Community leaders in Heckmondwike hope the town’s new ‘public transport hub’ will help drive regeneration.
Work on the mini bus station is expected to be completed by the end of February.
For many years a land wrangle and the financial crisis combined to leave an unsightly hole in the town centre. But work finally got underway in October on the centralised transport hub off Royle Fold and George Street.
Boasting four bus stands with shelters, real-time departure screens, sheltered cycle stands and a public waiting area, the hub will also take bus stops away from Northgate, easing traffic flow through the town.
Heckmondwike Business Alliance, set up to promote trade in the town, believes the new hub can provide an economic shot in the arm.
Spokesman John Appleyard said: “There’s been a big hole in the town for at least five years and the hub will change the look of the town centre. It will be the icing on the cake.”
A recent meeting heard that Heckmondwike was one of the fastest growing towns in Kirklees with more people within walking distance of the centre than most neighbouring towns.
“There is a lot to be positive about,” said Mr Appleyard, who is also involved in a campaign to save Heckmondwike Library.
In November a meeting called to discuss the future of Heckmondwike, organised by Labour’s prospective parliamentary candidate Jo Cox, saw various ideas were put forward.
These included: the creation of a “unique identity” to market the town; putting together more events to build on the success of the Christmas lights and the Crown of Lights music festival; and rejuvenating Heckmondwike Market with monthly speciality markets.
In 2008 there were ambitious plans for a £5.8 million new bus station and library and information centre.
There was a hold up when a taxi firm refused to sell its offices and the scheme was eventually axed due to the recession and austerity cuts.<p/> <p/>