Kirklees Council’s Cabinet has given its approval to the next steps in the regeneration plans for Batley and Marsden, following the successful bids for the government’s Levelling Up Fund (LUF) this year. The council has also endorsed plans for other Kirklees blueprints, including Cleckheaton, Heckmondwike, and Holmfirth.
In January of this year, the government announced an investment of £12 million from the Levelling Up Fund for the Batley Blueprint. This funding will play a crucial role in supporting a comprehensive program of improvements in the town centre, focusing on areas such as retail, public spaces, accessibility, and active travel. Similarly, in March, Marsden received a further £5.6 million from the fund. This funding will be utilised to restore and refurbish one of the town’s prominent mill buildings, with the aim of reintegrating it into regular use in a manner that complements other local investments.
During the discussion surrounding Batley and Marsden, the Cabinet formally accepted the Levelling Up Funding from the government and deliberated on the plans for these two projects. Both initiatives were part of the second round of LUF bids. Along with the council’s match funding and contributions from private sector partners, the total investment in Batley and Marsden now exceeds £21 million.
The Cabinet also expressed its support for the plans in Cleckheaton, Heckmondwike, and Holmfirth, all of which have witnessed significant public engagement over the past year. The priority projects identified through public consultation were reviewed and approved for further development. The council aims to adopt the master plans for these blueprints by autumn 2023, with Heckmondwike being the final town to adopt, having completed its public consultation last week.
The blueprints for these towns have been allocated an overall funding of £10 million through the council’s ‘Local Centres’ investment, which aims to strengthen key towns and villages across Kirklees. This investment was approved by the Cabinet in 2021.
Councillor Shabir Pandor, the Leader of Kirklees Council, expressed satisfaction with securing two Levelling Up Fund bids this year, highlighting that Kirklees is the only area in West Yorkshire to have obtained Levelling Up Funding so far in 2023. He emphasised the government’s recognition of Kirklees’ potential and the necessity for significant investment to rejuvenate and level up the towns and villages in the area. Pandor believes that these successful bids will jumpstart developments that will greatly benefit the local economy. He also commended the progress made on the town center blueprints, stating that the approval of the priority projects demonstrates the council’s commitment to incorporating the feedback and interests of the residents, workers, and visitors in the decision-making process.
Councillor Graham Turner, the Cabinet Member for Regeneration, emphasised that this investment aims to support local towns and villages across Kirklees, boosting the economy by facilitating the success of local businesses and attracting more visitors to the area. Turner acknowledged the tremendous growth and development potential of Kirklees, which is recognised by both the council and the government. He believes that the combination of the Levelling Up Fund success and the ambitious blueprints for various towns and villages will help unlock this potential and bring about positive changes for the community.
With the approval of these regeneration plans and the allocation of significant funding, Kirklees Council is poised to embark on an exciting journey of revitalisation and growth, striving to create vibrant and prosperous spaces for its residents and visitors alike.