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'Digital village' to bring 1,500 jobs
A 21st century model village, with entrepreneurs' homes set above their new hi-tech digital businesses, is set to emerge in the Aire Valley.
More than 1,500 jobs will be created at the £25 million Bingley site just a few miles from where Sir Titus Salt built a whole community for hundreds of workers around his wool mill.
A year after plans were given the thumbs up by Bradford Council, developers have vowed that construction work on Bingley Technology Park will start in August this year.
The development is a vital piece of the jigsaw in the success of the Airedale Masterplan - set to transform Airedale into a world-leading centre for digital communications by 2020.
A key element of the development is the creation of "work/live" units which are designed to support employees or entrepreneurs who work from home.
There will be 32 such units, with ground-floor designated work space and living space upstairs.
These units, which will have up to three bedrooms, will cost around £250,000.
It is envisaged the site, which will take three or four years to build, will attract new businesses, helping to create around 1,500 new jobs.
The three-hectare disused green-field site, off Keighley Road in Bingley, will incorporate a three-storey "hub", including meeting rooms and an internet café.
There will be further two to three-storey buildings with office headquarters.
Director of Bingley Technol-ogy Park Ltd, Stephen McManus, said: "We are planning to start the development in three months' time.
"With the transport links that it has, it is an ideal position for the site.
"It is surrounded by residential properties and is encouraging people to work from home with internet access.
"We think it is a great time to launch such a concept, which is popular in America, and there is no reason why it shouldn't happen over here.
"We have had some interest already. The work-live units could be used by a couple, where one person works from home, or by people who work flexible hours."
Developers have been in talks with neighbouring Advanced Digital Institute (ADI) - based at Cottingley Business Park - which is also listed as a priority scheme in Shipley to drive Airedale's economy.
Chief executive for ADI, Ged Powell, said: "This will be a massive asset for the area.
"It will attract lots of high-value companies, which will attract highly-skilled professionals to the area.
"As a company operating in the area, it gives us a rich pool of diverse companies to collaborate with."
Councillor Andrew Mallin-son, Bradford Council's executive member for regeneration, said: "I am extremely supportive of this because it is what is needed close to Bingley town centre in terms of creating employment.
"I think it will provide excellent opportunities for small businesses and new enterprises to have a home and business at the same place.
"It is about time that we became visionary.
"As an authority, we have 6,000 listed buildings and we are retaining our heritage, but buildings like this set Bradford up for the future. It is a huge investment, especially in the current economic climate."
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