Pioneering scheme for new learning village

Pioneer House

Pioneer House

Dewsbury’s iconic Pioneer House could be the centre of a new learning village if our councillors give the scheme the go ahead next week.

The landmark building would be at the heart of our plan with Kirklees College to improve their provision in the town.

What we plan to do

The plans would include relocating from Halifax Road, with 1,000 students in Pioneer House. The building would become the focus for higher level skills, apprenticeships and post-19 studies specialising in creative and digital media and art, healthcare, business and finance, and construction.

As part of the wider college proposals, a new 16-18 education village will be developed on Bradford Road for around 1,600 daytime students.

We have spent around £2,500,000 to protect Pioneer House from deterioration and refurbishment of the clock tower, windows and removing asbestos.

Kirklees College has bid to the Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) for further funding towards the exciting plans.

Cllr Cathy Scott, our cabinet member for Housing and Relief of Poverty, said she is excited by the plans.

She added:

Pioneer is an iconic building that defines the town. This proposal and investment is a statement of our transformational plans for Dewsbury town centre.”

Cllr Peter McBride, who has responsibility for regeneration and skills also welcomed the proposal.

He said:

If my colleagues agree to the plans, it is the kickstart to wider regeneration and investment in the town. The building is important in itself – but this also allows other pieces of the jigsaw to fall into place. We have made Dewsbury a priority, and our North Kirklees Growth Zone plans to deliver between 7,000 and 7,500 new homes, generating 5,000 new jobs.

Our skills strategy targets us having the right opportunities for our young people in the right sectors where we know they can embark on rewarding careers. The partnership with the college will go some way to meeting all these priorities.”

Kirklees College vice principal Melanie Brooke added:

If the Cabinet members agree to securing this site for use by Kirklees College, it will be a major step towards achieving our shared goals, subject to the final approval of the LEP bid. It would allow the college to upgrade its existing estate and focus on delivering the skills needed for this region. We are excited by the prospect of being at the heart of the transformation plans for Dewsbury.

The potential investment in education facilities through the development of Dewsbury Education Village would mean that we are able to provide fantastic opportunities for students, employers and apprentices in this area in a more accessible town centre location. Should this gain approval, and then subject to final approval by the LEP later in the summer, the Dewsbury Education Village project would provide the college with a chance to redefine and build on its offer to meet the needs of local businesses, school leavers and the wider community.”

Cabinet will discuss the proposals at their meeting on Tuesday 8 March.

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