Ponderosa chief returns with £10m plan

Ponderosa chief returns with £10m plan

BUSINESSMAN Howard Cook is back with scaled-down plans for an eco-village at Ponderosa in Heckmondwike.

Mr Cook, who had a £35m scheme thrown out by Kirklees Council, was set to submit revised outline proposals today (Friday).

A development costing about £10m would be built on green belt land in three stages if approved.

An 80-bed residential care home for those with dementia would come first, followed by an outdoor activity centre.

Next would be a community centre and cafe. About 40 permanent jobs would be created.

The sprawling site off Smithies Lane, which borders Dewsbury Moor and overlooks Mirfield, includes a vandal-hit derelict former sewerage works.

Opposition to the previous scheme came from groups including Keep Roberttown and Hartshead Rural.

Existing buildings already in the green belt would be demolished to make way for the new scheme.

Mr Cook hopes the investment will get his Dewsbury Domes plan, shelved after the last scheme was rejected, finally off the ground.

The domes cover the circular former sewerage beds, which would be used as work spaces for businesses.

Mr Cook said: “The domes are a big part of what we’re doing. Kirklees was going to take it over but they’ve now no money to buy it.

“Yorkshire Water still want me to make it happen. We can secure the land and make the site safe.”

Of the wider scheme he added: “Some of the land is technically green belt, but it’s not picturesque. We’re not in the Yorkshire Dales.

“And we’d be using the same space that’s already been developed. The only new fields we’d be taking would be for some allotments.

“We’ve taken stock and listened to what people had to say. I hope it goes through this time.”

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