Centenary arcade is being ‘left to rot’, fumes trader

A TRADER in Dewsbury accused council chiefs of leaving an arcade at the heart of regeneration to rot.

Paul Coates, of DC Floors and Pixel Print, said the roof of the Kingsway Arcade on Northgate desperately needs repairs.

When it rains, water cascades down from guttering which has trees and branches growing out of them.

Mr Coates cannot put hoardings advertising his business outside because his carpet samples get wet.

He said a contractor acting on behalf of Kirklees Council visited to price up for repairs about eight months ago.

Since then traders have heard nothing – nor have they heard anything about council plans to celebrate the arcade’s centenary this year.

The Kingway Arcade is part of the authority’s multi-million pound Northgate regeneration area.

Mr Coates said traders were told last October that the council was planning to mark the arcade’s 100th birthday in 2016.

He added: “If they’re going to do something, they need to let us know so we can prepare.

“They also told us the roof would be done but being told that and them doing it are totally different things.”

Shops in the arcade include Hemingway’s Pet and Aquatic Store, Cosmic Toys and Imsons.

Mr Coates said: “There's traders here trying to bring shoppers in – but they get wet when it rains and water also comes flooding down the arcade.

“With the regeneration there’s some optimism for the future looking ahead two or three years down the line.

“But the council needs to do something now to make sure we’re still here in two or three years’ time.”

A council spokesperson said: “We are aware of the roof leak at the Kingsway Arcade, which our original inspection indicated was caused by blocked gutters.  The gutters were emptied and thoroughly cleaned in March, but unfortunately this doesn’t appear to have solved the problem entirely.  Contractors have now been instructed to make further inspections and take action to rectify the leak.

"Dewsbury’s Townscape Heritage Initiative is a Heritage Lottery funded scheme which can award generous grants for the refurbishment and repair of certain specific buildings.

"With the exception of Pioneer House which the council owns, all other eligible buildings are privately owned.

"This means that the progress of building repairs and refurbishments is very much dependent on the interest of individual building owners and tenants in making improvements to their property.

"While the initial take-up of grants has been slow, we are confident that recent news about the council and Kirklees College working together to bring Pioneer House back into use, will be a significant boost to confidence in the town centre, and encourage more private landowners to invest in their buildings.”

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