As the trees in front of the former Queensgate Market have been chopped down, Kirklees Council has announced that the Cultural Heart project is set for the “delivery phase.”

There have been more changes to Phase One of the scheme centred on the Grade II-listed former market building which will become a food hall and a new library.

The food hall will have space for around 10 food stalls and the new library will be created in the east wing with an extension out into a new public square.

The trees have been removed on Queensgate to reveal more of the ceramic panels, Articulation in Movement, by renowned sculptor Fritz Steller. The council says it plans to retain more of the building’s original features too.

The main change to plans approved in 2023 is the removal of the top-floor event space planned for the new library.

It’s been decided that the Cultural Heart will have enough event spaces elsewhere including within a future museum.

Clr Graham Turner, Cabinet member for finance and regeneration, said: “It’s exciting to see the final plans for Phase One of Our Cultural Heart now in place.

“Our decision to phase the masterplan means that we retain the original ambition and vision whilst being prudent with our finances.

“The recent adjustments have ultimately allowed us to save more character and heritage on an important listed building, still deliver a high quality, modern new library, and move into the delivery phase during these challenging economic times.

“We are confident that Our Cultural Heart will play a pivotal role in kick starting a new era for Huddersfield town centre.

“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 economic growth and investment.”

The construction programme for Phase One was approved by Kirklees Council’s Cabinet last month. Led by BAM Construction, enabling works on site are expected to get underway in March, with the main construction work to follow in the summer.

On the removal of the trees, Clr Turner said they were classed as categories C and U, meaning they were low quality and had a limited life expectancy.

He added: “The former market hall is a Grade II listed building and the internationally significant ceramic panels facing onto Queensgate are an important element of the heritage of this community asset.

“For a number of years, the ceramic panels, Articulation in Movement by sculptor Fritz Steller, have been obscured by the canopies of, mainly, birch trees.

“The strategy in this part of the scheme is to remove these trees to open up clear views of this important and beautiful feature, and to plant the area with a biodiverse mix of planting, using species that will visually soften the lower stone plinth, but that also will not grow so tall that they obscure the ceramic panels in the future.”