FOUR new “business development zones” could be created to breathe new life into some of the Bradford District’s traditional employment areas

The proposed zones include one of Keighley’s key industrial areas and a Shipley street that has been beset by closing businesses.

Bradford Council is is looking at new ways to “unlock the district’s economic potential” by creating zones in Shipley, Keighley and Bradford.

It claims the zones will help boost jobs and investment by helping local businesses to invest in their productivity, upgrade their premises and unlock potential capacity in the surrounding areas.

The four sites are Bowling Back Lane, a road flanked with industrial units, Royd Ings in Keighley, Dalton Lane, which includes Dalton Mills in Keighley and Salts Mill Road and Dockfield Road in Shipley.

The latter currently has a number of empty, large scale units after the closure of a JCT 600 showroom and the Cardinal shopfitting business, which has recently moved to Laisterdyke. HM Revenue and Custom, one of the town’s biggest empoyers, will also be leaving its base on the street when its Shipley office closes as part of a national shake-up in the autumn of 2020.

The Council will investigate how commercial land in these four areas can be increased by mapping current use and suggesting infrastructure improvements, including transport links.

It is hoped the new zones will encourage landowners and developers to form partnerships to redevelop industrial sites.

The Council will work with Bradford Chamber of Commerce to explore collaborative initiatives to boost productivity and growth within the business development zones and wider district.

Coun Alex Ross-Shaw, Portfolio Holder for Regeneration, Planning and Transport, said: “We are looking at how to boost investment and employment in four new business development zones: one in Bradford, one in Shipley and two in Keighley.

“We want to help existing businesses unlock untapped potential by boosting their productivity whilst bringing underutilized industrial land back into use.

“The work to develop the new zones adds to a wider package of measures designed to improve employment and prosperity across the Bradford district.”

Mike Cartwright from Bradford Chamber of Commerce, said: “Our members employ thousands of Bradford residents and many of the companies wish to grow and create new jobs.

“Additional industrial capacity will aid expansion so we are delighted Bradford Council is looking at boosting both the productivity and availability of industrial land.

“This work will build on a report we produced earlier this year and we look forward to working with the Council to develop innovative new approaches to boosting investment, growth and jobs.”

The Chamber’s report said the district’s economic growth was being held back by the lack of suitable employment land available for development.

According to the Chamber, there is around 50 per cent less land available for employment use in Bradford than there was just five years ago. The report called for the Council to identify future development sites.