Kirklees Council has backed plans to turn St Peter’s Gardens into an events space – but has pledged to ensure the people who hang around there get the help they need.
St Peter’s Gardens next to Huddersfield Parish Church has had a problem with nuisance and anti-social behaviour for many years, mainly caused by street drinking and drug abuse.
The council’s Cabinet has approved a grant to the church of £121,900 on top of a further £350,000 from the UK Shared Prosperity Fund to turn around half the gardens, closest to the church, into an events space.
Speaking at a meeting of the Cabinet Clr Graham Turner, Cabinet member for regeneration, (pictured below) said the scheme would make St Peter’s Gardens a “pleasant and safe place” again.
He added: “St Peter’s Gardens has long been a problem in the town and this partnership with St Peter’s Church allows us to address these long running issues.
“This investment once again demonstrates the Cabinet’s ambition to regenerate Huddersfield as part of the Blueprint and tackle long-standing problems and provide an exciting and vibrant town centre fit for the next generation.
“We are working very closely with our partners to help those who spend their time in St Peter’s Gardens. We must not forget them and we must offer them all the help and support we can to tackle the underlying causes of their problems.”
The plans, which already have planning permission, involve moving 14 gravestones and a table tomb memorial closer to the church building.
It has yet to be decided what will happen to the rear half of St Peter’s Gardens.
David Shepherd, the council’s strategic director for growth and regeneration, said: “It’s exciting to see another piece fall into place for the Huddersfield Blueprint.
“What we’re doing here – and elsewhere in Huddersfield and Kirklees as a whole – is creating multi-functional spaces that suit a vibrant, modern-day town centre.
“We want to breathe new life into Huddersfield and help local businesses thrive, with a truly varied offering and developments that will stand the test of time for years to come.
“It’ll be great to work closely with the Parish Church and see this new space in St Peter’s Gardens brought to life.”
Work must start by October 21 2023 as that is when the current three-year planning permission expires.