The Dewsbury Arcade is poised to become the UK’s inaugural community-operated shopping centre, as a fundraising campaign kicks off today.

A Grade II Listed structure, the Dewsbury Arcade has been a prominent fixture in Dewsbury town centre since the Victorian era. However, it has remained vacant for over seven years. The arcade holds a pivotal role in the Dewsbury Blueprint, which outlines the council’s ambitious vision for the town’s future.

A Kirklees Council spokesperson said; “While the initial regeneration of the Dewsbury Arcade is part of the our blueprint for Dewsbury town centre, the aim with all of our blueprint plans is to create improvements which will be sustainable for many years to come. The Arcade Group are a community business formed with the purpose of leasing and managing the arcade past its reopening.

“The Arcade Group are now launching a community share group to raise money for developments on the business side of the arcade. The Arcade Group’s target for the fundraising is £150,000, which they hope to raise through donations from businesses and members of the local community.

“Through this community share group, local people will then be able to elect board members and have part ownership in the business. This means that, once our work is complete and the arcade has reopened, anyone who invests will be able to have a say in how it’s run.”

They added; “The aim is for the arcade – a Grade II Listed building which has been a focal point in Dewsbury since the Victorian era – to be returned to its former glory, attracting more footfall in the town centre and supporting the local economy. Our ambition, together with the Arcade Group, is to fill the reopened building with a range of independent local traders, along with a great food and drink offering.

“Once restored, the arcade will have 16 small shop units, four larger spaces, and six upstairs studios suitable for artists, offices or event spaces.”

You can contribute to the Arcade Group’s crowdfunder today! Visit

Councillor Cathy Scott, Leader of Kirklees Council and Dewsbury ward councillor, says; “The council’s purchase of the arcade was one of the first major steps in our Dewsbury Blueprint plans, and we’re all incredibly excited to see it returned to its former glory. Our aim with each and every development is to create improvements that are sustainable, which will benefit the town for many years to come, and will bring a renewed sense of joy and pride to the local community. As the first community-run shopping centre in the UK, the Dewsbury Arcade would do just that.

“Our blueprint for the town isn’t just about a few years of investment – it’s about what Dewsbury will be to future generations. With this in mind, I hope local people will consider investing in this building, which is both a piece of both our history and our future. As a Dewsbury local myself, I’m really looking forward to seeing the Arcade Group’s plans come to fruition, and to seeing what the Dewsbury Arcade can grow into as a result.”

Chris Hill, Development Director for the Arcade Group, says; “This is a really exciting and unique project, and one which we hope the whole community in Dewsbury can support. We firmly believe the rejuvenation of the arcade will massively enhance the town centre, and act as a catalyst for further investment and improvements. We hope it will help in the renaissance of Dewsbury.

“The arcade will be run by the community, for the community, and we’ve been really encouraged with the feedback so far.”