Multi-million boost for local community if plan is approved

Issue 647

THE whole of Dewsbury is set to receive a massive regeneration boost if plans to develop land next to Dewsbury Rams’ Tetley’s Stadium get the go-ahead from planning councillors next week.

Almost £5 million of investment is set to be ploughed into both local organisations and facilities that will benefit not just the local community, but people from across the town.

The Heavy Woollen Planning Committee is being recommended by officers to approve plans by Harron Homes to build 206 family houses on the land that is bordered by Owl Lane and Wakefield Road.

Although the site is nominally green belt, it was formerly the site of Shaw Cross Colliery and a local authority tip and landfill and has already cost millions of pounds in clean-up costs.

As part of the application a range of top class sports and leisure facilities will be created for the area’s wider benefit.

The deal would also secure the longer term future of the Dewsbury Rams Rugby League club, who look certain to be involved in a new-look competition from 2015 which would ultimately give them the chance to play in Super League.

The club, the local community and Kirklees Council will share a £4.9m windfall as part of the proposed development at Owl Lane.

As part of their detailed plan for the development, Harron Homes have promised to provide a full size, floodlit all-weather sports pitch, plus two floodlit all weather multi-use games areas suitable for a variety of sports including five-a-side football.

The developers will also cover the cost of a new 334 space car park to provide more space for the club to grow in future, and a new park extending along the whole western boundary.

It is hoped that this new facility could be part of a knock-on development that could eventually encapsulate the adjacent Bywell Fields sports area, which has a small parking area and run-down changing facilities.

Quite apart from the cash injection from the developers, should the project go ahead Kirklees Council would benefit from a Government new homes premium – central funding to help them deliver extra services in the area.

The Dewsbury East ward would also receive extra trickle-down funding as a result of the property influx.

The total cost is estimated to be £1.6m for the new community facilities and car park and in addition Harron Homes will contribute towards education, transport and the construction of much needed on-site affordable housing, amongst the 206-home plan.

A spokesman for the lead developers, Stirling Scofield, said: “After several years of working closely on this development proposal with the club, Kirklees Council and the local community, we now have the opportunity to deliver an outstanding regeneration of the old colliery site.

“This will result in the provision of state of the art sporting facilities and a multi-million pound cash deal for the club and the local community, in addition to much-much needed high quality housing.

“The matter now rests in the hands of local councillors and we hope they can see the benefits this development proposal can bring and support the application.”

In addition to funds and facilities for the site’s long-term leaseholders the Rams, the developers will also give £1.1m to Kirklees, and put a further £1.1m into a trust for the benefit of the community. This will be overseen by Kirklees Council, and a wide range of community and sports clubs and organisations are set to benefit from the new community trust.

Should the plan be approved next Thursday it would automatically be called in for further consideration by the Secretary of State for Commuities and Local Government, Eric Pickles.

However if the scheme gets overwhelming backing from the local authority, residents and community groups alike, it is highly unlikely to be held up.

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