Work to open up parts of Holmfirth town centre and ease traffic flow is expected to start this summer – though the cost of the scheme has doubled.

Kirklees Council’s business case for the Town Centre Access Plan – part of a wider Holmfirth Blueprint – has been approved by West Yorkshire Combined Authority.

The council says the approval is a major step towards securing £7.47 million in funding from the Combined Authority.

In July 2022 when the scheme was agreed by the council’s Cabinet, the cost was estimated at £3.9 million. Much of the increase is believed to be a steep rise in construction costs and inflation.

The scheme involves changing the way traffic flows through Holmfirth town centre, introducing a 20mph speed limit, providing new designated loading bays for deliveries and parking places for disabled people, widening pavements in Victoria Street, Hollowgate and Huddersfield Road and improving crossing facilities.

A bridge over the River Holme will be replaced with a wider deck with improved views of the river.

The centrepiece is the demolition of the former market hall with an extension of the adjacent Huddersfield Road car park. A new public events space will be created on the site along with 26 parking spaces, two more than are there at present.

Kirklees Council has bigger ambitions for the town under its Blueprint which will see a further £1.5 million invested by the council.

The council is currently looking at how some key buildings could be ‘re-purposed.’ These include moving the Royal Mail sorting office and the re-location of Holmfirth Fire Station.

As part of public consultation the council asked for views on whether the bus station and Towngate car park could be re-designed and if the site of the old Telephone Exchange could be better used.

Elsewhere the River Holme, which gives Holmfirth its name and is a huge part of the town’s history, will be made a more picturesque feature in the town centre again.

This objective received the most public support in the consultation, with 91% agreeing with plans to open up views over the water and create access closer to the water’s edge, as well as improving the river environment itself.

There was also great public support for new initiatives to celebrate Holmfirth’s rich and varied heritage. The council intends to find new ways to highlight this heritage and culture through projects and developments in the town centre.

An artist’s impression of how the River Holme could be opened up

Clr Graham Turner, Cabinet member for regeneration, said:Our blueprint plans across Kirklees are about preserving the heritage of our towns and villages, while giving them the brightest possible future.

“Holmfirth is already one of Kirklees’ bustling beauty spots, and we now want to celebrate and enhance that identity as much as possible.

“The Holmfirth Blueprint is about making the town centre more appealing to visitors but also as a place where people can put down roots and become part of a great community.

“We want to bring these streets to life and help the town thrive, and the Holmfirth Town Centre Access Plan is a big part of that. We’ll be making the town centre much more accessible and opening it up to everyone.

“I’m pleased that the West Yorkshire Combined Authority are supportive of our plans, and even more so that there’s so much support from local people.

“As we look to invest nearly £9 million in Holmfirth town centre, the public’s views are continuing to shape our priorities.

“We know what’s most important to those who care most about this beautiful town and – as with any regeneration project – that has to be at the heart of everything we do.”