LEEDS-BASED commercial developer Eshton has completed the acquisition of a car showroom on a 1.5-acre site in Shipley for an undisclosed sum.

The 10,000 sq ft property on Salts Mill Road was previously home to JCT600’s Vauxhall dealership.

The branch of the motor firm closed its doors for the final time on November 30 and there were fears about the future of the land, close to the A650 on the edge of the town centre, with the town’s MP, Philip Davies, saying he hoped an alternative could be found for the site as quickly as possible.

Since then, a planning application has been approved by Bradford Council for a new retail park – Airedale Mills ­– in Salts Mill Road, on the former site of Cardinal Limited, a commercial interiors company which in 2016 relocated its production facility to new premises in Laisterdyke, Bradford, following the 2015 Boxing Day floods.

The Airedale Mills development, which is virtually opposite Eshton’s newly-acquired site, will comprise food operators, retailers and a drive-thru restaurant.

Richard Tovey, director at Eshton, said: “Shipley is a thriving conurbation with good transportation links to both Leeds and Bradford centres.

“This area of the town is becoming increasingly popular and we see tremendous opportunities for mixed-use development, especially with the railway station within a five-minute walk of the site.

“We were also attracted by the scarcity of modern commercial floor space in the town and with the sui generis use the existing building offers, there is scope for a variety of uses including retail, trade, leisure, office and industrial.

“There are also leisure facilities close by with the adjacent IBIS Hotel and Noble Comb family pub.

“Approval of the Airedale Mills scheme is a huge boost of confidence to the continued development of the surrounding area and consequently, we expect good interest in the property.”

Conservative MP Mr Davies said he was pleased to hear about the proposed development and welcomed the double boost of the Eshton deal and the Airedale Mills development.

He said: “It’s fantastic news and I’m delighted it’s happened so quickly after the dealership closure. The plans will create more employment in Shipley and it’s a vote of confidence in the area, without a doubt.

“With new HMRC offices coming to Leeds, the last thing we wanted was an area full of neglect.”

Asked whether the double development could encourage other businesses to invest in Shipley, Mr Davies said: “I very much hope so. It would keep the economy thriving and more people would have job opportunities.”