Kirklees Council’s Cabinet has backed plans to allocate £1.5 million to Holmfirth and three of the district’s smaller town centres to support local regeneration.

A total of £6 million will be shared equally between Holmfirth, Batley, Heckmondwike and Cleckheaton with the aim of helping the towns recover after the pandemic.

The council has selected these towns as they are the next largest centres in Kirklees, after Huddersfield and Dewsbury.

Council leader Clr Shabir Pandor said: “Earlier this year we set an investment budget that seeks to make sure we recover from the pandemic and leave no one behind.

“As part of this we are looking to invest £6 million to support future growth of some of our major towns.

“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 common place.

“Whilst more people are shopping locally, restrictions and lockdowns have made it harder for non-essential retail and service businesses in town centres across the country.

“Each local town has its own identity and communities. No one knows their town better than the local community, which is why we want to involve them in this exciting opportunity to have their say on how we spend the money.”

Tourist hot spot – pictures by Sean Doyle

Holmfirth was described by the council as the district’s “premier tourist destination, with beautiful countryside, local artists and artisans and links to well-loved television shows.”

Tuesday’s Cabinet meeting was told that Holmfirth would soon get a new market operator. The council was looking for an “appropriate organisation” to take on a licence to run a market and a decision was expected by late Spring.

The council wants to see “improved traffic flow” through the town centre and is suggesting possible investment in Holmfirth Library and points to the development potential of the existing market site.

The council has pledged to work with local councillors and consult local people on how they would like the funding to be spent.