The scale of Huddersfield’s £1 billion ambition has been set out in one place for the first time.
Huddersfield Unlimited, a business-led organisation that stands for the town, has launched its #OurHuddersfield campaign to bring together the public and private sector bodies which are set to transform the town centre.
Huddersfield Unlimited brought Kirklees Council, the University of Huddersfield and TransPennine Express together with local business leaders for a mini-conference at the John Smith’s Stadium.
Speaking from Kirklees Council was Edward Highfield, service director for skills and regeneration, and Clr Graham Turner, Cabinet member for regeneration; from Transpennine Express was George Thomas, business development director; and the University of Huddersfield was represented by Prof Liz Towns-Andrews OBE, director of external engagement, Huddersfield Business School, 3M Professor of Innovation and director of Huddersfield Unlimited.
Huddersfield Unlimited has published a glossy brochure ‘Our Huddersfield, Our Future’ which highlights the scale of investment planned in and around the town centre over the next few years.
In the centre spread, the brochure highlights 11 projects which will change the face of Huddersfield town centre.
- The Cultural Heart – Kirklees Council’s flagship £210 million scheme to create a new events venue and multi-storey car park, library, museum and art gallery along with an urban park and public space. A planning application has just been submitted and the current target date for completion is 2026. READ MORE: See all the images HERE.
- The George Hotel – Kirklees Council’s £20 million restoration of the Grade II*-listed building is underway and a deal is set to be signed for it to become a Radisson Red hotel. It could be open by Christmas 2024. READ MORE: Why the George Hotel will be a ‘game-changer.’
- The TransPennine Route Upgrade – TransPennine Express and Network Rail will carry out £9 billion-worth of electrification and infrastructure upgrades between Manchester, Leeds and York. That means around £1.5 billion of works in Kirklees including a complete internal rebuild of Huddersfield Railway Station and a doubling of the tracks from two to four between Huddersfield and Dewsbury. It is estimated the changes, once completed, will bring 75% more people into Huddersfield by train. Trackside works have already begun and a footbridge in Fieldhouse Lane near Deighton Station has been replaced. A temporary station is currently being built in Hillhouse for the periods when Huddersfield Railway Station will have to be closed. READ MORE: How the futuristic new Huddersfield Railway Station could look
- The National Health Innovation Campus – this is a £250 million investment by the University of Huddersfield in six state-of-the-art buildings on the site of the former Huddersfield Sports Centre off Southgate. Planning permission has been granted for the flagship building – the £60 million Health & Wellbeing Academy. This centre will train nurses, paramedics and social workers in a setting built to the WELL Building Standard which ensures every aspect of the build takes into account human health and wellbeing. It will also have specialist services and clinics open to the public. Site preparation work is underway and work on the academy building is due to start in 2023. The campus will be built in stages and, once completed, could have 2,000 people on site.
- Trinity One – the £43 million private sector re-development of the former Kirklees College and Huddersfield Infirmary site. Planning permission has been granted and demolition is about to start on the former college building with a retail and residential scheme planned to include a new Lidl store and apartments;
- St George’s Warehouse – Kirklees Council is seeking £10 million through West Yorkshire Combined Authority to open up links to the historic and derelict warehouse behind Huddersfield Railway Station. The aim is to make a business, retail and residential scheme for the warehouse financially viable for a developer;
- Huddersfield Blueprint and town centre re-development – Kirklees Council has wider plans under its Huddersfield Blueprint beyond the Cultural Heart and the George Hotel. Other schemes include turning Estate Buildings into high quality apartments. The council, which owns the building, has entered a partnership with social housing developer Thirteen Group. The council also has plans for Somerset Buildings as part of its Huddersfield Town Centre Living Plan, a drive to encourage more people to live in Huddersfield town centre. Repair work is already underway at Estate Buildings. The council is also carrying out street improvements. Dundas Street has been completed and there are plans to turn New Street into a ‘green street.’ The works in New Street will be carried out in stages to minimise disruption to businesses and could be completed in 2024. West Yorkshire Combined Authority and Kirklees Council also have £20 million plans for a new Huddersfield Bus Station. This is still in the planning stages and the estimated date for completion is winter 2025. READ MORE: Latest images of the Bus Station HERE.
- Station to Stadium Enterprise Corridor – Kirklees Council sees the area between the National Health Innovation Campus and the John Smith’s Stadium as a place to promote growth, job creation and economic development. Though the land is in different ownerships, this area could provide the “economic engine” for the town centre;
- The Huddersfield District Energy Network – Kirklees Council has £21 million plans to build its own power plant to generate and deliver heat for town centre buildings. Waste would be burned at the council’s incinerator in Hillhouse and piped into the town centre via an Energy Centre in Leeds Road. The council has now applied for Government funding to draw up a full business case. If the scheme goes ahead, building work could start between April 2024 and March 2025.
- Fibre Broadband Connectivity – CityFibre is investing £30 million in next generation full-fibre broadband across Huddersfield. This is around two-thirds completed and the town centre already benefits from the full-fibre capabilities;
- The former Co-operative Building – now called Renaissance Works – has been turned into high-quality student flats in a £10 million scheme. It is described as “executive living for students” and has around 126 beds. A private sector company, SKA Developments, is behind the scheme.
The conference was chaired by Huddersfield Unlimited chairman Sir John Harman who said: “Huddersfield Unlimited was set up with one unifying aim; a determination that Huddersfield should have a vibrant, successful future.
“The time is now, with committed investment in the Civic Quarter, the university and rail infrastructure worth over £1bn over the next few years; a powerful lever to bring in business investment. With determined promotion and advocacy, together we can make Huddersfield THE place to live and work in the M26 corridor.”
Mayor of West Yorkshire Tracy Brabin, a Kirklees resident who lives in Slaithwaite, told the conference there were exciting times ahead for Huddersfield.
“It’s great that there is so much optimism,” she said. “Even though times are difficult, the opportunities are enormous for Huddersfield. You are lucky to have a progressive council which has stuck to its guns.”
She said the “ambition is phenomenal” and added: “Huddersfield’s future is a bright one.”