£250,000 deal to add town centre buildings to Dewsbury Blueprint project
Kirklees Council is to buy two Dewsbury town centre buildings right next door to The Arcade, which is currently undergoing a £3million restoration.
The council is in talks to purchase the four-storey property at 18-20 Corporation Street, plus the adjoining two-storey 17 Foundry Street, as part of its ongoing Dewsbury Blueprint regeneration scheme.
The cost of the deal - expected to be completed by the end of October - has not been made public but it is understood to be in excess of £250,000.
The authority wants to create a lift and staircase within 18-20 Corporation Street in order to provide improved access to the upper floors of The Arcade.
The Grade II-listed building - empty for two years - is also earmarked to house stallholders set to be moved out of Dewsbury Market when it undergoes a massive £15m revamp.
Once the stallholders return, the building could have a variety of uses including commercial activity on the ground floor and offices above.
A report to Kirklees Council’s cabinet said: “There is an opportunity for the council to purchase this key building and achieve multiple objectives.
“If it were not to purchase the property, then its future would be uncertain and there is the real risk that the building would remain empty and deteriorate further.
“In the event of it remaining in private ownership and being let, the council would have little control over the uses, nature of the goods sold in the property, and quality of the operation.”
The Arcade, bought by the council in May 2020, is being transformed into 15 small shops, four large end units and seven first-floor studios with the aim of attracting independent, craft-orientated retailers with high quality cafés or bars at either end.
Dewsbury Market will be reduced in size by cutting the number of stalls from 400 to approximately 200, emphasising food and drink and introducing a food court.
That means relocating traders within the town centre to Foundry Street, Market Place, Longcauseway - in front of the Princess of Wales precinct - and the forecourt of the town hall.
Some traders may be placed in vacant shops due to a lack of space on the streets. The cost of the move will be £2.3m.
Dewsbury East councillor Coun Eric Firth, also cabinet member for town centres, said: “The purchase of this property would further advance our Dewsbury Blueprint vision, which will totally transform Dewsbury’s town centre between now and 2030.
“As part of this process, we want to breathe new life into as many heritage buildings as possible, and bring them back into active use.
“We want to celebrate Dewsbury’s history, whilst bringing it forward into a bright new future with a stronger offering and economy.
“This property is perfectly situated to support the development of two of our flagship Blueprint projects, then become its own stand-out development in the town centre.”