The £250million Huddersfield Blueprint is now an official part of planning policy in Kirklees – after local people helped to shape the plans.

On 26 May 2020 Kirklees Council’s Cabinet gave the green light to make the Huddersfield Blueprint a Supplementary Planning Document – which will make it an official guideline for all town centre development.

The reason for this is to support the delivery of the Blueprint and to make sure all future developments in Huddersfield Town Centre fit into the vision. It will also help with future funding bids.

It factors in comments and suggestions made by the public during the three-month engagement process last year from June – August.

Following this, a four-week public consultation ran from 2 March 2020 – 30 March 2020 giving the public a final opportunity to provide comment. The comments received have helped further shaped the final  Supplementary Planning Document which can be found here.

Cllr Peter McBride, Cabinet Member for Regeneration, said: “This is a really significant step towards delivering our vision for Huddersfield Town Centre.

“Our Blueprint is a well thought-out plan which is based on years of research and consultation with local people, businesses and organisations and it’s the right way forward for the town.

“We can have visions and ideas but we can’t always influence other developments. By making the Blueprint a Supplementary Planning Document we can use it as an official policy to work with developers and deliver a thriving, modern-day town centre.”

Some of the changes made to the Blueprint following public engagement include: a new section on national and local context to explain the drivers behind the Blueprint.

There will also be more of a focus on how the council will address getting the basics right, such as parking and cleanliness. It also acknowledges the need for the Blueprint to contribute to Kirklees Council’s commitment to address the Climate Emergency.

The plan also updates projects such as the TransPennine Route railway upgrade, Better Connected Stations and Huddersfield market. It also gives more detail on delivery, based on recent planning permissions, funding and work with partners.

Projects and capacity are also be updated in light of council’s recent parking study and a funding and delivery programme.

More detail on comments and changes can be found here. The original Blueprint, artist impressions and a fly-through video can be viewed here

Cllr McBride said: “We had such a successful engagement, which really shows how passionate local people are about the future of Huddersfield. The coronavirus pandemic meant our face-to-face engagement during March had to be cut short for the safety of our staff and residents, but people continued to have their say online.

“The most crucial part of regenerating any area in Kirklees is that it works for the people that live here and that it’s what they want. 

“Taking this step forward will give real weight to deliver the plans, a vision that local people have played a huge part in shaping.” 

The council announced in March this year that it had agreed a deal in principle to purchase the George Hotel in Huddersfield Town Centre. 

The grade two-listed hotel, which was built in 1851, was where the meeting that founded Rugby League in 1895 was held.

Kirklees Council last week revealed that it is submitting a bid to bring a National Rugby League Museum to the George Hotel as a key part of the £250million Huddersfield Blueprint regeneration vision for the town. Read more here.