Road closures in Kirklees reconsidered after backlash from businesses

The local authority has warned that the project could come back in the future.

Council chiefs have reined back on plans to temporarily close town centre streets in Huddersfield and Dewsbury to traffic following a backlash from businesses.

It comes a fortnight after Kirklees Council suddenly announced motor vehicles would be banned from several key roads to encourage pedestrians and cyclists.

It led to sharp and immediate criticism from some businesses, which said they had not been informed in advance and accused the authority of introducing a “forced closure”.

The council has now backtracked. It denied the plans were “fully-designed” and instead were “ideas”.

But it has warned that the project could come back in the future.

Deputy Council Leader Clr Peter McBride, who is Cabinet Member for Regeneration, said: “The council was considering a number of interventions to help people shop, walk and cycle in our town centres.

“When first mentioned, these were ideas rather than fully-designed schemes, and as such the details had yet to be worked out.

“Officers worked incredibly quickly to introduce the temporary changes in the centre of Huddersfield and Dewsbury, where we needed to make sure there was room for social distancing.

“The intention was always to introduce more changes over a period of time.  This would allow us to understand their impact as individual elements.”

He added: “Whilst there are no immediate plans to introduce the other interventions, that does not mean they or other roads will not be considered in the future once we are in a position to better understand their impact.”

Several roads in Huddersfield including Market Place, Church Street, Wood Street and Byram Street have been closed to vehicles between 10am and 4pm every day.

However the Local Democracy Reporting Service understands that the closures of Firth Street and Northumberland Street in Huddersfield have been postponed as has the closure of Halifax Road in Dewsbury.

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