Councillors have spoken of their relief at finally “getting Holmfirth done.”

The £3.9 million Holmfirth Town Centre Access Plan split opinion with some traders in Victoria Street saying their businesses would be put at risk.

Kirklees Council has been working on a scheme to “re-purpose” Holmfirth town centre since 2018 but on Tuesday it was finally approved by the Cabinet.

The scheme involves the demolition of the current Market Hall and an extension to the adjacent car park which will become a combined car park and public events space.

Walkways and a bridge will be widened too, making it easier for people to get between Huddersfield Road and Hollowgate.

The other major part of the scheme is aimed at improving traffic flow and cutting congestion. A 20mph speed limit will be introduced throughout the town centre and changes are planned in Victoria Street, a major bottleneck where illegal parking often causes blockages.

A new loading bay and two disabled parking spaces will be introduced on the north side of Victoria Street but that sparked anger from some businesses on the other side of the street. One of them, The Old Bridge Bakery run by Greg Christofi, said deliveries would be impossible for them, putting their future at risk.

Feelings were running high and former Mayor of Kirklees and Holmfirth councillor Nigel Patrick felt so strongly opposed to the plans he removed his chain of office and stepped down as chairman of a full council meeting so that he could speak out against the proposal.

The former Cabinet member for regeneration, Peter McBride, who retired from the council in May, faced repeated questions at several meetings, always insisting what the council was proposing was in the best interests of Holmfirth.

Councillors at Tuesday’s Cabinet meeting finally approved the scheme and Clr Eric Firth, Cabinet member for town centres, described the issue as a “saga.”

The proposals had been subject to extensive public consultation and much change and was now on its fourth version. “It’s been a long time coming,” he said.

“We all know Holmfirth town centre gets clogged up. When this scheme is delivered it will transform Holmfirth and the air quality. Holmfirth will be safer, cleaner and greener and it will be a pleasure to visit.”

Clr Paul Davies, Cabinet member for corporate and also a Holmfirth councillor, hailed the scheme a “fantastic example of where the council is absolutely listening to residents.

“Yes, we know there’s been some views which have been opposing what’s planned but that’s in the context of significant consultation.”

Former councillor Peter McBride sent a text saying: “Yipee!”

As Cabinet members voted to approve the scheme Clr Firth said he’d just received a text message from former councillor Mr McBride which said simply: “Yipee!”

Council leader Shabir Pandor said: “If you’re listening, Peter, thanks for your hard work. We got there in the end!”

After the meeting the council issued a statement saying the multi-use car park and community events space would have several water and electricity points. This would allow it to “function as a community event space, mirroring the usage of St George’s Square in Huddersfield town centre – where markets and events take place throughout the year, drawing in visitors and boosting the local economy.”

A Traffic Regulation Order (TRO) consultation is planned for later in July.