Life in Yorkshire 'takeaway town' where two key gripes always annoy locals

It's reputation was built on textiles - but these days Batley's plethora of takeaways, Indian-style tea shops, cafes and restaurants are in the limelight.

In recent months several new food outlets have opened in Batley town centre and business owners have described the place as 'thriving' and even 'booming', with visitors coming from across West Yorkshire and beyond, many to check out the various dining options, including Indian and Italian restaurants, fried chicken outlets and more.

One shop worker joked: "Business is booming - the boss has already taken six holidays this year."

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Fizza, who helps promote food businesses on social media, described Batley as "really up and coming" thanks to "amazing new food spots".

And she said the food on offer had diversified and now included a sushi bar as well as outlets serving dishes with Pakistani influences. Fizza was in Batley on Monday to help promote Dixons Milk Ices at Batley Plaza, and she also works with the nearby My Peshawar which is receiving rave reviews online for its freshly cooked Pakistani-style offer. Other outlets nearby include Sushibox, Kluckaroo's and Frurt.

Batley town centre has become known for its takeaways and restaurants -Credit:YorkshireLive
Batley town centre has become known for its takeaways and restaurants -Credit:YorkshireLive

Some older Batley residents are not fully convinced by Batley's emerging vibe. They often complain about two things - the litter and the parking problems. Some said cars were often parked on pavements or near junctions. And they would prefer a wider range of retailers.

"There are too many food outlets - but no independent shops," according to John and Jennifer Nicholson.

"We used to have greengrocers, butchers and bread shops, but now there are no individual shops," adds Jennifer.

John admits that Batley looks better than it once did. "I suppose it's better having takeaways than boarded-up shops. There's a variety if you are into that."

Anne and Cath remembered very different times in Batley and they aren't at all happy with the changes.

"What is there to say about Batley," says Anne. "There are nail bars and takeaways. It would be a dead town if it wasn't for Tesco."

Batley town centre on Monday, April 22, 2024 -Credit:Yorkshire Live
Batley town centre on Monday, April 22, 2024 -Credit:Yorkshire Live

Masood Iqbal remembers when Batley was caught in a bit of a downturn which he recalls happened in the 1990s. "It used to be very quiet then. Now it is busy with lots of shops and supermarkets. Batley is a nice place; I love it."

Habib Patel, a newsagent, said: "Batley is going up and is better."

However, he had a note of caution, adding: "There are too many cafes and barber shops."

Jeanette, who has lived in Batley since 1979, rarely visits the town centre but said: "Everybody says it's thriving at night."

In one newly-opened vape shop, one of the assistants, Norman, said Batley was attracting visitors and investors from Huddersfield, Bradford and Leeds. A cafe called Elite opened up around a year ago which he described as 'very busy'.

Batley town centre is known for its takeaways, restaurants, cafes and tea shops -Credit:Yorkshire Live
Batley town centre is known for its takeaways, restaurants, cafes and tea shops -Credit:Yorkshire Live

"Batley has got atmosphere. You can see all kinds of different people. You have fast food, restaurants, curries and desserts. Batley is a family environment."

His own personal favourite is My Peshawar. "Go check it out," he added.

Ahmed Khan said he would like to see more food businesses cooking fresh food on the premises and utilising proper chefs. He said the 'franchise model' was working but it did not encourage the employment of chefs with specific culinary skills.

Ahmed likes to shop at Indian food company Spices and Rices which makes curry and other dishes on the premises in Upper Commercial Street and sells the food prepacked and chilled. He said some of other local businesses did not prepare the food and that was a shame.

"There are lots of people (in Batley) who can cook really well...there are very few businesses here in Batley that makes the product."

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