14 February 2024 —

Kirklees Council has submitted refined plans for Phase One of Our Cultural Heart, which includes a new food hall and library, as the project moves into delivery mode. The submissions propose some refinements to the plans approved last year including the retention of more of the original features of the Grade II Listed Queensgate Market Hall.

The entire Our Cultural Heart masterplan, which is a key part of the council’s strategy to unlock economic growth in Kirklees, was approved in early 2023. The project is being delivered in phases to enable more financial flexibility, and work to refine the phase one plans has now been completed and plans submitted in this ‘Section 73’ planning application, alongside a new Listed Building Consent.

This first phase of the masterplan will concentrate on the major refurbishment of the historic former Queensgate Market building, which will be transformed into a vibrant new food hall with space for around ten independent food stalls. A brand-new, community library will be incorporated within the existing east wing of the same building.

Both the food hall and new library will directly feed out to a new public square, with the connecting space perfectly suited to outdoor cultural events and gatherings.

The main change from the approved 2023 plans is the removal of the top-floor event space from the new library development. With other event space opportunities available within the library, food hall, public square and future museum space, the masterplan will still deliver multiple new community and business event locations.

Councillor Graham Turner, Cabinet Member for Finance and Regeneration, said:

“It’s exciting to see the final plans for Phase One of Our Cultural Heart now in place.

“Our decision to phase the masterplan means that we retain the original ambition and vision whilst being prudent with our finances. The recent adjustments have ultimately allowed us to save more character and heritage on an important listed building, still deliver a high quality, modern new library, and move into the delivery phase during these challenging economic times.

“We are confident that Our Cultural Heart will play a pivotal role in kick starting a new era for Huddersfield town centre. It will increase the number of visitors to our town centre, safeguard key heritage assets, create new job opportunities, enhance our green credentials and act a catalyst for further economic growth and investment.”

The construction programme for phase one was approved by Kirklees Council’s Cabinet last month. Led by BAM Construction, enabling works on site are expected to get underway in March, with the main construction work to follow in the summer.

You can view and comment on the planning application here.