Huge public support for creation of a heritage centre in Dewsbury

A councillor has been inundated with support for her call for a heritage centre to be created in Dewsbury town centre.

Sunday, 5th December 2021, 7:00 am
The Walsh Building has emerged as the preferred location for a heritage centre in Dewsbury

Coun Cathy Scott, whose Dewsbury East ward includes the town centre, fears Dewsbury’s history is being lost piece by piece.

Since Dewsbury Museum closed in 2016 there has been no focal point for the town’s history and Coun Scott believes important memorabilia, documents and artefacts are ending up in the skip and are lost forever.

After Coun Scott raised the idea in the Reporter two weeks ago, she has been overwhelmed by support from people who want to see the heritage centre become a reality.

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Coun Cathy Scott

Coun Scott, also deputy leader of Kirklees Council, said: “Lots of people have contacted me and my phone has been ringing off the hook with people saying they want this to happen.

“There’s no museum and long-established businesses and shops are closing down and all this heritage is being lost.

“Dewsbury is seeing so much change and we need to preserve our history so people can remember what it was like in the past.”

Coun Scott would like to see the existing Walsh Building, next to Dewsbury Town Hall, become the heritage centre.

Before the pandemic the building was used as a Customer Service Centre by the council. It was then used as a Covid-19 testing centre, manned by the Army at one point.

Under the latest £60million Dewsbury Blueprint regeneration scheme, the Walsh Building is earmarked for demolition under plans to create a Town Park in Longcauseway.

Coun Scott said she intended to speak to council leader Coun Shabir Pandor and senior officers asking them to seriously look at the Walsh Building as the venue for a heritage centre.

“The Walsh Building is a lot bigger than it seems and I’m told by architects that it’s constructed with blocks so part of it could easily be taken down if necessary,” she said.

“The heritage centre would be ideal for the Walsh Building and it would encourage people to come into Dewsbury and increase footfall for shops and other businesses.

“If we do this we want it to be a focal point, not be tucked away.”