Council chiefs are promising a “world class” team of consultants to deliver the so-called Cultural Heart development in Huddersfield town centre.
Kirklees Council has brought in Leeds-based Turner & Townsend and London-based Mace to act as strategic development partners.
But now the council has also revealed two more consultancy firms which will be involved in near £200 million plans to transform the central part of the town around the Piazza and Queensgate Market.
The council is planning a new live music venue, events space and food court and is set to work with IPW – which helped design some of the UK’s leading venues including Leeds Arena, Sheffield Arena and Newcastle Gateshead Quays – and also Queensbury Real Estate which worked on regeneration in Sheffield city centre, Manchester’s Corn Exchange and The Glass Works, a retail and leisure destination about to open in Barnsley.
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In June the council’s Cabinet signed off on an “accelerated” project which meant outside consultants were hired at a cost of almost £6 million to oversee the Cultural Heart project, now estimated to cost between £170 million and £200 million.
The Cultural Heart will see the creation of a new event space/food court; an urban park; a new-look library, art gallery and museum; improved connections to the University of Huddersfield; and a new car park to replace the demolished multi-storey.
Speaking at a virtual meeting of the council’s Economy and Neighbourhoods Scrutiny Panel, the council’s director of regeneration David Shepherd said the fast-tracking of the scheme meant it would be completed 12 months earlier than planned.
He said the scheme would be completed within five years – by 2026 – though he admitted this was “quite a tall order.”
Mr Shepherd, who was involved with The Glass Works scheme when he worked for Barnsley Council, said a “world class project team” had been assembled from the private sector and from within the council.
He pledged there would be checks and balances and they would be meticulous over the details. “We want to do boring well,” he said.
Mr Shepherd said the likes of IPW and Queensbury would ensure a “world class team” where “we make sure we get the right offer in place.” Queensbury would look at food venues in particular and would bring “market intelligence.”
The council was looking at an “aspirational scheme” and Mr Shepherd added: “We want something that stands the test of time, that’s good for 60-100 years, not just the next six to 10 years.”
Earlier in his career Mr Shepherd also worked in the regeneration department at Bradford Council and was involved in the creation of City Park.
He said City Park became a focus for people across Bradford and added: “We need a transformative change like that here.”