Almost 1,000 people have now signed a petition backing a clothing retailer’s plans to revamp its Mirfield store.
Designer brand Ushiwear has secured more than 920 signatures in just two weeks calling on Kirklees Council planners to reverse their decision to reject proposals to give a facelift to the shopfront in Calder Road, Lower Hopton.
It said business owners, locals and even people as far as France, the USA and New Zealand had been vocal in their support on the brand’s petition page on the Mirfield Matters website.
Ushiwear had submitted plans for the stone building to be clad in timber panels to reflect the smart image of the growing brand’s re-launch. Despite no objections from residents and support from Mirfield Town Council, the Heavy Woollen planning sub-committee rejected the plan, stating the proposed look would be “out of character.”
Ushiwear has also asked residents to give their verdict on three alternative designs for its shopfront after the original plan was turned down. The images were posted on the Mirfield Matters Facebook page with an invitation for residents to have their say.
The premises are currently being used as Ushiwear’s design studio, manufacturing and screen printing garments. The plan was to turn the building into a shop with displays and changing rooms.
Among those commenting in support of the scheme, Anna Seabourne, of Mirfield, said: “The proposed cladding is a great improvement on the existing shop front adding amenity to the locality.”
Lynne Goodwin said: “It’s exciting that a local business has an opportunity to do well. The council should be supporting and encouraging this rather than finding pathetic reasons to prevent it from happening.”
Ian Catherall added: “Mirfield needs to be brought into the 21st century and the local planning authority should be favouring sustainable development unless significant harm is caused. Where is the harm in this proposal?”
Ushiwear co-founder Neil Kapusi said: “It’s great to see people from all walks of life coming out in support of Ushiwear. We hope that with so many people enthusiastic about our brand, the council will reconsider their decision.
“We see the decision as an unnecessary obstacle in the redevelopment of Mirfield. By rejecting our proposal, it scuppers the potential for other businesses to follow suit and invest in the area.”
He said: “Mirfield is an area that is in real need of inward investment. Our proposed design, while in keeping with our brand identity, will improve the look of the building and act as a first step towards regeneration of the area as a whole.”
The family-owned business was launched by Neil and his wife Jilly in 2008.