Holmfirth town centre is set for a £1.5 million cash injection as part of a three-year post-pandemic boost.
Kirklees Council’s Cabinet is being asked to approve spending of £1.5 million in each of its ‘secondary’ town centres – Holmfirth, Batley, Heckmondwike and Cleckheaton – between now and 2024.
Large-scale Blueprint plans are already underway for Huddersfield and Dewsbury and its so-called ‘district centres’ – Almondbury, Birstall, Denby Dale, Honley, Kirkburton, Lindley, Marsden, Marsh, Meltham, Milnsbridge, Mirfield, Moldgreen, Ravensthorpe, Skelmanthorpe and Slaithwaite – will see investment later.
A report to Cabinet says: “The current pandemic is shining a light on local centres with more and more people using and discovering what is on their doorstep.
“On a positive note, lockdown has meant walking to the local food store to access everyday goods is more commonplace.
“Similarly, discovering local parks and community facilities will bring people together. However, if we are to continue to support our objectives for inclusion and climate change then we will want these centres not only to survive the current crisis but also to be strengthened moving forward so that they play an important part of local community life moving forward.
“However, these centres will require investment and businesses will need support if this ambition is to be fulfilled.”
Council officials say they want to tap into the “huge pride” that local people have for the places where they live.
“Concern for the future of town centres remains a key theme,” says the report. “This combined, with the national decline in town centre activity and a shifting emphasis during lockdown to a more locally-based lifestyle, means that widening out investment to centres other than Huddersfield and Dewsbury is now paramount.”
Local people and local councillors will be consulted on how the money is spent but the criteria are likely to be: Supporting retail, employment, community, and local centre activity; Sustainable travel and climate change measures; Improved community safety; Culture, art, and leisure activities; and public realm/landscaping, heritage, conservation, and better design – including shopfronts.
Kirklees Council is already working on a separate Holmfirth Town Action Plan which aims to ease congestion through the town.
The scheme involves a parking ban on part of Victoria Street which some traders say will make deliveries impossible, putting their businesses at risk.
There are plans for a loading bay but there is no agreement on which side of the road it should be.