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Wednesday, May 22, 2024

Dewsbury town centre revamp: Amphitheatre, pedestrianisation, and heritage upgrades revealed

A new public space will be brought to the area outside of the town hall

The Dewsbury Blueprint is moving ahead, with new plans revealed for the area around the town hall in a bid to design out crime and reduce anti-social behaviour.

A public space complete with an amphitheatre, greenery and seating, will initially cover Longcauseway, Wakefield Old Road and Town Hall Way. The amphitheatre will serve as a focal point, and could incorporate disused railway tracks as an acknowledgement that this area once housed Dewsbury’s railway station.

The council says the improvements will make the area more attractive and inviting, creating a safer and more inviting thoroughfare to drive more footfall throughout the day.

The bandstand which currently stands outside the town hall will be relocated to a more picturesque setting. One potential site for the bandstand’s relocation is Crow Nest Park – which already has a purpose-built raised platform as its original bandstand was dismantled for safety reasons in the 1960s.

The council also hopes that the removal of the bandstand will help to reduce antisocial behaviour in the area, and – alongside other blueprint plans – help make Dewsbury town centre a safer and more family-friendly environment from day through to evening.

The development also includes changes to parking and pedestrianisation, with one of the council’s aims being to introduce more accessible parking spaces close to the civic buildings and town centre shops. The council will be launching a public consultation specifically focused on these elements over the coming months, so that local residents and businesses can get involved and have their say.

Following this consultation, work is planned to start outside the town hall over summer.  This work is being funded by the government’s Towns Fund, with match funding from Kirklees Council.

Joanne Bartholomew, Service Director for Growth & Regeneration, said: “These plans are the latest in a lot of big steps for the Dewsbury Blueprint over a short space of time.  When you look at the amount of development taking place over the next few years, the changes are going to be huge.

“This new public space will better connect our town centre businesses, old and new, helping the market and arcade to thrive once completed.  It will also improve the environment of our civic buildings, which serve an important purpose in the town – providing lots of services, workspaces and great public events.  It’s vitally important that these buildings be a welcoming space for the public, in order to serve this purpose.

“The key thing these plans show is that we’re looking at Dewsbury as a whole, not just piece by piece.  This is a beautiful town with a lot of moving parts, and we need all these different elements to connect and help each other succeed.”

Keith Ramsay, Chair of the Dewsbury Town Board, said: “This is a vital space within Dewsbury town centre.  It links so many key areas, and key projects within the blueprint plans.  Having a town centre that looks and feels safe and inviting – somewhere people will want to spend time – is crucial to the success of all these big plans.

“It’s also great that we’re finding more ways to honour Dewsbury’s history and heritage through these designs, which is something we’re keen to do across the board.  Dewsbury has a rich history, and as we talk about returning the town to its former glory it’s important that we celebrate where we’ve come from, as well as looking forward.”

Dewsbury Arcade is set to reopen next year as part of the wider Blueprint project. Further development is also planned for Market Place, which links Longcauseway with Northgate – the main traffic route through the town centre.

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