khan
COMMITTED: Coun Mehboob Khan

The leader of Kirklees Council has responded to fears that this year’s budget cuts could harm our town centres.

Under proposals currently under consideration, there will be less money to spend on maintaining Dewsbury town centre.

There will also be less money spent on high profile events, with the town’s A World Together festival cancelled altogether.

In Mirfield, officers have proposed closing the council’s Westfields office, which could mean fewer people working and spending money in the town.

But despite the cuts, Coun Mehboob Khan, pictured, said the council was committed to regenerating Dewsbury and that Mirfield would continue to benefit from a number of initiatives.

He said: “The council has invested significantly in helping Dewsbury to be a vibrant town and, as much as possible against a backdrop of massive financial pressures, this will continue.

“We are pro-active in Dewsbury’s regeneration.”

He said measures such as the free town bus, the free parking scheme and grants for local traders were evidence of this, and said millions had been spent on the market and Pioneer House.

He added: “Events will continue taking place to attract shoppers into the town centre, as this helps to make Dewsbury an attractive location for new businesses.”

He said a new customer service centre in the town would help Dewsbury’s regeneration.

On Mirfield, Coun Khan said the town had benefited from projects including the refurbishment of Ings Grove Park.

Fourteen firms had received grants to improve their premises and Cold Calling Control Zones had been set up to improve public safety, he added.

He added: “We all have to acknowledge that huge cuts in funding mean some very tough decisions are having to be made by every council. In Kirklees we are doing all we can to protect vital frontline services.”