Over £420m to be spent on 'gateway to Kirklees'

Councillor Martyn Bolt.
Councillor Martyn Bolt.

Massive building programmes, including the mooted North Kirklees Orbital Road, represent a £420m investment in Kirklees’ highways over the next 15 years.

That was the message from senior members of Kirklees Council’s Cabinet as they oversaw a progress report into a multitude of projects in the borough.

They include work on the clogged A629 Halifax Road between Huddersfield Ring Road and Ainley Top, the A62/A644 (Wakefield Road) link, and the A62 “smart corridor” on Leeds Road in

Huddersfield, which was recently unveiled to the public.

Further cash will be spent on improving Holmfirth town centre, the southern side of Huddersfield Ring Road, the A644 and A653 “strategic corridors” into Dewsbury and Leeds, and the Huddersfield Station Gateway project.

The North Kirklees Orbital Road is intended to link the M62 to the M1.

Over a 15-year period, which started back in 2014, around £420m will be spent in Kirklees from funding created by the West Yorkshire Combined Authority.

The overall fund for the region equates to £1bn over the same period.

Clr Peter McBride, a champion of regeneration and investment in Kirklees, described the various projects as “a big programme”, adding, “it’s indicative of how we can bring about improvement in our main arterial network.”

He said the 15-year programme addressed Kirklees’ immediate needs but also looked forward to future requirements following the introduction of the council’s Local Plan with all that entails.

But he was taken to task by the Conservatives’ Clr Martyn Bolt, who warned against adopting “Huddersfield-centric” approach to projects such as the Gateway to Huddersfield around the rail station.

“It’s not a gateway to Huddersfield,” he said. “It’s a gateway to Kirklees.”

He urged the council to look again at concerns over air quality, comparing Kirklees’ record with that of its near neighbour Calderdale which has introduced “living walls” on newly widened Salterhebble Hill to absorb toxins in the air.