CALDERDALE Conservatives have slammed plans drawn up by council planners for a new business park near Brighouse.

Group leader and ward councillor Councillor Scott Benton says Calderdale Council's proposals to establish Clifton Business Park do not “stack up” and are being forced on Brighouse against its will.

But the council argues consultation events were well-attended and included the opportunity to comment on the plans either in person or online, views being taken into account where possible and local businesses positive about the possibility of moving in there.

Creating the business park would strengthen Calderdale’s economy, creating “significant new business and employment opportunities”, it argues.

Plans go in for Clifton Business Park at Brighouse

Cllr Benton said the Clifton plans “did not stack up” in either economic of environmental terms.

“The council are looking to use taxpayers’ money to force through a compulsory purchase of the land and then to spend millions of pounds creating a business park," he said.

“The problem is that there is no evidence that there is any demand for the units that will be created as there are already hundreds of similar industrial units that are vacant in a 10-mile radius of the site.

“Furthermore, the Business Rates that would be paid if any of the units were occupied will be paid to the West Yorkshire Combined Authority rather than Calderdale Council – this means that if existing Calderdale businesses move onto the site, the council will effectively lose their Business Rates which will mean a hole in the council budget and could lead to local services being cut.”

Cllr Benton said plans will create a huge increase in traffic and pollution in what is an existing air quality management zone where air quality is already below legal standards.

“The impact on the health of local people, the loss of green space, and the adverse impact on the local environment are all unacceptable.

“The overwhelming majority of local people do not support the development and this is yet another example of the council forcing something on Brighouse against its will,” he said.

However the council says consultation has taken place and people took the opportunity to talk to planners and ask them questions.

Documents lodged to support the council’s application by development consultants the Pegasus Group say the business park will add around £269 million, in today’s terms, to Calderdale’s economy over the next ten years, creating around 600 net extra jobs.

Calderdale Council’s Cabinet member for Resources, Performance and Business Change, Cllr Jane Scullion, speaking on Friday, June 21, said the planning application had been submitted following public consultation, which took place throughout February.

The consultation included a dedicated consultation website, two public and two stakeholder drop-in events in Brighouse, she said.

Participation showed events were well attended, with 115 residents, businesses and stakeholders attending to review the proposals, speak to the development team, and share their views, says the council.

More than 100 responses were received during the consultation, and where possible and feasible changes have been made to the scheme design to address comments and suggestions provided by the local community. Positively, many local businesses were interested in potentially moving into the business park; supporting the evidence that there is a need for an employment zone in the area, said Cllr Scullion (Lab, Luddenden Foot).

“The development would offer a real opportunity to boost our local economy by attracting new businesses to the area and allowing existing firms to expand.

“The feedback from the recent consultation has been really helpful in preparing more detailed plans.

“It was also encouraging to hear that many businesses expressed interest in the site, showing the need for high quality employment space in our area,” she said.

The Pegasus Group documents indicate a combination of business classes is proposed, including office, research and development, light industrial, general industrial and storage and distribution space.

They claim air quality, noise, vibration, biodiversity, transport infrastructure and flood risk issues have been considered.