A MULTI-MILLION pound scheme to help regenerate the heart of Huddersfield has been submitted to Kirklees Council.
The plans incorporate the existing YMCA building but would see the St Peter’s buildings above St Peter’s Street demolished and redeveloped.
Yorkshire Forward, an organisation looking to improve the economy of the region, is investing more than £3 million to redevelop the St Peter’s buildings – formerly used by the University of Huddersfield – as part of the expansion of the town’s growing ‘media village’.
The redevelopment will provide accommodation for businesses in the digital cluster that have outgrown the Huddersfield Media Centre.
Yorkshire Forward’s objectives in the plans include:
The construction of a new high quality town centre building.
Creating new workspaces
Generating a new ‘residential market’ in the St Peter’s Quarter.
Improving the perception of Huddersfield and the ‘development confidence’ in the town.
Providing public facilities on the ground floor such as retail, food or drink.
The scheme would also see 68 new apartments built at the site along with parking.
The plans, submitted by Manchester-based Artisan, were welcomed by Clr Ken Sims, cabinet member for regeneration.
Clr Sims said: “Kirklees Council welcomes Artisan's flagship scheme, supported by Yorkshire Forward as part of Huddersfield’s Renaissance programme.
“The offices in the scheme will provide more space for larger companies in the town's growing creative sector and are ideally placed close to our successful Media Centre complex and the University of Huddersfield's new Creative Arts Building.”
Jim Farmery, Head of Technology Infrastructure for Yorkshire Forward said: “Encouraging business start-ups is only the tip of the iceberg for the region’s media companies.
“We need to ensure that there are business premises available that will support firms as they outgrow micro units and expand into more substantial premises. This is crucial to the development of the Digital Cluster in West Yorkshire.”
He explained that companies in the digital media sector often need to change on a contract-by-contract basis.
They need a high level of flexibility to change the size of their premises at very short notice.
“The private sector is not yet providing business premises to these specifications, often requiring a long-term commitment. The development of St Peter’s building provides us with an opportunity to show the private sector that this type of project is commercially viable,” he added.
Toby Hyam, Chief Executive of Media Centre Network, the company that manages The Media Centre, said: “Whilst we are delighted with the success of the Huddersfield Media Centre, there are concerns that businesses will leave the area if there are no grow-on facilities. Providing these in an adjacent building is an ideal solution which will offer what is needed right on the doorstep.”
Huddersfield is one of the towns participating in the renaissance towns programme.
The development of St Peter’s building will complement the work already under way to deliver the masterplan for the town.