KIRKLEES officials last week unveiled their radical £200m plan to revamp Dewsbury town centre.
The news received a mixed response, with new Dewsbury MP Mark Eastwood decidedly lukewarm in his backing of the council’s new ‘blueprint’.
Mr Eastwood (Con, Dewsbry & Mirfield) told The Press: “In the past, Kirklees Council have produced a number of plans to improve Dewsbury, including the most recent one, the Strategic Develoment Framework.
“All of which have come to nothing and made little improvement to the town centre, therefore, it would be easy to be cynical about the council’s latest strategy.
“However, I am willing to give Kirklees Council the benefit of the doubt on this occasion and will happily work with officers and councillors to ensure these plans come to fruition and lead to a much-needed long-term improvement to our town.”
Paul Ellis, president of Dewsbury Chamber of Trade, was more optimistic about the project.
He said: “The comprehensive vision for the town revealed by the Dewsbury Blueprint was welcomed by our members.
“It was good to see so many of the issues which we have lobbied the council about for so long dealt with so comprehensively.
“The council clearly has a real vision for the town.
“We are keen now to see the council move beyond the bricks and mortar vision and deal with the human element.
“I was pleased to hear the leader of the council state that funding for the ‘community safety and policing team’ has already been released.
“The new team will bring an improvement in safety in the town even without any physical changes.
“The council also needs to ensure an effective community consultation process throughout the 10-year timeframe of the project.
“We would also have liked to hear more about solving the long-running parking problems which are so often quoted as the reason that people no longer visit Dewsbury.”
We also asked our readers their thoughts on the new blueprint. Here’s what some of you had to say online…
Keith Mason said: “Too many doom mongers here, let’s just see what happens.”
Juneanne Spoon wrote: “Too little too late!”
John Donohoe added: “Waste of money. Dewsbury is a ghost town.”
John Sheen said: “Sounds promising. Unfortunately you can’t believe a word Kirklees print. The 4,000 new homes planned for the Ravensthorpe/Mirfield Riverside project will be log jammed as the bypass planned many years ago has still not seen the light of day. The road through Ravensthorpe frightens potential investors as you just can’t move in or out without massive queues of traffic.”
Tony Jackson said: “Most intimidating town in the Heavy Woollen.
“Never go there after dark. It’s past being helped.”