a GRADE II-listed building that has lain empty for more than a year is being brought back into use as the first phase of a £2.8m regeneration project gets underway in Kirklees.
Work has now started to transform the former Thatcher’s furnishings shop in Huddersfield into student accommodation ready for the university’s autumn influx.
The Threadneedle Street building, now known as Threadworks, is the first property to be refurbished under a council scheme to revitalise Huddersfield and Dewsbury town centres, which have more than 100 empty properties between them.
Kirklees was one of 20 local authorities – including three others in Yorkshire – to be awarded Government funding last summer to turn vacant urban spaces into living places, which it is hoped will help to boost the district’s economy.
The new halls of residence will house 40 students in en-suite bedrooms with communal lounges, kitchens and living and dining space, over four floors.
Peter McBride, cabinet member for investment and regeneration, said: “The scheme has helped to give this building a new lease of life and will provide much-needed residential accommodation in the town centre which will be attractive to students in the town.
“These new residents will use town centre shops for their purchases and will bring more economic benefits for retailers.
“The building will be repaired and maintained and will continue to make a valuable contribution to the fine Victorian heritage of the Huddersfield streetscape.”
Barnsley, Calderdale and Hull were also awarded a share of the £60m funding from the Homes and Communities Agency (HCA).
An extra £100m was allocated to councils, housing associations and community groups to bring empty houses back into residential use through the HCA’s Affordable Homes Programme last year.
Kirklees Council is welcoming applications for funding from owners of any property which has been empty for at least six months. They must be able to prove they can fund at least half of the cost of converting the property for long-term residential use and show they would be unable to carry out the renovation without help. For more information call 01484 416935.