Dewsbury residents and shoppers say it will take more than £20million from the Government to change their town

We headed to Dewsbury town centre on a rainy Friday morning to find out what people made of the Government’s plans to invest £20m in the town over the next decade.
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Last week, Dewsbury was announced as one of the 55 “overlooked” British towns in-line for the funding.

However, it became apparent that those we spoke to were less than optimistic about how the cash would solve the area’s problems with anti-social behaviour or breathe new life into the town.

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Lea Lenton said: “They’re having to shut all the shops down because people are smashing the windows. I don’t like seeing things being damaged.

Tracey Fallas (right) and her mum (left)Tracey Fallas (right) and her mum (left)
Tracey Fallas (right) and her mum (left)

"I feel sorry for the towns not having as many shops as they used to.

“Anti-social behaviour is a big issue in West Yorkshire. I’d spend the money on doing the shops up and making sure there’s more police.

"It’s getting worse. You don’t want to go out at night.”

Jamie Bretherick, who grew up in Dewsbury, said: “It’s a waste of money.

Residents highlighted the lack of seating in the Dewsbury Arcade areaResidents highlighted the lack of seating in the Dewsbury Arcade area
Residents highlighted the lack of seating in the Dewsbury Arcade area
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"What’s going to change with anti-social behaviour? How’s that [the money] going to change anything when it’s the people that need to change?

“It used to be a thriving town. It was lovely and had a great market.

"I live in Birstall now and wouldn’t live here for anything.”

When asked what she thought could be done to change behaviours, Ms Bretherick highlighted the lack of facilities for young people who are reportedly crying out for activities and clubs.

Jamie Bretherick (left) and Lea Lenton (right)Jamie Bretherick (left) and Lea Lenton (right)
Jamie Bretherick (left) and Lea Lenton (right)
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She added: “There used to be some youth clubs but now they just hang out and smoke on the streets.”

Lisa, who commutes to Dewsbury for work, said: “I don’t know what would fetch people back to Dewsbury. I won’t even come here after 6pm, I only come here to work.

People are hanging about in the streets as there are a lot of flats around here. You don’t feel safe anymore.

"People have stopped coming here, they go to Ossett, Wakefield or Leeds. All the shops are closing, businesses are not doing well.

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“People are street drinking in the side streets. It’s really intimidating.”

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Tracey Fallas and her mum spoke of the area’s declining trade and the stark lack of places to sit in the town centre.

Tracey said: “Shops are closing. People are buying online.”

Her mum added: “They’ve got the money to do the arcade but it’s been three years now. I don’t think it will ever be the same. No place is the same anymore.”

Local business owner Asif Hanif said: “Kirklees Council has done nothing for this town but it’s the Government’s fault that this is happening to the town.

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"Huddersfield and Dewsbury are dead because they’re putting money into the shopping centres like the Trafford.”

When asked what could be done with the investment, he said: “They need to put a roof over this square and create an indoor shopping centre, link it to the arcade and add some cafes. People don’t want to come here when it’s cold, they go elsewhere.

“They need to realise that people do go to the town but won’t go back when they’ve seen there’s nothing here.

“If you look at the architecture of the buildings, they are beautiful but they’re just getting dilapidated.

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“I’ve been here for 25 years and you couldn’t even get a shop in this town back then.”

He spoke of the declining trade over the past couple of decades as the demographic of shoppers and residents has shifted and younger people are choosing to shop in larger centres.