In September 2019 the government nominated Dewsbury as one of the 101 towns eligible to bid for up to £25 million each from the Towns Fund. This provided considerable momentum to deliver parts of the Dewsbury Blueprint published by the council in February 2020.
The Towns Fund programme aims to support long-term economic growth through a focus on urban regeneration, improved transport, better broadband connectivity, skills, and culture.. The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government. (MHCLG) required councils to create a Town Deal Board of local stakeholders in order to ensure that any bid reflected the needs of the local community.
Dewsbury's bid was submitted at the end of January 2021 and on Tuesday 8 June 2021 we got the good news that the Dewsbury bid was successful and we can start taking positing steps forward to bring about the vision for the future of the town.
Bids from different towns were not competitive against each other but are being assessed on whether they meet the government requirements.
The Town Investment Plan provides impetus to the earlier Blueprint
A £60 million pound plan
Total planned expenditure is £60 million over 5 years comprising £25 million grant funding from the Towns Fund plus an equivalent amount of match funding from Kirklees capital budget plus private developers investment.
The Plan - on a Page
A condensed version summarising the nine projects included in the Dewsbury Town Investment Plan bid and listed below can be downloaded on a single page here and include:
The Arcade - £1.3m – reopening of the Grade 2 listed Victorian Arcade as a hub for independent businesses. The project involves the reopening of the vacant Grade 2 listed Victorian Arcade for small, local independent businesses. The focus will be on businesses in the creative sector The project will deliver 21 refurbished ground floor business units. The upper floors will offer opportunities for further business space including for the creative industries, and the use and configuration of this space will be explored as part of the design process.
Dewsbury Market - £6.6m – creating a 21st Century market as the economic heart of the town centre. Dewsbury Market is at the physical and economic heart of the town centre. Its health is critical to the vibrancy of the town centre as a whole. The Market will undergo a ‘root and branch’ change in order to create a model market for the 21st century. The project will involve a complete overhaul of the physical fabric, changes to product offer, introduction of leisure and improvements in operational practices.
Urban Realm - Town Park £6.25m- – creating high quality public spaces for people to spend time in together. The aim of the Urban Realm programme is to deliver a number of projects that will improve the publicly accessible spaces within the town centre. Urban Realm comprises both large and small scale projects, the largest being the creation of the Town Park. The design of the park will comprise a combination of soft and hard landscaping and will include infrastructure on a scale that will appeal to a number of end users. All these projects will see a number of interventions around the redevelopment of public space, improvements to infrastructure, better linkages to the town centre as well as creating spaces that would support the existing public services such as the Sports Centre and Library.
Creative Culture Programme - £2.195m - a year-round programme of cultural activities to bring the community together. The new arts and cultural centre (Union), creative social enterprise and production hub and a year-round programme of cultural activities and events to animate the town and bring communities together. It will provide new cultural infrastructure and enable a creative community to develop and create entertainment and cultural experiences developed and co-produced with Dewsbury’s communities. Union will include performance spaces, meeting and exhibition space and studios for music, performance and visual art. Programmed with and by local artists and communities, inspired by and celebrating the many voices, cultures and communities of Dewsbury, it will host poetry slams, exhibitions, film screenings, family friendly theatre, creative activities for children and training for young adults. The broader cultural programme will see a series of activities that come together in major public events.training for young adults.
Building Revival - £3.15m - – bringing beautiful buildings back to life for people to live and work in. The Building Revival scheme is aimed at providing support for the conversion of buildings to office / workspace & residential where appropriate and improving shop fronts to a Conservation Area Standard. The project objective to grow momentum through the Dewsbury Townscape Heritage Initiative, in improving shopfronts in line with Conversation Area principles, thus raising the profile and quality of the area. The scheme involves providing grant assistance to owners in providing quality accommodation, prompting property owners to think differently about conversions, through using spaces more creatively - creative live/workspaces, rather than just plain box conversions.
Daisy Hill Neighbourhood - £3.0m – creating a new neighbourhood in the town centre. Intended to create an area of quality residential property. The project will undertake the critical first steps on the road to creating a new neighbourhood of circa 200 homes at the heart of Dewsbury, which will support town centre vibrancy and make the most of the heritage assets of the town. It is comprised of two parts: • The first phase which is the conversion of the vacant grade 2 listed Field House building into 23 high quality apartments and a restaurant / bar. • The acquisition of land and buildings to create a single development opportunity of a scale necessary to deliver the desired outcomes. The project will set a new standard for quality of residential accommodation in Dewsbury Town Centre and will attract occupiers with disposable incomes that will help support the town centre economy.
Construction Skills Village - £1.50m– providing leading-edge training and skills opportunity in the construction and built environment sectors. Intended to cover the skills shortage in the construction industry and an extension of Kirklees College. A multi-purpose skills and education centre for the construction and built environment sectors, located at the heart of one of Kirklees’s largest housing sites, Dewsbury Riverside. Developed in partnership with Kirklees College and industry partners and operating on a hub and spoke basis with the Pioneer Higher Skills Centre, the project will provide: • an exciting new facility to engage young people and raise awareness of careers in the industry • a safe/secure environment, within a major housing site, to deliver a wide range of construction training to young people, unemployed adults and other target groups • a leading-edge training facility specialising in modern methods of construction and low carbon energy alongside specialist heritage construction skills and, delivering a wide range of industry-focused short-courses Dewsbury Riverside is the largest housing site in the Kirklees Local Plan allocated for 4,000 new homes. The adjacent railway station at Ravensthorpe has been identified for investment through the TransPennine Upgrade. The Council owns a significant part of the site and planning consent is expected to be granted in April 2022. The map shown here provides an aerial view of the proposed Dewsbury Riverside Housing site location.
Fibre capability (£0.25m– ensuring Dewsbury’s strong transport connections are matched by strong digital connections. This investment allows the installation of ducting for full fibre cables in the town centre where there are insufficient retail customers for fibre to cover the full installation cost. This project is to facilitate the installation of a fibre network into key buildings in Dewsbury town centre. The project will provide a new primary duct network that links all key TIP projects in the town centre; along with key council buildings.
Sustainable transport modes - £1.325m – enabling people to travel healthily and sustainably by bike or on foot by improving cycle and pedestrian routes in the town. A transformational programme of walking and cycling infrastructure improvements within Dewsbury delivering a high-quality network connecting key transport nodes. The proposed new footway/cycleway facilities would offer greater pedestrian and cycling connectivity in the North-east of Dewsbury Town Centre and better access to Town Centre and college sites. The scheme incorporates a new two-way cycle track alongside the footway to enable and encourage modal shift to bike through creation of a safer, more attractive environment for cyclists as part of the Local Cycling and Walking Infrastructure Plan (LCWIP).
The full Town Investment Plan runs to some 42 pages plus appendices and can be dowloaded by clicking here.