A multi-million pound plan to ‘transform’ Dewsbury town centre has been announced.
Kirklees Council hopes to create a Housing and Enterprise Growth Zone in North Kirklees which it said will lead to a “transformational economic overhaul” of the area over the next 20 years.
If approved, the proposals, which include thousands of new homes, are expected to generate around £400m for the district and create up to 9,000 jobs.
The council’s cabinet discussed the plans at a meeting on Tuesday and hope to send the plans out for public consultation.
A report to the meeting said the scheme would provide major employment opportunities linked to housing growth, improve road and rail transport links and revitalise town centres with increased housing, more shops and retail units and better leisure facilities.
Dewsbury councillor Cathy Scott, who is also the cabinet member for housing and relief of poverty, said: “This is a great opportunity for the council to explore an enterprise growth zone which could transform areas within it.
The report said Dewsbury was a “friendly town” and that it should take better advantage of its transport links with Leeds.
The report said: “The district’s location within the wider Leeds City Region, its connectivity, the creativity and entrepreunership of its citizens and the beautiful architecture in the area provide real opportunities for Dewsbury and Batley.
“The concept of ‘friendly Dewsbury 15 minutes from Leeds’ is one that should be exploited to help attract new business, new investors and a growth in population to sustain and grow services.”
Dewsbury MP Paula Sheriff said: “This is a long-term plan which will bring siginficant growth and allows us to achieve a vibrant town centre with new businesses.”
Andrew Marsden, chairman of Batley Business Association, said: “This plan is defintely something that’s needed. In fact I would say it’s perhaps something that’s a little overdue.
“We have seen money spent elsewhere in the district so it’s nice to have some investment in Batley.
“I think we are on a bit of upward turn at the moment. We have welcomed a few new businsess to the town recently.
“Admittedly, we do have more empty units than we would like but I think that’s the same in every town centre in the country.”
Coun Cathy Scott, cabinet member for housing and relief of poverty, said the scheme could “transform areas.”
Coun Peter McBridge said the opportunity will not come again for another generation.