Kirklees Council prepares to buy this building in Dewsbury as part of regeneration plan

Kirklees Council is to buy yet another town centre building, this time in Dewsbury.

Tuesday, 14th September 2021, 2:57 pm
Updated Tuesday, 14th September 2021, 2:58 pm
Kirklees Council is set to buy these buildings on Corporation Street/Foundry Street in Dewsbury as part of the 10-year Dewsbury Blueprint regeneration plan. (Image: Google)

Kirklees Council is to buy yet another town centre building, this time in Dewsbury.

It intends to purchase the four-storey property at 18-20 Corporation Street, plus the adjoining two-storey 17 Foundry Street, as part of its ongoing Dewsbury Blueprint project.

The cost of the deal – expected to be completed by the end of October – has not been made public but it is understood to be in excess of £250,000.

The authority wants to create a lift and staircase within 18-20 Corporation Street in order to provide improved access to the upper floors of the adjacent 1890s Arcade, which it already owns and which is undergoing a £2.3m refurbishment.

That work is scheduled to be carried out in 2022.

The two buildings are also earmarked to house stallholders set to be “decanted” from Dewsbury Market when it undergoes a massive £15m revamp.

One the market decant is completed the building could have a variety of uses including commercial activity on the ground floor and potentially offices above.

In a 16-page report to be brought to the council’s decision-making Cabinet next week officers said one of the strategic aims of the 10-year regeneration blueprint was to bring historic and other vacant buildings into use.

The Grade II-listed 18-20 Commercial Street has been vacant for two years. A survey earlier this year revealed it needs repairs to roofing, gutters and downpipes as well as internally.

The officers’ report said: “There is an opportunity for the council to purchase this key building and achieve multiple objectives.

“If it were not to purchase the property then its future would be uncertain and there is the real risk that the building would remain empty and deteriorate

further.

“In the event of it remaining in private ownership and being let, the council would have little control over the uses, nature of the goods sold in the property, and quality of the operation.”

Grade II-listed The Arcade was bought by the council in May 2020. It is being transformed into 15 small shops, four large end units and seven first-floor studios with the aim of attracting independent, craft-orientated retailers with high quality cafés or bars at either end.

Dewsbury Market will be reduced in size by cutting the number of stalls from 400 to approximately 200, emphasising food and drink and introducing a food court.

That means relocating – or “decanting” – traders “on street” within the town centre to Foundry Street (between Corporation Street and Market Place), Market Place, the western footpath of Longcauseway (in front of the Prince of Wales precinct) and the forecourt of the town hall.

As the number and size of traders outweighs the space available on surrounding streets, some traders may be placed in vacant shops.

Moving stallholders will cost £2.3m.

As part of the Huddersfield Blueprint the council has already bought the town centre piazza and the historic George Hotel.