The chance to transform Cross Church Street should be grabbed with both hands, councillors agreed.
Members of Kirklees Council’s Strategic Planning Committee were given a rare chance to offer their thoughts before a planning decision on Kingsgate is made.
The proposal involves partially demolishing two listed buildings on Cross Church Street to create a new canopy entrance into the mall.
The long held ambition to beef up Kingsgate has been dragging on since 2008 amid planning issues and the so-called ‘Credit Crunch.’
The latest version of the scheme was submitted to Kirklees planners over the summer.
It features a multi-screen cinema, restaurants and an extension to the Next store.
Clr Donna Bellamy said: “Cross Church Street looks drab. It’s never looks clean, never looks tidy – it always looks a mess.
“Any improvement down there really should be welcomed.”
Clr Steve Hall agreed.
He said: “The neon signs flashing on and off; to say it looks cheap is an understatement. It really does look a mess.
“It does look like a dog’s dinner down there.”
Clr Andrew Pinnock said he didn’t like the canopy design but supported the regeneration of the area.
Clr Bill Armer said he was more concerned about the views of the extension from Kirkgate and Venn Street.
Giving Oldgate House as an example, he said the council at the time was guilty of “modernistic brutality.”
He added: “I would hate to see us repeat the mistakes of the 1960s and 1970s.”
Clr Mohan Sokhal questioned why the Kingsgate scheme had taken so long to get going.
“Neighbouring cities have taken away our shoppers,” he said.
“We are too slow. We need to get shoppers back to Huddersfield. We need to fast-track this scheme.”
Clr Carole Pattison said she wasn’t keen on the design of the canopy but supported the extension of the shopping centre.
She said: “We need something that makes the area more inviting rather than something that looks like a Tube station in London.”
Kirklees Highways department has not recommended pedestrianisation, instead suggesting the removal of parking spaces and taxi ranks.
Cash for street scene improvements would be contributed by the developer, WD Huddersfield Ltd, the meeting was told.
It now has a few weeks to amend the plans before they are considered for approval by the committee later in the year.