D-day looms for massive jobs project

First published in News Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Photograph of the Author by , T&A Reporter

Detailed plans for a business park set to bring up to 3,500 jobs to Bradford are to be decided next week.

The ProLogis bid is for the site of the former West Bowling Golf Club in Rooley Lane in the city.

It includes a warehouse with 374,000 sq m in floorspace which will be used as a distribution centre by Marks & Spencer.

US developer ProLogis wants to create a state-of-the-art business park to include a range of units for small to medium-sized businesses at the 90-acre site.

The company already has outline planning permission in place which it says will create an extra 500 to 1,000 jobs. This includes proposals for 145 homes on the north-eastern corner of the site.

A report to Bradford Area Planning Panel says: "The distribution sector does have a higher proportion of unskilled and semi-skilled operative level requirement than traditional manufacturing industries and this is often levied as a criticism of the industry in terms of job value.

"However, this must be seen in the context of the Bradford job market where there is a growth in the numbers of the lower-skilled.

"South Bradford, in particular, has a need in this area with a higher than average percentage of people with skills levels at or below NVQ2."

It goes on to say that in Little Horton ward adjacent to the site, 53 per cent of adults are without any qualifications or have qualifications whose level is unknown.

"Unemployment levels stand at eight per cent and South Bradford is regarded as having one of the highest levels of social deprivation in the region. The job creation provided by the proposed logistics operation will provide a valuable employment resource to help alleviate these conditions."

The development is expected to provide 2,500 jobs at Marks & Spencer as well as 450 to 965 jobs at other businesses when complete. ProLogis also intends to remove any unsympathetic alterations and extensions to the former clubhouse, which is a grade II* listed building.

A legal agreement is expected to be attached to the full planning permission which will include a number of highways matters.

These include a contribution of £16,000 for future traffic control measures on Rooley Lane; £350,000 towards electronic signs on the southbound carriageway of the M606; and £220,000 towards the cost of possible installation of ramp metering on the southbound slip road from Rooley Lane should it be required.

The panel is being advised to approve the plans when it meets on Wednesday which will be passed on to a subsequent meeting of Bradford Council's regulatory and appeals committee later in the day. If passed the development will need to go to the Government for final approval.

Matthew Byrom, of ProLogis, told the Telegraph & Argus the Rooley Lane development was the biggest the company has undertaken.

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