PLANS for a £12 million extension to the retail park at junction 27 of the M62 look set to be approved later this week.

The scheme, off Bankwood Way, in Birstall, was home to the Centre 27 Business Park, but London-based property company AEW UK wants to build four retail units, which would create 110 new jobs when complete.

The former business park used to house nine units, but the firm applied to demolish the eight office blocks in its ownership due to dwindling lettings.

The outline plans to turn the site into a retail park with associated car parking, involves one block of units with retail space totalling 7,896 sq metres over two floors.

Three of the units would be the same size, with the fourth slightly larger.

A report to Kirklees Council’s strategic planning committee recommends that the scheme be approved, but that it will need to be referred to the Secretary of State because of its size and that it is in an out of centre location.

It states: “As the site is currently vacant, all the jobs created will be additional to the area.

"The applicant has also stated that the office blocks that were previously on the site ‘failed to attract occupiers due to being outdated and suffering from structural problems. Competition from newer and more favourably located commercial developments meant that the Centre 27 offices largely sat vacant and did not make a positive contribution to employment provision in the area’.”

As part of the scheme the developer would need to provide £97,000 towards a pedestrian improvement scheme on the neighbouring retail park, including new pedestrian crossing points, upgrading of existing crossing points, and new and upgraded pedestrian traffic islands.

The scheme comes as a similar plan, this time for a large £40m retail park adjacent to DW Sports and Fitness off Gelderd Road, was refused by the Council due to concerns about the potential hazard posed by a nearby chemicals firm.

The plans by developer Sir Robert Ogden Estates wanted to regenerate an underutilised brownfield site that was used for storage, a pallet business and a car wash.

The scheme was refused earlier this year as a large part of the site was within the inner control zone of neighbouring chemicals firm Tennants Distribution.

Objections to the AEW scheme were received from the owners of the Prince of Wales Shopping Centre in Dewsbury, and from a nearby business within the retail park, raising fears about he negative impact on Dewsbury town centre, and the increase in traffic volumes.

A decision is expected to be made at Kirklees Council’s strategic planning committee meeting, which takes place on Thursday, June 20, from 1pm, at Huddersfield Town Hall.