The creation of a new business park and Enterprise Zone at Clifton in Brighouse, which will bring hundreds of new jobs to Calderdale over the coming years, has taken a step forward.
Calderdale Council is working with the West Yorkshire Combined Authority and Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership to transform the empty site into a regionally significant business park to house Calderdale’s growing firms, whilst also attracting new businesses from outside the region.
Initial designs for the layout of the new business park are due to progress over the next few months, after investigation work has taken place to explore the underlying ground conditions left by shallow coal mining activity that is known to have taken place on the site.
Teams are doing the underground checks during early January 2017. These works will identify where difficult ground exists, so that the master plan for the site can address these conditions and propose the most viable development scheme.
The master planning exercise has been commissioned by the West Yorkshire Combined Authority and Calderdale Council with the approval of the landowner, Wharfedale Finance.
Cllr Barry Collins, Calderdale Council’s Cabinet Member for Regeneration and Economic Development, said:
“The Clifton site presents real opportunities to boost local business and create skilled jobs, and I’m pleased that work is progressing to move it forward for development. Clifton is just one example of where we are working with property owners to make empty or unused land viable for business and employment purposes.
“It’s a large site, it has access to a skilled workforce, it’s close to the motorway and has good transport links, so what a perfect business park it will be.”
The Council’s work at Clifton is part of its site unlocking activity, which aims to bring vacant floor space back into high-quality employment use and bring empty employment land, such as Clifton, forward. The Council works with landowners and private developers to identify obstacles stopping sites moving forward for business development, and helps fulfil the potential of unused or underused commercial property.
Following an application by the Council and the West Yorkshire Combined Authority, the employment site at Clifton has been granted Enterprise Zone status by the Department for Communities and Local Government as part of a multi-site Leeds City Region Enterprise Zones development which covers locations along or near to the M62.
The aim of the Zones is to bring forward employment space and encourage businesses to expand or relocate in Calderdale, with support for occupiers that can include a period of free business rates or allowances for capital investment. This is particularly timely given the pressure on businesses following the Boxing Day 2015 floods and the need to provide a wider range of employment premises.
Covering 23 hectares of prime development land, the Clifton site is one of the largest of the nine new sites included in the Leeds City Region Zones. The development of the site will take several years to complete, with a careful balance between creating new employment space and enhancing the local environment.