Plans for the Cultural Heart scheme in Huddersfield town centre may change with a combined museum and art gallery instead of separate buildings … but this would free up a building which could be used by Greenhead College.

The proposals have been outlined in a report to next Tuesday’s Kirklees Council Cabinet meeting which reveals the museum and art gallery will now both be in the Grade II Listed former main town library to save money.

It means this would free up a plot on Queen Street and an early proposal is for Greenhead College to use it as science, technology, engineering and mathematics block. The college is now on the edge of town next to Greenhead Park so it would be a change to have one of its premier buildings in the town centre itself and very close to the University of Huddersfield.

If this doesn’t happen then the building could become a hotel or be turned into homes.

The report says “economic constraints” need to be considered, adding: “One of these opportunities currently being explored is the combining of the museum and gallery into one building to provide the most cost effective solution in terms of capital spend and operational costs. This in turn would free up a plot on Queen Street.

“The council is currently in discussions with Greenhead College and The Conway Education Trust who have expressed an interest in developing the site for a Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) facility. Alternative potential uses for the plot include hotel and residential.”

Clr Graham Turner, Cabinet Portfolio Holder for Regeneration, said: “As can be seen in the report we are working with Greenhead College on the possibility of creating a student learning facility on the Queensgate side of the site.

“Greenhead College is one of this country’s finest sixth form colleges and their wish to be involved in the Cultural Heart is much appreciated. This potential partnership demonstrates that by the council investing in our town centre we can attract external funding to help revitalise and regenerate it.

“A flagship building for student learning in the heart of Huddersfield will attract even more external investment and create more jobs and help stimulate the local economy.”

Work on the Cultural Heart will be done in phases and Cabinet will be asked on Tuesday to trigger £5.6m funding set aside for it.

The overall plans will see the refurbishment of the former Queensgate Market into a vibrant food hall and Huddersfield Library into the new museum and art gallery. It also includes a new community-focused library, live entertainment venue and a 350-space car park, all connected by a series of world-class public spaces.

Cabinet will be asked to approve the phased programme along with contract extensions for the project’s architects, engineers and project managers – plus the appointment of a lead construction contractor.

The recommendation is that initial works will concentrate on the refurbishment of the historic Queensgate Market site which will be transformed into the new food hall and modern library along with a new outdoor public square. The plan would see various site surveys and preparation work completed throughout 2023 with work getting underway early in 2024.

The first phase of the scheme is expected to be finished in winter 2025.

Clr Turner added: “Our Cultural Heart is going to deliver multiple long-term benefits for Huddersfield and the wider borough. It will increase the number of visitors to our town centre, safeguard key heritage assets, create new job opportunities, enhance our green credentials and act a catalyst for further investment and economic growth.”

Written by ANDY HIRST who runs his own Yorkshire freelance journalism agency AH! PR ( specialising in press releases, blogging, website content and copywriting.