Photo: Mark Bickerdike
BUSINESS leaders say Dewsbury is “finally on the up” as the doors of a historic town centre pub are set to open.
Their claim comes as the first stage in new investment in the town is set for fruition, as revamped pub the Black Bull gets ready to open next Friday.
Members of Dewsbury Forward and investor Peter Mason, who owns the pub and has refurbished the Grade II-listed building in Market Place, met to inspect the premises before handing it over to new tenants, Inglenook Inns and Taverns.
Dewsbury Forward, a working group set up to boost trade in the town, says it is delighted with the changes coming.
Eric Firth, chairman of Dewsbury Forward, said: “It is a major boost for the town and we are delighted to see the pub finally open. Dewsbury is on the up with exciting improvements ahead.”
Around £750,000 has been spent on the Black Bull, including a complete refurbishment, thanks in part to a grant from the Dewsbury Townscape Heritage Initiative (THI), which is funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund and Kirklees Council and aims to preserve and enhance key buildings through grants.
The remainder has been provided by Mr Mason, of Leeds-based Mood Developments, which has previously won awards for its restoration work in Leeds.
He said: “We are excited to finally see the pub open. It has taken two years of hard work to get to this stage and we have had to follow strict guidelines with the listed building status and have gutted the building and re-designed the interior.
“We are aware of its previous reputation but this is a chance to wipe the slate clean with a fresh start, which also coincides with lots of good things happening in Dewsbury.
“The Victorian buildings in the town are amazing and when restored will create a real wow factor.
“Dewsbury is a hidden gem and it is the perfect time for the town to re-create itself.”
Next door to the Black Bull, work continues on the old Bailey’s Cafe site, which is being rebuilt to make way for a new burger restaurant, which is due to open before Christmas.
Mood Developments is also hoping to transform Field House, opposite Dewsbury Railway Station, into 23 luxury flats, providing planning permission is granted.
Mr Firth, chairman of Dewsbury Forward, added: “I am delighted that a developer with a great affection for historic buildings has turned up in our town to be part of our regeneration programme.
“It really was a tragedy that this wonderful listed building had become an eyesore through repeated neglect but Peter has stepped in to bring it back to life.”