Investment in Dewsbury continues with major 'spruce-up' injection

Dewsbury Town Centre
Dewsbury Town Centre

Prominent town centre buildings in Dewsbury are to receive a make-over.

Among the sites set for refurbishment are 9 Market Place, for 70 years occupied by Bailey’s Café, and the neighbouring Black Bull pub.

Five-year regeneration programme the Dewsbury Townscape Heritage Initiative (THI) was set up to preserve and enhance key buildings.

It was awarded £2m by the Heritage Lottery Fund, which was matched with £1.7m by Kirklees Council.

Grant funding is available to property owners and long-term tenants who want to repair, restore and reinstate their properties, such as bringing back traditional shop fronts.

It is also geared towards bringing empty buildings back into use.

The THI is partnered by organisations and bodies such as Kirklees College, the Chamber of Trade and Dewsbury Forward.

In announcing the funding at a meeting of the council’s Cabinet, regeneration champion Clr Peter McBride said it represented “a huge investment”.

Established in 1930, Bailey’s Café closed on Christmas Eve, 2014, and was sold at auction in February 2015.

In June 2016 it was badly damaged by fire.

The new owners intend to submit a grant application for its restoration and transformation into a branch of Frankie’s, the Batley-based burger and dessert restaurant.

In addition to the major refurbishment Dewsbury will also benefit from a £525,000 spend on street furniture, lighting and “green features” to aid in its revival as a market town.

Clr McBride said the “greening” of the town centre would also assist in the fight against emissions.

There was a suggestion from Clr Martyn Bolt (Con, Mirfield) that the council consider introducing living “green walls” similar to that planted on Salterhebble Hill in Halifax.

Living walls, also known as “vertical gardens”, aim to improve air quality by absorbing carbon dioxide and nitrogen dioxide.

The Salterhebble project was underpinned by 5,500 growing bags containing soil and nutrients, which were sprayed with hydroseeds.

Calderdale Council is the first authority in the north to introduce a living wall to encourage clean air.

Clr Bolt suggested living walls offered far greater absorption levels than full-grown trees.

He said: “We might be able to get better results by less intrusive methods. Let’s look at what Calderdale has done. If we can emulate these living walls then we’d be foolish not to do it.”