Consultants hired by Kirklees Council have revealed more detail on a vision to transform Huddersfield town centre, creating a £210 million Cultural Heart.

Architects Fielden Clegg Bradley are currently working up plans and the latest thinking was shared with councillors on the Economy and Neighbourhoods Scrutiny Panel.

Helen Roberts, a partner at the firm, gave councillors an outline of the vision they were drawing up for the former Piazza area, which is to be demolished under the plans.

The architects want to make more of the listed Queensgate Market building with its unique raised roof structures, known as ‘hyperbolic paraboloids.’

The building is partially hidden from Peel Street and Ms Roberts said the plan was to “peel and reveal” and open it up by removing the former Dorothy Perkins store frontage.

The market is to be moved out in August and a new food court would be created to take advantage of the roof space.

The building would also become home to the new library, which would occupy the east wing. An extension for the library would be built to face onto a new public square.

The current Huddersfield Library and Art Gallery will become the new Huddersfield Museum and will also have an extension on the side. There was a suggestion the extension could be a “big glass cube” but designs are still being drawn up.

Opposite the museum a new gallery space would be built which would have access from the existing underground tunnels.

Between the new gallery and Queensgate Market there would be “cascading steps” with a lift alongside. The rest of the former Piazza area would be an urban park.

At the other side, on the site of the demolished Market Hall car park, a new music and events venue will be built along with a new multi-storey car park. The music venue will have a 2,200 capacity.

Councillors were excited at the plans and described them as “transformational.” Panel members quizzed council officer David Glover, the senior responsible officer for the Cultural Heart, about the costs of the project and uncertainty over rising inflation.

Mr Glover said a sum of money had been factored into the £210 million for inflation though no details were given. Clr John Taylor (Con, Kirkburton) warned current inflationary pressures could not have been known even six months ago.

Clr Taylor also said the open public space should not become a magnet for anti-social behaviour and there should be adequate lighting to ensure people felt safe to use the space after dark.

He also said he’d like to see a ‘green’ space and added: “I want to see trees and flowerbeds but if you have flowerbeds they have to be maintained.”

A streetview from Queensgate/Queen Street with the new museum and gallery in the distance

On the extension for the side of the current library building, Clr Taylor said: “I would hate the idea of a big modern extension. I would rather see something sympathetic than a big glass cube but that’s my own view.”

Ms Roberts replied: “Though it might appear as a big glassy box it may or may not be that. We are still exploring that.”

Clr Martyn Bolt (Con, Mirfield) asked about what kind of music performers could be expected at the new venue.

Mr Glover replied: “The market for acts is being factored into the business case thinking now and the aspirations. We will be creating a new venue that the area does not have.

“You will be targeting complementary acts and performers to those that don’t currently come to the Kirklees area, those that journey past us to Leeds, Manchester and Sheffield.

“Obviously you create competition but you will emphasise and improve the music and the acts that come here and it can add to the dynamics of the whole area.”

Scaffolding wrap on the front of the George Hotel

The meeting at Huddersfield Town Hall also saw some angry exchanges over plans for the George Hotel.

Clr Taylor has repeatedly asked the Cabinet whether a business case was produced prior to the council’s £1.8 million purchase of the hotel. He asked again but still received no reply.

The council originally planned to create a 60-bed hotel along with space for the National Rugby League Museum. However, the council pulled out of an agreement with Rugby League Cares over the museum after consultants said the hotel needed 90 rooms to be viable.

Clr Taylor said the Labour Cabinet had not been “open and transparent” over what had happened and had lost the trust of opposition parties.

He said it was quite clear the hotel had been bought on a “hope and a prayer.”

Clr Peter McBride, Cabinet member for regeneration, said: “There’s no attempt whatsoever to hide anything.”

Describing the George Hotel as “probably the most important building in town” and admitting it was in a “dreadful” state, he said the promises made to Rugby League Cares were genuine but “it was ongoing work that meant attitudes had to change.”