A “sky bar” earmarked for the rooftop of Huddersfield’s town centre shopping will have an extra attraction for revellers: an EXTERNAL corkscrew slide taking filmgoers from the bar to the lobby of a brand new cinema.
Planners gave their unanimous and enthusiastic backing to the unusual scheme, which is part of a proposed extension to the town’s Kingsgate Centre.
And as planning officer Nick Hirst concluded a commendably straight-faced presentation Clr Steve Hall, chair of Kirklees Council’s Strategic Planning Committee, quipped: “So, who volunteers to go down the slide first?”
Re-developing part of Kingsgate in the south of the town will re-introduce a cinema into the town centre for the first time since the closure of the Tudor in 1998.
It involves the re-design of the existing House of Fraser store, sub-dividing the lower ground floor into four restaurants, removing escalators and replacing them with a staircase and elevators, and creating a nine-screen cinema on the upper level.
A roof terrace “sky bar” will be developed on part of the mall’s existing roof.
Kirklees Council has provided a £7m loan to assist in the delivery of the project by WD Kingsgate Ltd.
Kingsgate is in advanced discussions about a cinema operator and an announcement is said to be “imminent”.
But the element that got everyone giggling was the external slide, which will connect the outdoor sky bar to the cinema lobby.
Mr Hirst said: “The design provided at this time is indicative, but shows a sloping looping cylinder with an indicative material of steel with no given colour.”
To laughter in the council chamber in Huddersfield Town Hall veteran councillor Donald Firth (Con, Holme Valley South) asked: “Is this slide on the external part of the building?
“And will you be able to go down the stairs if you want to?”
His jokey response was echoed by Labour’s Clr Will Simpson (Denby Dale), who commented: “I am incredibly enthused by that slide.”
Clr Hall called it “a move in the right direction”.
News of the cinema, sky bar and slide comes less than a week before the council is set to announce its wide-ranging town centre “masterplan”, which is expected to reveal major changes to Huddersfield.
Clr Peter McBride, the council’s Cabinet Member for Regeneration, said he was “delighted”.
“This will be a fantastic asset for the town and offers visitors something different to do in Huddersfield town centre.
“We can no longer rely on retail alone to have thriving town centres and it’s fantastic to see our local business thinking of new and innovative ways to attract people.
“We’re an ambitious council with big plans and it’s exciting times for Huddersfield and the rest of Kirklees.
“On June 26 we will be making a big announcement about Huddersfield Town Centre and these plans will form part of that.”
Peter Everest of Kingsgate owners WD (Kingsgate), said: “I’m proud, after so much work by our team, that we have reached the turning point of achieving this planning consent for our proposal to modernise Kingsgate and to see it evolve into a fully-integrated and engaging shopping, leisure and lifestyle destination that will, in turn, invigorate Huddersfield.”