Huddersfield’s potential for investment and economic growth was showcased to a high-profile business audience – and they couldn’t get enough.

Kirklees Council and Huddersfield Unlimited, a business-led organisation that stands for the town, jointly hosted a sold-out event in Leeds as part of the UK Regions and Economic Investment Industry Forum 2023 (UKREiiF).

The ‘Investing in the Future’ event brought together over 100 public and private sector stakeholders including investors, developers, housebuilders and more, to discuss opportunities and create connections.

Attendees were clamouring to hear about the £1 billion-worth of investment being planned for Huddersfield over the next five years. The event proved so popular a waiting list had to be created.

Speaking at the event, Sir John Harman, chairman of Huddersfield Unlimited, said: “Over the last few years Huddersfield Unlimited has been working to put Huddersfield on the national stage as a place for businesses to locate and to grow.

“At last, we are able to do this. With over £1 billion of public investment due over the next five years, there has never been a better time to invest in Huddersfield.

“Huddersfield offers low costs and high value, a skilled and confident workforce, and a quality of life that includes active travel plans, town centre living projects, and cultural offerings.

“The region has a strong, united and passionate team of stakeholders who support investment, business sustainability and economic growth.”

Projects discussed at the event included:

  • The TransPennine Route Upgrade which will make Huddersfield one of the best-connected places in the North of England;
  • The University of Huddersfield’s National Health Innovation Campus at Southgate which will put the town on the global map for transformational health and wellbeing research;
  • The Station to Stadium Enterprise Corridor, creating the opportunity for a thriving hub of high-quality businesses and well-paid jobs between Huddersfield Railway Station and the John Smith’s Stadium;
  • The re-development of the Kingsgate Centre to include a new multi-screen cinema and food and drink outlets;
  • The Cultural Heart scheme to create a new food hall, music and events venue, museum, library, art gallery and outdoor public square in Huddersfield town centre;
  • The restored George Hotel which is to become a Radisson RED hotel.

Speaking in the run up to the event, David Shepherd, strategic director for growth and regeneration at Kirklees Council, said: “UKREiiF presents a key opportunity to showcase the scale and pace of regeneration in Kirklees.

“Our strong vision for the future, our partnership collaboration and our forward-thinking approach to development and sustainable growth has helped realise over £1 billion of planned investment in private and public infrastructure over the next five years.

“Kirklees is already home to thriving precision engineering, advanced manufacturing and textiles industries. We’ll draw on these industry strengths, as well as local talent and the district’s fantastic heritage and culture, its innovation and entrepreneurship, to showcase Kirklees’ strengths as a place to do business.

“We believe that Kirklees is an ideal destination for businesses looking to invest and expand, and we’re eager to share that message with investors from around the world.”

Kirklees Council leader Clr Shabir Pandor (left) with director of regeneration David Shepherd and a model of the Cultural Heart

Speaking at the event, Sue Cooke, CEO of the 3M Buckley Innovation Centre and deputy director for regional enterprise at the University of Huddersfield, said: “This is a fantastic opportunity for Huddersfield to attract innovative health companies to the region as we embark on the development of the National Health Innovation Campus, with its first phase due to complete in 2024.

“Supporting the NHS, the community and the health economy are key aims, as well as putting Huddersfield on the global map for innovation in health, wellbeing and productivity.

“The creation of the new health innovation campus is a flagship investment that will benefit all of West Yorkshire.”

Liz Towns-Andrews, Huddersfield Unlimited director and key University of Huddersfield liaison, said: “The portfolio of planned investment and development projects in the town will be transformational.

“I am particularly impressed by the ‘Station to Stadium’ development zone including the university’s National Health Innovation Campus.

“This area is set to become an exciting innovation district which will drive much needed business growth and inward investment for Huddersfield.”

Chair of Huddersfield Unlimited’s Transport and Connectivity Group, Leah Stuart, added: “It’s so exciting to see the millions of pounds being invested in Huddersfield town centre.

“This evening’s event has clearly demonstrated the growing interest in Huddersfield, recognising its fantastic location and excellent potential to be the fulcrum of the North.”