£3m restoration of The Arcade in Dewsbury will be 'catalyst for change'
Hundreds of people turned out to take a look inside a Dewsbury shopping arcade set for a £3million restoration.
Kirklees Council and the not-for-profit company hoping to take on the lease for The Arcade opened the doors to the public on Saturday afternoon.
People had the chance to find out more about newly-submitted plans and also quiz the architects and view drawings of what the revamped Grade II Victorian arcade could look like.
Market Place was buzzing during the afternoon as up to 300 people enjoyed food, drink and live music.
The Arcade closed in 2016 and was bought by Kirklees Council in May 2020. It has now been stripped out inside pending restoration work.
The community benefit company hopes to become “preferred bidder” for a lease to run The Arcade which will let shops and units to small retailers, artisans and entrepreneurs.
One of those who attended the Summer Gathering event on Saturday was Paul Ellis, president of Dewsbury Chamber of Trade, who was keen to see the renovation move forward.
“The chamber welcomes all investment in the town and very much supports the community benefit company in its plans,” he said.
“The Arcade is a stunning piece of Victorian architecture and we are very pleased it will not be owned and run by absent, profit-seeking landlords like most of the town centre shops are.”
A combination of council investment, the Getting Building Fund and the Town Fund Programme will allow a full refurbishment for 15 small shops, four large end units and seven first-floor studios. It is hoped to attract high quality cafes or bars to the larger units at either end.
If planning permission is granted, construction work should start in Spring 2022, with a proposed opening date in early 2023.
Dewsbury East councillor Eric Firth, who is also cabinet member for town centres at Kirklees Council, said: “Dewsbury Arcade is an iconic building in the town centre.
“Bringing The Arcade back to life will be a big part of putting Dewsbury firmly on the map as one of Yorkshire’s premier destination towns.
“I believe this project will be a catalyst for change, and a springboard to the town’s bright future.
"The restoration and repurposing of this beautiful building will lead the way.”