Leeds & West Yorkshire

Huddersfield unveils culture plan for more visitors

An artist's impression of the cultural area Image copyright Kirklees Council
Image caption One of the objectives is to deliver "vibrant culture, art, leisure and nightlife"

Plans for a new cultural area in a West Yorkshire town, including a new library, art gallery, museum and live music venue, have been unveiled.

The £250m blueprint is part of a 10-year strategy formed to attract more visitors to Huddersfield.

The town's "Cultural Heart" is to be centred on the Queensgate Market and library buildings, Kirklees Council said.

Council leader Shabir Pandor said the extra visitors would "boost business".

Steven Leigh, head of policy at Mid-Yorkshire Chamber of Commerce, said ideas to revitalise town centres were "great news" for Huddersfield and other towns nationwide.

Mr Leigh said more cultural development such as arts and the theatre were "no doubt very, very good for bringing people into the town".

"We have to find something to make Huddersfield town centre attractive to people, and that's what this is doing," he said.

He said business rates, parking charges and online shopping were crippling high streets.

Image copyright Kirklees Council
Image caption The blueprint focuses on six regeneration areas in the town centre including the "Cultural Heart"
Image copyright Kirklees Council
Image caption A new cinema in Kingsgate is part of the plans

A live music venue with a capacity of about 1,000 is proposed for the Queensgate Market building, to be completed by 2023.

The plans also propose removing some of the Piazza shopping centre, recently bought by the council, to create a large open space.

Some of Huddersfield's historic buildings could also be brought back into use, with more homes created in the town centre.

The plans would also mean more public spaces, improved bus and railway stations and a refurbished open market, the council said.

Image copyright Kirklees Council
Image caption The plans are part of the council's economic strategy to deliver growth

Mr Pandor said: "Whilst we remain committed to ensuring we have a good retail offer throughout Kirklees, more people are now shopping online and the challenge is to develop a different kind of offer to encourage more people into town centres.

"This means having culture and leisure offers such as theatre, cinema, art and live music."

The plans are subject to a three-month consultation.

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