Huddersfield town centre is gearing up – and sprucing up – ready to welcome shoppers back from Monday.
Non-essential retail can open up again after lockdown and Kirklees Council and Huddersfield Business Improvement District (BID) are working to get the town centre looking its best.
Work crews have been out power-washing the streets over the last few days and six new town centre support officers will also help improve safety and cleanliness as Covid restrictions ease.
The council is also offering free PPE packs to town centre businesses to boost the confidence of staff and customers as they return.
Kirklees Council has funded the six support officer roles for a six-month trial. Huddersfield BID carried out the recruitment process and will manage the team.
Working with Huddersfield BID the town centre support officers provide a reassuring presence across the town; they remind shoppers of Covid safe measures, help to reduce anti-social behaviour and report environmental issues like damaged pavements or street furniture so it can be fixed quickly.
Colin Parr, strategic director for environment & climate change said: “After a challenging 12 months we know our town centre businesses will be raring to go once Covid-19 restrictions ease but some shoppers may be nervous about returning to the town centre again.
“That’s why we’re working with Huddersfield BID to do all we can to build the confidence of the town, and welcome people back in the most positive and safe way we can.
“The town centre officers play a vital role in supporting and educating visitors on how to stay Covid-safe, providing a reassuring presence and, in partnership with the police, making sure any anti-social behaviour is dealt with quickly and efficiently.
“They also keep the area clean and report graffiti, broken street furniture, and problems on the highway so we can speed up repairs and make sure the town looks attractive.”
Huddersfield BID manager Matthew Chapman said: “Huddersfield BID is very much committed to promoting a safe, welcoming and attractive town with lots on offer and this team of six town centre officers strengthens that in abundance.
“They are very much a group of ‘doers’, flexible in their approach but proactively committed to working with people, as a collective, for the good of the town.
“This partnership is a shining example of the positive impact of working together which is essential now more than ever and I would encourage businesses and people alike to join us on this journey.”
To further support the reopening of town centres, the council is also offering tailored PPE packs to businesses and community organisations for their employees in advance of the April 12 reopening.
Eligible businesses – non-essential retail, hospitality, gyms, hairdressers, personal care services, taxi firms, market traders and voluntary and faith organisations – will have received a letter inviting them to book a slot for collection or delivery depending on their business sector.
These one off, free packs – which include various items of PPE such as hand sanitiser and face coverings – will further boost confidence with both employees and customers on a safe return to our high streets and contribute to the wider effort in bringing everyone back safely to our town and village centres. If you think you’re eligible for pack and have not received communication please enquire at PPE.C19@kirklees.gov.uk.