Town centre investment hailed as a great boost for Dewsbury economy

Members of Dewsbury Forward are celebrating news of �1m funding to help improve the town centre.Pictured are Marilyn Shaw, Imran Ahmed,Jackie Ramsay and Eric Firth.  Picture Scott Merrylees
Members of Dewsbury Forward are celebrating news of �1m funding to help improve the town centre.Pictured are Marilyn Shaw, Imran Ahmed,Jackie Ramsay and Eric Firth. Picture Scott Merrylees

A project aimed at reinvigorating Dewsbury’s economy has been hailed as a great boost for the town.

Shop fronts will be targeted for improvement as part of a project aimed at reinvigorating and re-energising the local economy.

Kirklees Council is to offer landlords and property owners the opportunity to apply for grants totalling £1.25m to improve buildings within the Dewsbury Town Centre Conservation Area.

It comes as Dewsbury has been added to a shortlist of towns eligible to bid for up to £25m from the Government’s £3.6bn Towns Fund.

As part of the Dewsbury Grant Revival Scheme Northgate, Galleries Corner, Westgate, Corporation Street, Bond Street and parts of Union Street and Foundry Street have been proposed as “priority streets”.

Eric Firth, from Dewsbury Forward, said: “It’s a fantastic stimulus, a great boost for the town.

“We’ve wanted some investment in Dewsbury for so long.

“This comes on the back of Heritage Lottery working with the council and local organisations on the restoration of Pioneer House, making Dewsbury a Heritage Action Zone, another Heritage Lottery project, and the bid for the £25m of new money from central Government.

“It all amounts to a masterplan for Dewsbury, and I think it can be resurgent.

“We have to find our niche in Dewsbury and stimulate our retail offering.

“We can give business owners help and support to make our town great again.”

Bruce Bird, secretary of the Dewsbury Chamber of Trade, said: “Naturally, the Chamber of Trade welcomes this second push by the council to improve the appearance of the town centre.

“There was a disappointing take-up by Dewsbury landlords of the first Townscape Heritage Initiative grant scheme.

“There’s an enormous amount of money, whether it is council funds, grants or private investment that has already gone into the town centre but not a lot by existing landlords and we need to encourage every landlord to play their part by improving the appearance of their property.

“So we will be working with the council to persuade landlords of the changing landscape and that sitting on their hands doing nothing is no longer a sensible option.”