The Regeneration of Huddersfield Town Centre

In the first part of our new blog series: Our Managing Director discusses the company’s hometown of Huddersfield, some of the issues and what we can do about those issues.

By MIKE LOMAS - Managing Director

There are countless times I have read comments such as, ‘Huddersfield town centre is awful!’ and ‘Huddersfield needs to be knocked down and built again’ when looking through social media posts. These statements, or statements similar, got me thinking, do we have a huge issue in Huddersfield and, if so, how do we go about solving the problem rather than just coming out with damming statements, that put off investors from working within the town. Thus, never getting the solution resolved and creating an incredibly vicious circle for the town!

When looking into the history of Huddersfield, we can see that the days and wealth of the booming textile trade has long left the town centre and I’m not sure if the town has found what it is destined for in the future. This lack of direction has definitely left some less desirable areas, but I’d have to argue that the town does still have an awful lot to offer.

St George's Square, Huddersfield, 1948

Working from the outside in, we find the town set in the centre of, in my opinion, the most beautiful landscape in the world; with vast countryside areas with small villages in the valleys that have an awful lot to offer. Moving closer in to the centre of Huddersfield, we have to appreciate the parks which have been bestowed onto the area; Greenhead Park and Beaumont Park. Both are simply fantastic green spaces which many towns do not have the luxury of having. These areas are often forgotten in the critique of the town and should really be a celebrated asset.

Moving into the centre of the town, we have some fantastic small businesses that add something special to the Huddersfield town centre, but we don’t sing about these small businesses enough. These small businesses need to be supported to allow for a new purpose for the town centre to develop. The Byram Arcade is home to a few of these small businesses and is a treasure of the town. The architecture in this old building is simply stunning. If you haven’t visited Byram arcade yet I would certainly recommend doing so!

I could state the obvious, but I believe that we are all aware that there are a few elements of Huddersfield that need a lot of love and attention. Construction in Huddersfield pours money back into the local economy, raises employment and is a big step into making the town a better place. If we do not act soon, the economic impact of doing nothing could become a significant issue, which results in investment into the town dwindling entirely. However, it’s not all doom and gloom, with recent developments by Kirklees Council (Huddersfield Blueprint), and SKA Developments, (The Co-Op building, the Waterfront development) I am pleased to see some areas emerging into some fantastic additions to the town which will add significant economic and social value. Big Red have the pleasure of working on the Co-Op building and the positive vibe around this catalyst to the town centre is welcomed, although, there are plenty of spaces that can still be targeted for improvement on the periphery.

This is my first blog, so I didn’t want to waffle on but to conclude, I believe that with a little bit of positivity and direction we will be well and truly on our way to develop a great town again. There’s no point just whinging, it’s time to get up and take action.

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