Setbacks for repair of landmark building

UNFORESEEN structural issues have delayed the first phase of work to bring one of Dewsbury’s landmark buildings back into use.

Contractors had been due to finish weatherproofing Pioneer House by the end of November.

And scaffolding and netting shrouding the Grade II listed building was also due to be removed by now.

But further problems have been found with the building since work began last summer.

A council spokeswoman said this week that a combination of additional structural work and poor weather had hampered progress.

“The building is expected to be fully weatherproofed by the end of March with the possible exception of the clock tower which shall be completed shortly after,” she said.

Dewsbury Regeneration Board chairman Coun Paul Kane said: “I think it’s progressing well. I’m a little bit concerned that we’re finding things that weren’t picked up the initial surveys, but there’s sufficient funding for us to do it.”

When the council took possession in July 2011, the interior was described as being ‘like it was booby trapped’.

A second phase of internal repairs and work to its exterior will start once weatherproofing is completed.

The first tenant, Connect Housing, is expected to move in by September 2014 at the earliest.

Coun Kane (Lab, Dews East) said: “We’re still working to try to attract more people into the building. When it’s complete, it will be a cornerstone of the town’s regeneration. It will be a fantastic building, but a building without tenants is something we can’t think about.”

The council’s spokeswoman said it was in confidential talks with potential tenants.

She added: “We are not in a position to confirm whether any retail will be included as yet, although the council is keen to promote a retail element if we are approached by interested parties.”