THE leader of Kirklees Council has pledged to do everything possible to help Huddersfield’s young independent businesses thrive.
Clr Mehboob Khan applauded the ideas put forward by Byram Arcade tenants to use empty premises to showcase local businesses or stage art events.
And he said more should be done to promote Byram Arcade as a shopping destination for visitors to the town.
Clr Khan said the council would consider making its empty units available for events and would talk to private landlords about their vacant properties.
“Providing we can meet health and safety requirements, we would be happy to see some of these events,” he said. “We need to use space to its maximum advantage.”
He said Byram Arcade needed to be promoted “much more strongly” among the town’s 25,000-strong student population at Huddersfield University and visitors using the railway station – the second-busiest in West Yorkshire.
Clr Khan said he had been impressed by the enthusiasm and optimism shown by business people in Byram Arcade and by the “fantastic” range of products and services they offered.
He said: “Three years ago, 25% of units in the arcade were empty. Now there are only two empty units. More businesses have moved in even during the recession.”
Clr Khan said economic times remained difficult, adding: “We need to do more with less. But we have an open door for ideas about how we can do more with less and we want to make sure they council is listening. I’m happy for people to email me with their ideas so we can work together to ensure Huddersfield town centre can be stronger”.