Dewsbury Arcade: Appeal launches for people to buy shares in derelict Victorian arcade in Yorkshire set to become 'Britain's first community-owned shopping centre'

A share scheme has launched to raise funds for the refurbishment of a Victorian arcade that will eventually re-open as the country’s first community-run shopping centre.

Dewsbury Arcade was built in 1899 but closed in 2016 following years of decline and underinvestment. Kirklees Council have now purchased the Grade II-listed building, and secured a £4.5million National Lottery Heritage Fund grant towards renovation.

The council has awarded volunteers from the Arcade Group a 10-year lease to run the site, which they hope to transform for a combination of retail, office and leisure uses.

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They believe they need £150,000 in finance from supporters, who will be given shares in the project and a say in how it is managed in the future.

Dewsbury Arcade in 2013, three years before closureDewsbury Arcade in 2013, three years before closure
Dewsbury Arcade in 2013, three years before closure

Their aims are to encourage independent shops and cafes to rent space and restore the arcade to its former glory to become a focal point in the struggling town centre.

A public meeting will be held on Thursday October 12 at 6pm at Dewsbury Town Hall, with anyone interested in becoming involved invited to attend.

Arcade Group development director Chris Hill said: “This is a really exciting and unique project and one which we hope the whole community in Dewsbury can support. We firmly believe the rejuvenation of the Arcade will massively enhance the town centre and act as a catalyst for further investment and improvements. We hope it will help in

the renaissance of Dewsbury.

Dewsbury Arcade has been closed since 2016Dewsbury Arcade has been closed since 2016
Dewsbury Arcade has been closed since 2016
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“The Arcade will be run by the community for the community and we’ve been really encouraged with the feedback so far.”

The proposal is for 16 shop units, four larger spaces and six studios for artists or offices on the upper floor.

Kirklees Council leader Coun Cathy Scott added: “The council’s purchase of the arcade was one of the first major steps in our Dewsbury Blueprint plans, and we’re all incredibly excited to see it returned to its former glory. Our aim with each and every development is to create improvements that are sustainable, which will benefit the town for

many years to come, and will bring a renewed sense of joy and pride to the local community.

An artists' impression of the new arcadeAn artists' impression of the new arcade
An artists' impression of the new arcade
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"As the first community-run shopping centre in the UK, the Dewsbury Arcade would do just that. Our blueprint for the town isn’t just about a few years of investment – it’s about what Dewsbury will be to future generations. With this in mind, I hope local people will consider investing in this building, which is both a piece of both our history and our future. As a Dewsbury local myself, I’m really looking forward to seeing the Arcade Group’s plans come to fruition, and to seeing what the Dewsbury Arcade can grow into as a result.”

The share pledge appeal page will launch on October 12 and can be found at

Supporters can also follow the campaign’s Facebook and Instagram accounts for updates on progress.