Kirklees Council Cabinet has approved plans for residential development in Huddersfield town centre.

As part of the Huddersfield Blueprint – the ambitious ten-year plan to create a thriving, modern-day town centre – the council plans to bring about more residential development for Huddersfield. The aim is to deliver a variety of new homes, including making best use of some of Huddersfield’s beautiful heritage buildings.

The work will bring much needed housing to the district, including properties to buy and rent, and a range of affordable homes. The new developments will also link closely to the wider Blueprint vision, giving disused buildings a new purpose and linking well with proposals for enhanced public spaces.

These initial proposals focus on the Estate Buildings and Somerset Buildings, both of which are already owned by the council and well-placed to support the overall vision of the Blueprint – new residents living in the town centre will help to support retail businesses and help nurture the culture, arts and leisure developments within the town centre.

The council will partner with Thirteen Group on the developments – a large not-for-profit housing association which has already partnered with the council on other housing development projects in Kirklees.  Following today’s Cabinet approval, the council will work closely with Thirteen Group over the next eighteen months on proposals for the development of both buildings.

The development of the Estate Buildings and Somerset Buildings will represent the first phase of residential development in Huddersfield town centre, using beautiful buildings already owned by the council to set the standard for a new, high quality type of development.

Given the essential repairs and restoration of the heritage features needed within the Grade II Listed Estates Building, and to make sure the building will be fit for residential development within the timescale proposed, Cabinet has also approved a second report. This report contains a request to transfer a portion of the allocated Heritage Action Zone (HAZ) funding within the HAZ programme from the George Hotel to the Estates Buildings. The transfer of these funds will allow essential elements of both the George Hotel and Estates Buildings projects to be delivered within the HAZ funding budget and deadlines.

The council will continue to look at more opportunities for housing development in Huddersfield, alongside these initial two sites.

Councillor Graham Turner, Cabinet Member for Regeneration, says:

“There is an ever-growing need for quality, affordable accommodation in our towns and we are committed to find innovative ways to provide more of them. The plans for the Estates and Somerset Buildings will not only help tackle the great need for more accommodation, they will also breathe new life into two of Huddersfield’s beautiful historic buildings. 

“We don’t want to just build soulless houses; we want to build vibrant, welcoming communities. We’re excited to work with Thirteen Group to explore how these fantastic buildings could be transformed.

“While the Blueprint is all about taking Huddersfield into the future, it’s also about future-proofing the town’s heritage and making the most of what’s already here.”