SPARKS are flying at a Huddersfield shopping centre.
Workmen using cutting gear are removing tons of concrete and structural steelwork on the roof of the Kingsgate retail complex.
And centre managers have apologised to local residents that some work has to be done at night.
The work – undertaken by Marshall Construction in Elland – is part of major alterations to the centre to provide a new two-floor store for fashion retailer H&M.
Kingsgate owner WD Huddersfield is knocking through vacant units 20 and 20A to provide 7,000sq ft, as well as adding a first floor above to provide a further 10,000sq ft for the H&M store.
Escalators and a lift will be installed to the new first floor, which will include 3,000sq ft of storage space.
Scaffolding has gone up on the Southgate side of the retail complex overlooking Shore Head and a giant tent has been erected above the roof to protect the site from rain.
Work to remove the concrete and steelwork is expected to continue for several more days before construction work begins.
The steel and plastics removed are being separated and graded for recycling.
Kingsgate bosses have until the end of June to complete the scheme, which will give H&M two months to fit out the store before its planned opening in early September.
Centre manager Jonathan Hardy said the work was progressing well – aided by a week of sunny weather and no high winds.
He said the work was not affecting shoppers or other tenants, but that it did involve some “sporadic” night-time working.
“We are working into the night, but we are trying to keep the noise disruption to a minimum,” he said.
“The demolition phase is the noisiest part of the operation and things will be quieter once we start construction of the new roof.
“By the end of next week we will have finished the ‘heavy’ night work.
“But we have a ‘window’ within which to complete the work, so we really need to make sure the programme is adhered to and that means some night-time working.”
Mr Hardy said the arrival of H&M would bring in a “destination” retailer into Huddersfield. It will occupy a double unit next to the New Look at the top of the shopping mall. H&M has taken a 10-year lease.
The Swedish-owned company, which sells clothes for men, women, teenagers and children, is creating about 20 full-time and part-time posts.
H&M will become the third largest store in Kingsgate, complementing existing retailers including House of Fraser, Next, Clintons, River Island, TK Maxx and Currys.