Canal opens up for business at Huddersfield’s Waterfront

A fully restored section of canal, which will form the centrepiece of The Waterfront regeneration scheme in Huddersfield, has been unveiled.

A 350 metre stretch of the Huddersfield Narrow Canal (which previously ran in a tunnel through the site of Sellers Engineers Ltd) has been upgraded. The tunnel roof has been removed and a new lock built to lift the water to just below ground level. A passing place and a landing stage for boats, a vehicle bridge, and footbridges, have also been completed.

The project has been arranged by Kirklees Council under licence from British Waterways, following consultation with the Huddersfield Canal Society. It has been designed by consulting engineers Mason Clark Associates and built by main contractor Clugston Construction Ltd.

David Baldacchino, Waterway Manager (Manchester and Pennine) for British Waterways, said: “It is really fantastic to see the restoration of this section of canal which has been hidden away from society. The new waterfront in Huddersfield will be a must-see destination for visitors to the Huddersfield Narrow canal. We’re really looking forward to everyone having the opportunity to enjoy the waterside and hope that many more people will visit the Huddersfield Narrow Canal.”

In April the towpath between Chapel Hill and Manchester Road at Longroyd Bridge will be open for public use, and landscaping works will be completed.

Alan Stopher, Chair of the Huddersfield Canal Society, said: “The Society welcomes this latest landmark in the regeneration of the historic Huddersfield Narrow Canal. It just goes to show how the canal retains its relevance today over 200 years after its construction. After 11 years in a tunnel hidden from view to all but boaters, this ‘new’ stretch of canal is accessible to all.”

The improved canal will be the centrepiece of development at The Waterfront, a joint scheme between Kirklees Council, Yorkshire Forward, and the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills. Jacqui Gedman, Acting Director of Place at the council, said: “Waterside locations attract the development of land and buildings, so improvements to the canal are an investment in Huddersfield’s future. The Waterfront promises to be the most exciting multi-purpose development scheme in the town centre for many years”.

The commercial land has outline planning permission for four buildings offering prime office space, ancillary retailing, and a crèche, and the council has appointed agents GVA to market the opportunity to developers, investors, and occupiers. The Waterfront also includes a new campus for Kirklees College which is under construction, and plans for residential accommodation.