Our Cultural Heart is the borough's flagship development. Credit: Kirklees Council

Kirklees adjusts Our Cultural Heart plans

Removing a top-floor event space above the new library is the main change in altered proposals for the first phase of the Huddersfield regeneration programme.

With the project now moving into delivery mode – contractor BAM is expected to start enabling works in March – plans have now been submitted looking to amend the approved scheme.

While Kirklees – hard-pressed for finances as many councils currently are – admitted that budget concerns are an issue, it said that revising the plans will mean that more original features of the grade two-listed Queensgate Market Hall will be kept.

The market hall’s refurbishment is the centrepiece of phase one, as Kirklees Council looks to establish a vibrant F&B hub with space for around ten independent food stalls.

A new community library will be incorporated within the existing east wing of the same building.

Both the food hall and new library will directly feed out to a new public square, with the connecting space intended for outdoor cultural events and gatherings.

With other event space opportunities available within the library, food hall, public square and future museum space, it has been decided the top-floor event space can be pulled from the scheme.

Cllr Graham Turner, cabinet member for finance and regeneration, said: “It’s exciting to see the final plans for Phase One of Our Cultural Heart now in place.

“Our decision to phase the masterplan means that we retain the original ambition and vision whilst being prudent with our finances. The recent adjustments have ultimately allowed us to save more character and heritage on an important listed building, still deliver a high quality, modern new library, and move into the delivery phase during these challenging economic times.

“We are confident that Our Cultural Heart will play a pivotal role in kickstarting a new era for Huddersfield town centre.

“It will increase the number of visitors to our town centre, safeguard key heritage assets, create new job opportunities, enhance our green credentials and act a catalyst for further economic growth and investment.”

Kirklees’ cabinet signed off more than £50m in January, allowing BAM to start preparing to deliver the project.

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