Major names have been signed up to take space at Huddersfield’s ambitious HD One leisure scheme, it has been revealed.
Restaurant chains Nando’s, Five Guys and Zizzi are set to open at the multi-million pound complex which will occupy a 20-acre site alongside the John Smith’s Stadium.
Also set to occupy part of the site is ten-pin bowling operator Hollywood Bowl. Hotel chain Raddison has already been named as the occupant of a £13m four-star business class hotel also planned for the site.
The new names were disclosed by Gareth Davies, managing director of Kirklees Stadium Development Ltd, the company behind the HD One plan, during a session on infrastructure and investment at the Northern Powerhouse Conference at the University of Huddersfield.
Mr Davies told delegates that the £70m development – which will also include a ski slope and shops – was already 75% pre-let with about 20 tenants close to committing themselves to the site.
Will we see scenes like this in Huddersfield?
He said the aim was to complete funding for the development by the end of this year and to start the two-year construction in 2017.
HD One would create 500 permanent jobs with about 700 jobs in the construction phase. When completed, the 240,000sq ft scheme would have the potential to generate visitor numbers of about 4m compared with 1.5m currently for the stadium complex, which also includes the Odeon cinema, Kirklees Active Leisure’s health and fitness club, Costa Coffee, Pizza Hut and the Rope Walk pub.
Earlier, the conference at the university’s Business School was told that Prime Minister Theresa May remained fully committed to the Northern Powerhouse – but that it should be more than just “metro mayors and big cities.”
Ed Cox, northern director of the Institute for Public Policy Research, said the PM’s support had been shown by her appointment of Andrew Percy, MP for Brigg and Goole, as minister for the Northern Powerhouse.
And he said former Chancellor George Osborne’s vision of the Northern Powerhouse being about big cities, inter-city connections and elected mayors did not go far enough.
“I’m very supportive of that, but it’s a piecemeal and partial understanding of what the Northern Powerhouse should be,” said Mr Cox.
He said smaller towns and cities had a big contribution to make and added: “We cannot assume the financial services sector will be dominant in Leeds and Manchester as it is in London.
“Most of the north’s economic strength is in energy. It is not just about inter-city connections. It is also about urban and regional connections – not just about commuter transport but about freight.”
The conference, organised by Huddersfield MP Barry Sheerman, also included high-profile speakers including Commercial Secretary to the Treasury Lord O’Neill and former business secretary Vince Cable.
The conference, also attended by Colne Valley MP Jason McCartney and Dewsbury’s Paula Sherriff, had three panel discussions on education and skills; infrastructure and investment and innovation and marketing.