Batley regeneration must be complete by 2026 - or Kirklees Council could lose funding for projects
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The Batley scheme is made up of four parts:
An improved link between Tesco and the town.
Improving Commercial Street to remove clutter and make it more suitable for pedestrians.
Bringing a multi-functional event space to Market Place.
Introducing a one-way system in part and refurbishing 39 Commercial Street, the former JBM Bargains, to a marketable standard.
The vast majority of the project’s funds are coming from the £12m secured earlier this year as part of the Government’s Levelling Up Fund (LUF).
A further £1.5m has been allocated from the council’s Local Centres funding and just over £880,000 from the West Yorkshire Combined Authority’s Streets for People initiative.
At present, work on Commercial Street, Market Place and the Tesco link are projected to be completed by March 2026, with the other scheme’s timeline still to be confirmed.
At this week’s meeting of the council’s growth and regeneration scrutiny panel, members heard how the plans for Batley were moving forward and that a team was appointed to oversee the project in June.
The panel was also told that costs had been reviewed and the council has sufficient funds to deliver the four stages of the project.
However, Simon Taylor, head of town centre programmes, told the meeting that the March 2026 end date is “just about deliverable at this stage”.
He added: “We will have big problems with our funders if we slip very much beyond that actually.
"There’s a little bit of flexibility. I suspect another year wouldn’t be acceptable to DLUHC (Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities).”
This followed a question from chair of the panel, Coun Moses Crook (Labour) around the phasing of the project.
Coun Crook also asked whether the council could lose some funding if the timeframe slipped and Mr Taylor said that this was a possibility.
Other questions were raised around the proposals for parking, with Coun Zarina Amin (Ashbrow, Labour) expressing concern that people visiting the town may use residential streets for parking due to the proposed rationalising of parking space at Market Place.
Mr Taylor said there was a “balance to be struck” between good town centre parking and reducing the area’s problems with some said to be “abusing” the existing parking arrangements and driving unsafely.