LETTER: Our once proud town needs to breathe again

Dewsbury town centre.
Dewsbury town centre.

In late 1972, I left Dewsbury for the bright lights of London with little regret.

In late 1972, I left Dewsbury for the bright lights of London with little regret.

Dewsbury in days gone by.

Dewsbury in days gone by.

Even then, my home town was changing but still had its heart and soul intact.

Apart from Christmas, I never returned for over 25 years and after that only sporadically.

Obviously, I saw some positive changes such as the ring road.

Others saddening like the retail closure of Marks and Spencer, Woolworths and the Princess of Wales complex which killed half the town.

Plus most of the town centre pubs have been converted into salons and offices.

However, it is only in the last few years that I have witnessed the town literally being torn apart to the point that Dewsbury is now a cadaver - a ghost town.

The other day I walked up Daisy Hill, which not that long ago was the commercial zone with estate agents and solicitors mixed with fashion and arts shops.

Now, 75 per cent of it is closed down, it’s a tragedy that this once proud, vibrant former county borough should be reduced to such a run-down state with its famous arcade chained shut, its renowned market, now a shadow of its former self.

There are empty shops in the main town centre streets and the Pioneer complex is still boarded up.

How and why has this been allowed to happen?

What ever happened to Dewsbury?

Who takes responsibility?

We need a radical approach to reverse the damage.

This should start with the town centre being completely pedestrianised.

I believe that with investment and imagination, Dewsbury could be transformed into a commuter town for Huddersfield and Leeds.

The town has good rail links to both - and with Grand Central stopping at Mirfield, it offers fast rail links to London.

The town needs to breathe again and recover its identity and heritage.

Derek Mackay, Thornhill