The council’s ambitious plans to help town centre’s recover, which started with free parking across the district, and changes to roads in Huddersfield Town Centre, will progress further this week with temporary road changes starting in Dewsbury next week.

Kirklees Council is bringing in the changes next week under its emergency powers, as part of its plans to support people to shop, walk and cycle safely in our town centres.   On the 15 June, when non-essential shops re-opened, the council introduced free parking across Kirklees alongside changes to some of Huddersfield’s busiest shopping streets.

On Monday 29 June the council will be introducing similar measures in Dewsbury Town Centre as well as adding some additional temporary measures in Huddersfield.

In Dewsbury, shoppers will benefit from less traffic around the main shopping area, as Longcauseway will be closed to all traffic except buses between Dewsbury Ring Road and Town Hall Way. Businesses will still be able to accept deliveries before 10am and after 4pm.  To make sure people can still travel around the town,  the council will open up Crackenedge Lane to two way traffic between Corporation St and Old Wakefield Rd, to do this safely they will need to remove the parking on the eastern side by the fish and chip shop, and reduce the size of the loading bay outside Wilko’s and create a “priority give way” outside the Barclays Bank.

Parking in the layby outside 25 – 33 Westgate is also to be suspended and coned off, to provide more space for social distancing.

Access to the town hall and Wakefield Old Road Car Park, which like all other car parks is free to use,  will be via Cliffe Street and Crackenedge Lane.

In Huddersfield, to improve space for social distancing, the bus stop outside Sainsbury’s will be relocated outside Farm Foods. The blue badge parking outside Farm Foods will be moved to the other side of the road and will replace the general pay and display parking. On Westgate road space will be reallocated to allow for either an uphill cycle lane or footway widening.

Other proposed changes such as Firth Street and Northumberland Street in Huddersfield and Halifax Road in Dewsbury will not be progressing at this time as further work is needed to understand their possible impact.

The council is working closely with businesses that have raised concerns about the changes in Huddersfield and is liaising with Huddersfield BID and the Dewsbury Chamber of Trade on the upcoming changes.  They are currently working on ways to balance the need for safety and social distancing, with making sure people who are staying at home can still access affordable food, and allowing businesses to operate and provide employment.

The council’s cabinet will meet on 29 June to consider officers wider proposals for making walking and cycling in town centres safer and easier.  They will also decide whether to make changes to the temporary orders behind the current changes so that they can be easily removed or amended in future as their impact becomes clearer and in response to consultation with businesses and residents.

Businesses across Kirklees can access advice by visiting the council’s webpage

Cllr Naheed Mather, Cabinet member for Greener Kirklees said: “We want to make sure that our town centres and communities not only recover from the pandemic but come back stronger.  These temporary plans are in line with our blueprint ambitions for greener, safer and more attractive town centres, however, by being bold now and taking advantage of government funding we can make build on the increased interest in walking and cycling, whilst providing a viable alternative to using public transport and limit the risk of spreading the virus. The council’s journey to recovery is built on our principles,  safety always comes first, but we are mindful of the importance of supporting our local economy and achieving our ambitions for the town together, as such we will be continuously evaluating the impact of these temporary changes.”

Paul Ellis, Chair of Dewsbury Chamber of Trade said:  “The council have been working closely with the chamber to make sure we have access to all the support we need to make sure our members can safely re-open.   We support the move to offer free parking during the recovery phase and will be meeting with council officers very shortly to discuss how proposed changes to the roads in the town centre will work. They are in line with the blueprint plans we saw earlier this year but we need to see how long term issues of access and parking will be dealt with.  The pandemic has had a significant impact on local businesses but I hope that by working together we can speed up the recovery and get back to rebuilding this great town.”