Kirklees Council is looking to buy another building near the Piazza in Huddersfield town centre so it can “further control the ownership” of the proposed Cultural Heart re-development site.

The council bought the Piazza Centre for £3.5 million and bought a block of shop units in Victoria Lane which had been set to go to auction in April 2021 with a guide price of £1.2 million.

This week councillors will be asked to agree the purchase of another “strategic asset” surrounding the Cultural Heart.

No details about the latest purchase have been released but a report to the council’s Cabinet has revealed for the first time that the council has bought a block of shops at 18-28 Victoria Lane.

That block includes Peacocks, Savers and the former Argos store.

Kirklees Council confirmed to Huddersfield Hub that 18-28 Victoria Lane had been bought by the council in September 2021 but said the purchase price remained “confidential.”

Poundland and Pep & Co (left) and 18-28 Victoria Lane – Peacocks, Savers and Argos. Pic: Rightmove

Back in June 2021, Cabinet agreed to buy a building in the Cultural Heart but repeatedly declined to identify it claiming “commercial sensitivity.”

The property was dubbed the “mystery building” and in February this year it was reported the purchase had “not gone ahead at this time.”

There was speculation that the “mystery building” was the current Poundland store – formerly Woolworths.

The building is next door to Peacocks on the corner of Victoria Lane and Albert Yard. It is a large building which also has an entrance into New Street.

Kirklees Council has submitted a planning application for the £210 million Cultural Heart. The former Queensgate Market will become a food hall with an extension to form a new library.

The existing library building, set to close on New Year’s Eve, will become the new Huddersfield Museum.

A 2,200-capacity events venue with multi-storey car park will be built on the former Market Hall multi-storey site and a new art gallery will be built in Queen Street. The Piazza Centre will be demolished and become an urban park.

Phase One of the project will focus on the food hall and new library and the public events space outside. Construction could start in spring 2024 with completion in 2026.

A report to the council’s Cabinet meeting on Wednesday December 21 says: “Town centres and the high street are experiencing long term structural changes and therefore a new forward-thinking approach is required to support vibrancy and the council’s strategic objectives.

“This report is to seek Cabinet approval to purchase a property that will support the delivery of the Cultural Heart regeneration scheme in Huddersfield town centre.

Kirklees Council is seeking to buy ‘strategic assets’ in the Cultural Heart

“The acquisition of this strategic asset will provide an opportunity for the council to further control the ownership in the proposed Cultural Heart and support the implementation of the Masterplan, building on other previous acquisitions such as the Piazza and 18 to 28 Victoria Lane.

“It is proposed that the council acquires a strategic long leasehold asset (subject to existing tenancies) in Huddersfield town centre.”

When the current library closes it will make a temporary move to Civic Centre III in Market Street. The Local Studies Library and Kirklees Transcription Service will re-locate temporarily to the former Argos premises in Victoria Lane. It will open to the public from February 2023 and will share the space with West Yorkshire Archive Service.