Demolition of the eyesore former Kirklees College is to start in “late summer” after planning permission was finally approved for a £43 million re-development of the site.
Back in February Kirklees councillors gave the go-ahead for a new Lidl store, apartments and offices on the prominent Huddersfield Ring Road site.
The final details have now been signed off by the council and work on the six-acre site – which includes the Grade II-listed original Huddersfield Royal Infirmary – can now begin.
The vandal-hit and fire-damaged late 1960s and early 1970s college buildings are to be demolished and Lidl will build a new supermarket with a 127-space car park. The store will eventually replace the store on Castlegate.
The former hospital will be retained and the site will see 229 apartments and an office complex. The apartments are expected to be for older or retired people.
Developers Trinity One say contractors have been appointed and demolition will start in “late summer 2022.” Contracts have been exchanged with Lidl but the residential and office scheme won’t be offered to the market until September.
Development manager Paul Fox, director of Leeds-based property consultancy, Fox Lloyd Jones, said: “It’s a very exciting time now that proposals for this important gateway site are approved and committed, allowing us to expedite the long overdue redevelopment of this key strategic site.”
He added: “The commitment to knock down the outlying and non-listed buildings will really help to present the site in a better light given its visibility and prominence and in addition to the food store it presents a great opportunity for a modern town centre living or retirement scheme, alongside other possible uses in the listed building phase.
“These major regeneration schemes take time to deliver, and we are excited to think we are now so close to starting the demolition phase, which will transform the location and further add to the town centre offer and streetscape.”
A spokesperson for Lidl GB said: “We are thrilled to confirm plans to bring a new store to Huddersfield, marking another milestone in our ambitious store expansion programme.
“We have invested significantly in the area over the last few years, both in terms of investing in our existing portfolio and through our planned new stores, and we are excited to be able to offer a greater selection of our quality products and incredible value to even more shoppers.
“We are firmly committed to helping boost the local economy by creating new jobs and working with local suppliers in the construction of the new store.”
During the planning process, Trinity One said the scheme would take three years to complete and would create 222 jobs with 40 jobs at Lidl. In February this year they said they expected the site to be cleared by the end of 2022 with work underway on the supermarket.