By ANISAH ARIF

Having already invested over £20 Million into the regeneration of the town centre, Councillors have been asked to support upwards of £3/4m into Dewsbury to fund the first year of a Better Spaces programme as part of  its ‘Strategic Development Framework for the town’. The document contains a vision and more detailed strategy to position Dewsbury as an area of housing and employment growth within the Leeds City Region as part of the North Kirklees Growth Zone. .

The Spring Clean will spruce up the heart of Dewsbury Town Centre with works including painting, improved lighting, better street furniture, green infrastructure, and cleansing. Roads and footpaths will also be tackled during Spring and Summer of this year.

Councillor Shabir Pandor, Leader of the Council, said: ‘This strategic plan builds on our previous work in bringing buildings back into use, such as Pioneer House and the New College Quarter. This plan will increase footfall into Dewsbury and help boost the overall vibrancy of the area. We will continue to work with local people to ensure that the future of Dewsbury remains a bright one.’

Speaking about the plans, Councillor Peter McBride, Cabinet Member, Economy, said: “Dewsbury is a place with real potential. With the Townscape Heritage Initiative already completing schemes at Northgate and Corporation Street, phase one of The Dewsbury Learning Quarter already up and running, and the next stage at the Pioneer House building due to be  handed over to Kirklees College so they can fit it out due in early Spring, our commitment to Dewsbury continues.

We are also excited about the Station Gateway scheme, all of which adds to help celebrate the significance of Dewsbury’s historic significance as a regional economic centre. We recognise there’s much to do and the support of Dewsbury residents is paramount and these first steps to improve the look and feel of the town encourage residents to see what the town has to offer.”

Over the next six months, the town centre will see other things happening including the opening of the refurbished Black Bull public house, the refurbishment of the old Baileys Café  and improving empty shop fronts..

There will be further investment that will run into the several millions and in the medium term to longer term, the council will work with residents and businesses to transform the Market, plan more events that will attract people to spend more time in the Town and develop a high quality residential quarter so that we have a Living Town Centre that will support young professionals along with better green spaces where children and families can spend some quality time.

Councillor Mather, Cabinet Member for Environment, added: “Our aims are to create a more attractive place for families and young people enabling them to enjoy being in the town centre. Our plans are to submit an Expression of Interest to the West Yorkshire Combined Authority to improve the ring road and town centre access as well. This will also focus on improved public transport facilities, pedestrian and cycle routes.”

The delivery programme proposed will be in conjunction with key partners including Historic England, Kirklees College, Heritage Lottery Fund and West Yorkshire Police.

The Cabinet will be asked to approve the Strategic Development Framework and associated  Delivery Programme at its meeting on the 22nd January, along with  over half a million pounds (from the £45 million the council has allocated to the town centres budget) to fund the package of £765,000 of year one improvements