CONSTRUCTION has begun at a controversial Bradford Council-backed new business park.

Work is under way on the first three units at Baildon Business Park, which was the subject of a concerted protest campaign by Baildon Town Council and a residents' action group.

Developer Pendle Russells is building a state-of-the-art 28,000 sq ft factory for precision-engineering firm Produmax, which will transfer its operations from sites in Otley and Yeadon and bring 44 jobs to the 15-acre Baildon development.

Also being built are a 15,000 sq ft unit for surgical equipment manufacturer Anetic Aid and a speculative 14,000 sq ft unit . Russells Construction is the main contractor.

The ceremonial sod cutting was attended by Produmax managing director Jeremy Ridyard and Anetic Aid director Andrew Curtin, with development partners Mark Taylforth and Andrew Russell, of Pendle Russells, along with Councillor Susan Hinchcliffe, Bradford Council’s portfolio holder for employment, skills and culture.

Work has begun after planning approval for the construction , following an earlier approval for the Produmax application. Construction of the new access road and the first three units is expected to be complete in early 2015.

The move to Baildon will kickstart a ten -year expansion plan by Produmax , part-funded by £600,000 from the Regional Growth Fund, which will see more products developed and a doubling of the workforce.

Anetic Aid, part of the Portsmouth Surgical Holdings Group, is relocating its 26-strong maintenance, sales and distribution teams from Guiseley. The new site will also allow the firm to grow its servicing engineering department and anticipates increasing staff numbers to 40 within the next few years.

Developer Mark Taylforth said: “The start of construction for the first phase of Baildon Business Park is a major milestone. Having two units pre-sold was the ideal scenario and I’m pleased we’re kicking off construction with both Produmax and Anetic Aid on board.

" Negotiations are under way with other potential tenants and, once confirmed, we’ll get to work on detailed designs and planning applications for the remaining 90,000 sq ft the site has to offer.”

Cllr Hinchcliffe added: “This development will contribute to the growth of the companies we need within the district and I welcome the jobs that come with that growth.”

Jeremy Ridyard, Produmax managing director, said: “Produmax is in a period of rapid growth supplying to the global aerospace industry, assisted by the UK Sharing In Growth program, and we are looking forward to moving into the purpose-built factory early in 2015.”

Andrew Curtin, Anetic Aid director, added: “This is a great move for us to a brand new unit, in which we have been able to specify our design requirements, and the staff can’t wait to move into the new facility.”