College able to transform ‘iconic’ site

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Kirklees College may carry out its vision for an “education village” after councillors gave its ambitious plans to revamp Pioneer House the go ahead.

The “iconic” building could be transformed into a hub for aspirant students to pursue careers in careers in media, art, healthcare, business and finance and construction.

Another learning hub would be created on part of the former Safeway supermarket site on Bradford Road. This would accommodate around 1,600 daytime students aged 16-18.

Councillors agreed to the redevlopment plans at a Kirklees Cabinet meeting in Huddersfield on Tuesday.

The college is now waiting to hear from the Local Enterprise Partnership to see if its pending funds bid was successful – then work would begin in earnest.

Coun Cathy Scott (Lab, Dewsbury East) said at the meeting: “This is excellent news for Dewsbury. Anything supporting the invigoration regeneration of Dewsbury is great.

“The former Safeway site has been derelict for so long, many years now. It’s great that it’s going to be used for the new education development. It’s fantastic as far as I’m concerned.”

Students could relocate from the Halifax Road campuses to Pioneer House, which would accommodate 1,000 students, and Bradford Road.

Kirklees Council has already spent around £2.5m to protect Pioneer House from deterioration and to refurbish the clock tower and windows.

The building’s redevelopment would provide “higher level skills”, apprenticeships and post-19 education.

Cabinet chairman Coun Peter McBride said: “The net result will be a massive increase in footfall in the centre of the town, which is exactly what we want. It will be a major improvement to an iconic building which we are hoping to bring back to use.”