The Dewsbury Blueprint
The Dewsbury Blueprint was published by the council in February 2020 and is their view of how the town could develop over the next 10 years to 2030. The Blueprint did much to clarify the plans for the future of the town.
Note that we may paraphrase relevant documents. You should refer to the full council publication if necessary
In February 2020 there was already substantial investment taking place in the town with the construction of the new Springfield Centre Sixth Form college, preparation of Pioneer House in readiness to become the Adult Skills centre for Kirklees College and two major heritage refurbishment projects of the Black Bull pub in Market Place and the rescue of the burned out Bailey's Cafe next door into what will become an upmarket burger restaurant called Emojie's. In addition the council was investing in improvements to street lighting and the public realm.
However, the Blueprint put these existing investments in context of a longer term vision to:
- Increase housing and economic growth
- Develop the area as a strategic employment location within the Leeds City Region
- Build on the great transport links to the motorway and rail systems
- Develop a town centre that is fully utilised through increased housing and leisure provision with a consolidated retail and commercial core.
The Blueprint identified a number of possibilities.
Business Town - increase footfall in Dewsbury by relocating the jobs of 750 council staff from Huddersfield in order to support local businesses in the town. This could include building a new office building on the site of the present Cliffe Street car park.
A creative hub would be provided to provide facilities for the creative industries and take advantage of full fibre internet roll out in the town by CityFibre.
Learning Town - the Springfield Sixth Form Centre combined with the Pioneer Adult Skills Centre creates a learning quarter that will bring hundreds of students closer to the town centre and provide educational capacity tailored to local students and industry needs.
Leisure Town - The Town Hall has been redecorated internally and offers a range of opportunities for leisure activities. Both the Leisure Centre and and Library will be extended and improved to offer more possibilities.
Shoppers Town - Including two major projects; to refurbish the Market Hall to provide more flexible space including entertainment possibilities and the Arcade, to return this Victorian jewel to play an active part in the town by reconnecting major retail areas. More generally the intention is to reduce the number of retail outlets in order to ensure that what is available is fully used and avoid having empty shops spread over a wide area.
Living Town - developing the Daisy Hill area which has many fine buildings into a quality residential quarter. Daisy Hill is a designated Heritage Action Zone where Historic England are working in partnership with the council to identify those buildings with architectural merit that are worth preserving and protecting. This will allow greater clarity for future planning of new developments. The major building of Field House opposite the railway station has already been identified as a flagship development for the area.
Heritage Town - A Townscape Heritage Initiative grant scheme has been in place for some time with some success. This will be replaced by the Dewsbury Revival Grant Scheme of £1.25 million to improve the appearance of heritage buildings, making shop fronts more attractive and opening up new possibilities. The council also undertook to use its powers to improve the appearance of poorly maintained properties.
Greener Town - A new Town Park is the major initiative with pocket parks, more green space and improvements to the public realm.
Creative Town - A programme of public art would be undertaken to enliven the town centre.
Connected Town - Refurbishment of the railway station gateway and a new bus station (funded through WYCA) would add to improvements to pedestrian and cycle routes would improve connectivity.
Family Town - An intention to make Dewsbury a family friendly town where everyone feels safe and welcome. This would be brought about by the creation of a Safer Dewsbury multi agency team that would bring all available resources to bear on the problems of both youth and adult behaviour in the town centre.
You can download the full version of the Dewsbury Blueprint by clicking the image at the top of this page.
The Towns Fund and the Town Deal Board
The Towns Fund offered the first opportunity to obtain substantial funds to begin to realise the Dewsbury Blueprint through the Town Investment Plan.