Dewsbury awarded Heritage Action Zone status to revive its historic heart

Dewsbury has been chosen as one of the country’s latest Heritage Action Zones.

As part of a five-year scheme run by Kirklees Council and Historic England, run down and neglected buildings in the town centre will be updated and brought back into use as housing, community or shopping spaces.

Heritage Action Zone first started earlier this year and aim to create economic growth and improve quality of life in villages, towns and cities.

Working with local people and partners, Historic England will help to breathe new life into old places that are rich in heritage and full of promise – unlocking their potential and making them more attractive to residents, businesses, tourists and investors.

The scheme is being led by Kirklees Council and will help to restore the town’s historic character, and create jobs. One area likely to be focussed on is Daisy Hill.

The Heritage Action Zone will help to drive the Council’s ambitions for the regeneration of the town centre by stopping the decline of historic buildings and places. It will improve the condition and appearance of key buildings, and introduce new activity into the town through finding new uses for empty buildings and sites.

The detailed delivery plan for the Heritage Action Zone will now be prepared, to be released from spring 2018 onwards, and will identify any grant-funding to be provided by Historic England.

John Glen, Minister for Arts, Heritage and Tourism, said:

“Our heritage not only tells the story of our past, it creates great places to live, work and visit. The Heritage Action Zone scheme will make the most out of Dewsbury’s historic environment to kick-start regeneration, increase tourism and boost investment in our towns and cities.”

Trevor Mitchell, Planning Director for Historic England in Yorkshire, said:

“Dewsbury was a real rags to riches story – the home of recycling in Britain, collecting woollen rags from across the world to recycle into new cloth. Just as old clothes were remade into new ones, so we want to work with Kirklees Council to help remake the town, keeping the best, adding in new to make a place for the whole population to use and enjoy.”

Councillor Peter McBride, Cabinet Member for Regeneration said:

“We’re delighted that Dewsbury has been chosen as one of the country’s Heritage Action Zones by Historic England. This announcement means we will be able to expand on the great work already taking place through the Townscape Heritage Initiative, by further driving our ambitions for the regeneration of the town centre, using our rich heritage as a catalyst.

Cllr Naheed Mather, his cabinet colleague added:

“This news means that we can take real steps in our plans to make Dewsbury a Living Town, where residential properties sit next to retail and market areas developing a sense of community and ownership, which will bring vibrancy and new investment into the town.”

More details of the specific areas and buildings that will benefit from this announcement will be announced in the New Year.

This is the second wave of Heritage Action Zones. The first wave (made up of ten Heritage Action Zones) was announced in March 2017.

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