Kirklees Council’s Cabinet is set to approve the spending of £10.5 million for the next stage of the £210 million Cultural Heart development in Huddersfield town centre.

The council is on the brink of submitting a formal planning application – expected in the next few weeks – and approval is needed for the latest stage of work.

At each stage in the development – known as ‘gateways’ – Cabinet has to review and agree costs and spending.

In a report to the Cabinet on Wednesday September 21, a request is made for approval of a further £10.5 million.

Almost half of the total will be fees to consultants – strategic development partner Turner & Townsend (£1.523 million); architects Fielden Clegg Bradley Studios (£1.367 million); and engineering design specialists Arup (£1.493 million).

The rest is made up of surveys, the cost of moving out tenants, asbestos removal and strip out works.

The Cultural Heart scheme will include: a new 2,200-capacity events venue with 350-space multi-storey car park on the site of the demolished Market Hall multi-storey; a new library and food hall in an extended Queensgate Market building; a new museum in the current library building; and a new-build art gallery in Queen Street.

There will be a public events space outside the new library and a town park around the old Piazza area.

Cabinet member for regeneration Clr Graham Turner and Joanne Bartholomew, Kirklees Council’s director of development

The report also goes into some detail on the financial risks and the rising cost of borrowing. The council had estimated that its loan from the Government after the Cultural Heart is completed in 2026 would cost around £6.8 million a year rising in “relatively manageable increments” in future years.

However, interest rates on the Government’s loans have proved “volatile” due to global events rising from 2% to 3.2% increasing the estimated cost for 2027-28 from £6.8 million to £9.5 million.

There have been concerns about how rising construction costs and rising interest rates would impact the development and the report says the £210 million budget includes £15.86 million for contingencies and £16.25 million for cost inflation, some 15.2% of the overall costs of the scheme.

The Cabinet will be asked to approve the spending of £10.5 million and allow the project to progress to what it calls ‘Gateway 3.’

Clr Graham Turner, Cabinet member for regeneration, has given his full support and said: “By moving to Gateway 3 we will be another significant step closer to delivering the Cultural Heart programme.

“The submission of a planning application is an important milestone as it will signal our continued commitment to delivering the programme.

“This next stage in our ambitious plans will encourage more private investment in Huddersfield, generating more jobs and improving the town centre offer.”