Vote to be made over the future running of the completed Dewsbury Arcade
Kirklees Council is seeking Cabinet approval for the future lease and management arrangements for the Dewsbury Arcade once renovation works have been completed and the building is ready to reopen.
Located within the Dewsbury Town Centre Conservation Area, the condition of the building has been gradually deteriorating over the last ten years. However, most of the building became vacant and the thoroughfare closed to the public, 4 years ago.
Although the Council will retain the freehold of the Arcade for the foreseeable future, clarity on the preferred management option will enable officers and other organisations to plan for the future.
Councillor Eric Firth, Cabinet Member for Town Centres: “The rejuvenation of the Arcade is an exciting project and will bring our vision for Dewsbury Town Centre to life. Community-led regeneration is at the heart of the Arcade offer with the proposed lease to the community group making it the UK’s first community-run shopping centre.
"Having a local company run by local business people and investors with the support of the local area, operating the Arcade will enable local energy, commitment and expertise to be utilised to the benefit of the town and create the opportunity to keep any surpluses within the town to further future regeneration.
"The Arcade which was much loved by Dewsbury residents will become a new facility that is valued by the local community and celebrates its history while bringing it up to modern-day standards. A refurbished Arcade will be an important component of the town centre and similarly will give a vibrancy to the town which will help the performance of the Arcade”
The preferred option is for a management company to operate the Arcade. The report to Cabinet in February 2020 highlighted the potential for a community company to take on the management of the Arcade.
In May 2021 the Council received a proposal from ‘The Arcade Dewsbury’ Group to take a lease on the Arcade and manage the building.
The Arcade Group is a group of six local business people and investors who have come together to bid for the right to run the Arcade:
Peter Mason, Director - Mood Developments (Field House, Black Bull), Anis Dadu, Director - XYZ Legal, Sarah Barnes (Treasurer), Director - Barnes Field Pub Chain (West Riding, Old Turk), Yunes Patel, Director - YMG Construction (based in Savile Town, multiple development sites) Keith Shaw, - Chief Exec Wilby Transport, Dewsbury, Natalie Liddle, Director - WSA Arts (event organiser/ vintage clothes seller, and Chris Hill, Secretary - Arcade Project Managed, Kirklees Council.
The proposal sets out how the group would ensure vibrancy, inclusivity and make the Arcade family-friendly. There is a clear vision as to how the Arcade would be ‘curated’. Wider social benefits are explained via the recycling of surpluses into the project and in the longer term (if finances allow) other Dewsbury projects and initiatives.
If The Arcade Dewsbury Group is the preferred bidder then sufficient time will be awarded in order to fully establish the arrangements for managing the Arcade and secure occupiers in advance of the Arcade re-opening.
In addition, this will also provide time for fundraising and creating the appropriate legal entity for the Arcade Group. A minimum of a year is required to properly put in place the necessary arrangements
The Arcade is Grade II listed building and was built in 1899 being a popular town centre thoroughfare right through to 2014.
The Arcade currently consists of 17 small retail outlets, bookended by larger three-storey units at the Market Place and Commercial Street ends.
The shops are around 250 sq. ft, with the end units more than twice that size.
The go-ahead by Kirklees Council’s Cabinet will mean the project is a step closer to the proposed completion date of summer 2023.