Work on a major £2.5 million revamp of Cleckheaton’s famous ‘Rubber Tunnel’ is finally complete and set to reopen next month.
Renovations to the newly named Victoria Court, between Cheapside and Market Street, started in September to replace shop fronts inside, giving the arcade a new lease of life.
Owner Willow Properties is behind the revamp, which includes stone fascias, new flooring, lighting, external seating, and a new £150,000 roof.
Ernest Wilson director Jonathan Holmes, the agent overseeing the redevelopment, said: “In early 2018, the shopping centre was run down and needed capital injection.
“Willow Properties own a substantial number of premises in Cleckheaton and so know the area well. Investing in the area is a way of showing belief in the town and thanks to the loyal community.
“A unique benefit of Cleckheaton is it offers four hours free parking within the centre; a great incentive for visitors, and the town is next to the M62 corridor.
“The old Rubber Tunnel had become tired and it was clear reinvesting provided an opportunity to bring back the arcade’s former glory.
“We’re confident the investment will benefit traders in Cleckheaton too, which regularly recommend each other like a community should.”
Although, the investment shows a step in the right direction for Cleckheaton, Yorkshire has a higher than average amount of vacant shops compared to other counties, with 13.6% empty out of around 4,100 units.
Within the last decade, footfall for Yorkshire’s highstreet shopping has fallen by a quarter.
Spenborough Chamber of Trade & Commerce secretary, James Shingleton said: “The £2.5 million revamp shows a real willing to invest in the town.
“These investments encourage people to come to Cleckheaton and highlights the highstreet has a future. We don’t have any multi-national chains so there’s no fear of big companies drowning out independent firms.”
Victoria Court will open with a ribbon-cutting ceremony in mid February.