Seven shopfronts said to be ‘out of keeping’ with the history and heritage of a Huddersfield town centre street are to be replaced.
Kirklees Council is set to agree a grant of £610,500 – or 80% of the cost – to the owner of the three-storey terrace, which is Grade II-listed.
The scheme to replace the modern metal shopfront frames with more traditional timber ones already has planning permission.
On Thursday December 21, Kirklees Council’s Cabinet will be asked to agree a grant to owners B&M Properties for 19-33a John William Street.
The seven shopfronts, opposite Church Street, include Supersam European Supermarket, African Food Centre, Legends Barber Shop and Fix My Phone.
This funding will come from the Heritage-Led Regeneration Scheme (HLRS), a capital grant scheme which was approved by Cabinet in February 2019.
A report to Cabinet says the scheme had a slow start, mainly due to the impact of the Covid pandemic, but now £1.2 million has been committed with four buildings completed so far with another six under assessment.
The report says there have been complaints about the current shopfronts being ‘out of keeping’ with the listed buildings and Huddersfield Civic Society had campaigned for improvements.
The report says: “The existing shopfronts are of poor quality, modern in design and not felt appropriate for these historic listed buildings.
“Due to the location of the building, being on a key gateway, and being a listed building of high architectural significance, it is proposed to offer a grant of 80% towards the total costs of the project and 100% of the professional fees.”
The scheme was not deemed commercially viable without a grant from the council.
The report adds: “To ensure the grant funding is only spent on this project the council will require invoices to be provided and will only pay grant funding on receipt of such invoices.
“The council will incorporate clawback provisions in the grant agreement should the property be sold by B&M Properties within a 10-year period.
“The council will seek a restriction on title to prevent sale without the council’s consent and an overage should it be sold within 10 years.
“The applicant has also agreed to a legal charge over the premises to secure the council’s grant funding.”
If approved, the work could start in February 2024 and be completed in September 2024.
Clr Graham Turner, Cabinet member for regeneration, said: “While we’re very much looking to the future with all our town centre developments, we’re also future-proofing our beautiful heritage.
“These buildings, on one of Huddersfield’s busiest streets, have so much potential. We want to see that potential realised, and make sure they remain not only functional but thriving for many years to come.”