Kirklees Council has revealed more details of its £210 million Cultural Heart scheme which will include an entertainments venue, a food hall and a new museum.
Detailed plans will be put before a meeting of Kirklees Council’s Cabinet next week.
As part of the council’s Huddersfield Blueprint the Queensgate and Piazza area will be transformed into a unique Cultural Heart.
The proposals would see the library and market buildings retained for new uses and the Piazza Shopping Centre – purchased by the council in 2019 – demolished to make way for a new Town Park.
The council’s preferred option would see the art gallery and the library moved into the refurbished Market Hall building.
A new-build 2,500 entertainments and conference venue – referred to as The Venue – would also be built.
The existing library and art gallery would become a new museum – taking exhibits from Tolson Museum at Moldgreen – and a new food hall would be created. There are also plans to build a new multi-storey car park.
A report to Cabinet says: “The gallery has the potential to exhibit national quality exhibits in a high quality built environment as well as take national touring exhibits. This will attract visitors from beyond the town, from the region and nationally.
“The library is the largest footfall driver and as such the greatest number of local residents will have the best environment to use the library services.
“The Venue will be new build and we will continue to develop the final preferred scale of the venue at the next stage. It will be multi use for entertainments, conferencing, exhibitions and events.
“It will likely dovetail its activities with the other gallery and exhibition spaces proposed for the library, museum and the gallery.”
“A majority of the museum at Tolson will move into the town centre into the refurbished library building, potentially taking advantage of the service tunnels/undercroft space for an exciting exhibit space.
“The Food Hall will be new build and provide the ‘glue’ to bring together all of the other features. It will open out into the urban park.”
The council has described the plans as “game-changing” and says there would also be potential future additional commercial uses including hotel, restaurants, bars and offices and residential.
Clr Peter McBride, Cabinet member for regeneration, said: “This is such an exciting project which will bring our vision for Huddersfield town centre to life.
“The Cultural Heart is what will make Huddersfield stand out as a unique destination for visitors, with a vibrant hub of music, arts, food and more all in one area, overlooking a stunning new Town Park capable of hosting large outdoors events.
“This is a game-changer for Huddersfield and the whole of Kirklees. Our Cultural Heart will offer something for every resident and will draw visitors in from far and wide with events and activities throughout the day and into the night.
“The demolition of the Piazza will open the town centre up, better connecting it to the University of Huddersfield and its students and staff, with the green, safe and welcoming Town Park acting as a perfect gateway into everything the town has to offer.
“When we launched the Blueprint in 2019 I said we meant business, and this might just be the most exciting step forward in the transformation of Huddersfield into a thriving, modern-day town centre with a boosted economy through increased footfall and an unrivalled cultural offer.
“This is a very exciting time for residents, businesses and visitors to Kirklees.”