£28million for bus station revamps in Dewsbury, Heckmondwike and Huddersfield

Bus stations in Dewsbury, Heckmondwike and Huddersfield are all set for major multi-million pound revamps over the next three years as transport bosses look to coax people out of cars and onto buses.

By Tony Earnshaw, Local Democracy Reporting Service
Friday, 8th April 2022, 10:00 am

The projects will cost more than £28m in total, with some work scheduled to start as soon as October this year.

Council chiefs in Kirklees say revamping and reviving the district’s bus stations will assist “modal shift” – switching from cars to buses – and thereby providing an “accessible, attractive, and cleaner alternative” to car journeys.

That has been received cautiously by those scrutinising the plans, and there have been questions asked about the level of public engagement to inform the end result.

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An artist's impression of the new Heckmondwike Bus Hub

The current “bus hub” in Heckmondwike is to undergo a £4.97m transformation into a bus station with four existing bus shelters becoming four bus stands, plus a layover bay, offices, a “pod” containing waiting areas and toilets, and an outside canopy with seating.

Enabling work is currently set to begin by October, with eight months of construction starting in January 2023.

Dewsbury Bus Station is to be comprehensively upgraded and refurbished at a cost of £14.3m to make it a “modern, fit for purpose facility that is safer and more accessible and will support wider regeneration in the town centre”.

Building work is earmarked to start in September 2023 and finish in January 2025.

Huddersfield Bus Station is to get £9.1m of improvements that include a new entrance concourse and external canopy that will extend the waiting area for customers.

Roadworks have already begun in the vicinity of the bus station on Dundas Street, which have caused chaos in recent weeks due to cars being re-routed.

Kirklees Council appears to have shifted gears on that project, with staff confirming that a planned cycle lane has been scrapped. They said: “That is not the current intention.”

The council has engaged with the public over the three schemes and says further consultations are planned.

However, there remain concerns that consultation is still resulting in low responses.

One councillor said 280 respondents on the Huddersfield plan from the Kirklees population of around 250,000 people was “derisory small” and said “the usual suspects” were being sought for their views.

Coun Robert Iredale (Lib Dem, Golcar) also poured scorn on the view that making bus stations more aesthetically attractive would prompt people to swap their cars for bus travel.

He said: “I cannot see how cosmetically improving the bus station and how it looks will have an effect on car users.”

Cost escalation was also said to be a factor, with officers agreeing construction materials could go up in price and that they were monitoring the projects.

They accepted more money might not be available in future from the West Yorkshire Combined Authority, which put in a regional bid to the Government’s Transforming Cites Fund (TCF) for £66m.

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