Circular design chosen as preferred option for new Dewsbury Town Park
Kirklees Council has pledged to tackle street drinking and anti-social behaviour in Dewsbury town centre after concerns were raised during consultation for a new "urban park".
Two-thirds of people supported the creation of a Dewsbury Town Park in Longcauseway but even those in favour were seriously worried about nuisance and public safety.
A more open, circular design was favoured by people who took part in the consultation and they also wanted to see CCTV, good lighting at night and an increased police presence.
A month-long public consultation into plans for a Dewsbury Town Park ran this summer and there were eight face-to-face sessions held at Dewsbury Market.
People were asked to choose a design for the park, which would take out the existing memorial gardens in Longcauseway and would mean the demolition of the existing Walsh Building at the side of Dewsbury Town Hall.
A circular design with paved and grassed areas and seating proved most popular, with people saying they would like to see pop-up markets, community activities and music festivals.
Two-thirds of respondents liked the overall idea of a town park but a third did not.
The main concerns expressed by those both in favour – and against – was the potential for the park to be a focus for anti-social behaviour, making it “potentially feel uninviting or unsafe”.
As a result of the consultation, Kirklees Council has pledged to look at what is currently being done to combat street drinking and anti-social behaviour in the town.
It will also investigate: having an increased presence from council officers and police; effective use of CCTV; improved town centre management; and will work to reduce substance misuse in the town centre.
As part of plans for the new park, the council will look at the provision of new public toilets. There were also questions raised about access for HGVs and delivery vehicles, and the council will also look at that.
The council’s design team will now draw up formal plans based on the favoured design.
The results of the consultation will be reviewed by the council and Dewsbury Town Board, with a final sign-off on the design in late 2021.
If all is agreed and planning permission is granted, construction work on the park could start in 2024.