Dewsbury Arcade, First Community-run Shopping Centre in the UK

Every now and again Mynott Bowers are commissioned to produce the bills of quantities for a project that intrigues us to want to learn more, and the regeneration of the Dewsbury Arcade in Dewsbury Town, Kirklees is one of them.

The vacant Grade II listed Victorian arcade in Dewsbury is set to become the first community-run shopping centre in the UK. Built in 1899, it was previously a popular town centre thoroughfare right through to 2014. The Arcade has been vacant since 2016 following several years of declining footfall and investment.

Kirklees Council bought the space in 2020 with the aim to halt any further decline of the building and a successful bid to The National Lottery Heritage Fund will see £4.5million awarded to fully refurbish The Arcade.

The driving force behind the project is ‘The Arcade – Dewsbury’ About The Group – The Arcade Dewsbury (arcade-dewsbury.org). The Arcade steering group was formed in October ’20 with the intention of taking a long lease on the Arcade from Kirklees Council when the refurbishment finishes. The council has awarded volunteers from the Arcade Group a 10-year lease to run the site, which will be transformed for a combination of retail, office and leisure uses. The Arcade Group believe they needed £150,000 in finance from investors.

Below is the video used in The Arcade groups community share campaign in November 2023 that successfully raised £125,000 from 200 investor members, who will be given shares in the project and a say in how it is managed in the future.

Once restored, The Arcade will have 16 small shops, bookended by 4 larger units at the Market Place and Corporation Street ends of around 500 sq ft per floor. The shops are around 200 sq ft.

There is a second floor running above the shops that will offer 8 studios that may be suitable for artists.

A key part of the development is the restoration work, which will future-proof the building’s beautiful historic architecture while the redevelopment brings it back to life.

Above: Artists impression of how the newly restored arcade will look.

The Objective

To bring together people with energy and imagination to create a popular Arcade that will never close again. An Arcade that will be a springboard for young entrepreneurs, be a mix of retail, activity and culture, work with other Dewsbury projects and keep the money local.

The Culture

To be successful, our community business needs to develop a positive culture:

– Enterprising and well organised.

– Focused on solutions, not problems. No moaning.

– Looking for and listening to other people’s ideas.

The renovated Dewsbury Arcade plans to open it’s doors in the Spring 2025.