TORY chief Robert Light has defended trying to take £5m in regeneration funding from Dewsbury.
Coun Light (Con, Birstall and Birkenshaw) said the aim was a better deal for everyone, given limited funds.
He said: “It’s actually not just Dewsbury that needs investment. Batley is also crying out for help.
“Batley and Dewsbury will always be connected and if Batley’s dead on its feet then Dewsbury won’t succeed either.”
Coun Light added Batley town centre needs a total re-think,including attempting to relocate some restaurants from nearby.
He said: “We need to look at what part of the retail offer will work in the future.
“It will probably mean moving some shops from certain areas into others and looking at how we can make the night-time economy work.
“Much of the nightlife revolves around a few pubs. But there are also some very successful restaurants.
“If we could move some of them into the town centre then that would change the town centre dramatically.”
At Wednesday’s council budget debate, Tories proposed spreading out the £5m and £10m budgets for regeneration in Dewsbury and Huddersfield.
Coun Light said: “We’ve got a limited amount of capital cash. The council therefore has to make sure it’s used throughout the borough, not just in two centres.”
But Dewsbury remains a priority and Coun Light said: “There’s some work being done by the council but it’s not enough and it’s not radical enough. Dewsbury should be a very attractive office and business environment, but the council is doing nothing to create that.
“The town is placed in an ideal location to get business from Leeds but it’s not doing it.
“The council isn’t marketing Dewsbury or providing those facilities which would encourage businesses to move out of Leeds.”