Planning permission granted to improve access to Holmfirth town centre

On Thursday 10 February planning permission was granted for developments to Holmfirth which are set to create a more accessible and attractive town centre.

The Holmfirth Town Centre Access Plan (HTCAP) is a £3.9million investment in partnership with the West Yorkshire Combined Authority (WYCA).

What do the plans include?

The plans would provide accessibility benefits for the town centre, aiding both able-bodied and disabled users by creating wider safer, footways and three new routes between Huddersfield Road and Hollowgate. 

The scheme aims to improve access and bring public realm improvements whilst improving congestion and providing journey time savings for all road users. 

The improvements would also encourage active travel, in line with our green agenda.

A key step towards the planned improvements was acquiring planning permission to demolish the market hall, and in its place develop a multi-use car park and events space. 

Planning permission was granted at a council meeting on 10 February, which now enables the HTCAP to be submitted for Cabinet approval later in the year.

What does this mean for town centre parking?

The car park would be reorganised, resulting in the addition of two more parking spaces, as well as better access to existing ones which are currently difficult to utilise. The disabled parking spaces would also be moved to a more appropriate location at the lower end of the car park, allowing much easier disabled access.

Three fast electric vehicle charging spaces would be added as part of this development, with the capacity to add more should demand to grow as anticipated. 

This is part of our ambitious plan to make Kirklees carbon neutral by 2038. Which has seen £2 million invested in providing electric charging spaces across the borough.

The installation of multiple water and electricity utility points would allow the car park and widened bridge to function as a community event space, mirroring the usage of St George’s Square in Huddersfield town centre, where markets and events take place throughout the year drawing in visitors and boosting the local economy.

Holmfirth Forward was announced as the new operator for the Holmfirth market in December 2021. This appointment would ensure the continuation of the market in Holmfirth. The new market would operate from an alternate location to the Market Hall building, although the group are keen to use the new facilities once constructed. Upgrades planned are to existing signal-controlled junctions, changing zebra crossings to pelican crossings.  This should reduce current traffic congestion issues whilst supporting pedestrian movement throughout Holmfirth.

To further support pedestrians, footways throughout the town centre would be widened to improve general safety and disabled access. A 20mph limit would also be introduced throughout the town centre.

Finally, updates are planned to load provision on Victoria Street. A new loading bay and two disabled parking spaces will be introduced to the north side of Victoria Street. Changes to Victoria Street aim to prevent illegal parking whilst providing businesses and disabled users with dedicated loading and parking facilities. 

As well as the practical benefits, this project would also provide great visual benefits to Holmfirth town centre.  The widened bridge would provide improved views of the River Holme. 

A key part of the works on Huddersfield Road car park, an undercroft would be created to house local businesses’ large waste bins – currently stored on the Hollowgate roadside, where they are unsightly and an obstruction for pedestrians.

Tracy Brabin, the Mayor of West Yorkshire, says:

“Holmfirth is one of the jewels in West Yorkshire’s crown and it’s great to see the plans for the rejuvenation of the town centre progressing. 

“As we emerge from the pandemic, it’s vital that we support our town centres, and the businesses and people that bring them to life. 

“The improvements being delivered by this plan, which are being funded through the West Yorkshire Plus Transport Fund and the Leeds City Region Growth Deal, will have a hugely positive impact.” 

Councillor Peter McBride, Cabinet Member for Growth & Regeneration, says:

“Holmfirth is a beautiful, bustling Kirklees town, and a fantastic place to live and visit.  That’s why it’s vital to maintain and improve the town centre for locals and tourists alike.

“If approved, this plan should bring huge benefits to Holmfirth in terms of safety and ease of access, making visits to the town centre an easier, more enjoyable experience increasing footfall for local businesses.  Creating a new potential events space in Holmfirth would also make the town’s offering more dynamic, which is something we’re passionate about in our centres across Kirklees.

“A key aspect of these plans is that they’re future-proofed, which means we’re excited not just about this work but the possibilities going forward. This project would pave the way for further improvements which would continue to boost Holmfirth’s offering and industry well into the future, and will allow us to grow and change with the times.

“Now that planning permission has been granted, we very much hope to see the plans supported by Cabinet later this year.”

What does this mean for local businesses and residents?

Local residents and businesses have been engaged throughout the planning process, with multiple consultation periods and direct discussions. In large part due to this extensive engagement, a priority of this project has become to lay the groundwork for further potential development in Holmfirth town centre, to meet the growing and changing needs of residents and visitors.

When will the works commence?

If plans are approved by Cabinet in August, we will aim to commence work in early 2023.