BAM picked for flagship Huddersfield scheme

Kirklees Council has selected the contractor to deliver phase one of Our Cultural Heart, a comprehensive revamp of Huddersfield town centre.

The local authority’s cabinet has now approved the next stage of funding, amounting to £5.6m, as Our Cultural Heart moves toward the delivery phase.

Planning consent was secured for the centrepiece of the council’s ten-year Huddersfield Blueprint vision earlier this year, with designs being fine-tuned since.

Our Cultural Heart in brief

The project involves the refurbishment of the former Queensgate Market and Huddersfield Library buildings to house a vibrant food hall and a modern museum and gallery respectively.

These new offers will sit alongside a new community-focused library, live entertainment venue and a 350-space car park – all of which will be connected by a series of public spaces.

In addition to approving contract extensions for the project’s architects, engineers and project managers, cabinet gave the green light to the proposed phased delivery programme plus the appointment of BAM Construction as the lead construction contractor for phase one.

Professional advisors on the project to date  include development manager Queensberry, planner Pegasus and architect Feilden Clegg Bradley, Arup, along with venue partner IPW, Turner & Townsend, landscape architect re-form, Etude, Sustainable Construction Services and Jane Simpson Access.

The phasing

Phase one of the works will concentrate on the refurbishment of the historic Queensgate Market site, which will be transformed into a new food hall and modern library along with a brand-new outdoor public square.

There will be various site surveys and preparation works completed throughout 2023, with work getting under way in earnest early in 2024. Completion is expected in winter 2025.

Plans for future phases were also considered by cabinet including the proposal to bring the museum and art gallery under one roof in the grade two-listed building that formerly housed the town’s library.

This move allows for the new building being developed on Queen Street, which was originally earmarked for the art gallery, to have another complementary use. The council is currently in early discussions with The Conway Education Trust, set up by Greenhead College, about the potential for a dedicated science, technology, engineering, and maths (STEM) facility.

Key comment 

Cllr Shabir Pandor, leader of Kirklees Council, said: “In times of financial challenge, like the ones we are facing now, it is vital that we don’t lose sight of the investment that will safeguard our economy in the future. Our Cultural Heart is testament to our commitment to bringing a prosperous new era to Kirklees along with vital community services like the library, museum and gallery that will all be free to visit.

“I look forward to seeing this important regeneration project come to life and see the positive effect it will have on Huddersfield town centre for generations to come.”

Paul Cleminson, BAM’s project director for the scheme, said: “This is an exciting scheme for Huddersfield and its wider regeneration. As a resident of Kirklees, I hope that this will be another vital piece of the plan, to attract people back to the town centre.

“The chance to build something special for the town brings with it an obligation, as a responsible business, to use this opportunity to add value to the local economy and community.

“For BAM, it will allow us to build on the work we are doing at Huddersfield station and the new Daphne Steele Building for the University, where we are working to leave a positive community legacy, as well as delivering outstanding new buildings and infrastructure.”

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