Council to buy town centre property as part of revamp plans

Kirklees Council

The cost of the deal has not been made public but it is understood to be over £250,000

Kirklees Council is to buy yet another town centre building, this time in Dewsbury. It intends to purchase the four-storey property at 18-20 Corporation Street, along with the adjoining two-storey 17 Foundry Street, as part of its ongoing Dewsbury Blueprint project.

The cost of the deal has not been made public but it is understood to be over £250,000. The deal is expected to be completed by the end of October.

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 adjacent 1890s Arcade, which it already owns and which is undergoing a £2.3m refurbishment.

That work is scheduled to be carried out in 2022.

The two buildings are also earmarked to house stallholders set to be “decanted” from Dewsbury Market when it undergoes a massive £15m revamp.

Once the market decant is completed the building could be used for a number of purposes including commercial activity on the ground floor and potentially offices above.

In a report to be brought to the council’s decision-making Cabinet next week officers said one of the strategic aims of the 10-year regeneration blueprint was to bring historic and other vacant buildings into use.

The Grade II-listed 18-20 Commercial Street has been vacant for two years.

The officers’ report 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, it stated.

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, it stated.

Grade II-listed The Arcade was bought by the council in May 2020. It 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.

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