WORK has started on a multi-million pound “enterprise zone” in Bradford that could bring up to 550 jobs to the area.

When complete, the site on Gain Lane will be home to 316,500 square feet of commercial space that would “create good jobs for local people.”

In September, West Yorkshire Combined Authority agreed to provide £9.877 million of funding to kickstart the development of the seven hectare site, near the border between Bradford and Leeds.

And yesterday, work on the site began with a ground cutting ceremony attended by local civic and business leaders.

It is the first of three enterprise zones planned in the Bradford area.

The Gain Lane site has been designated as employment land since 1993, but the high cost of developing the area, including building access roads, had put developers off investing.

The Combined Authority had agreed to fund the initial works on the land, including creating new access roads and marketing the site in the hope that large scale businesses make it their new home.

The rest of the site – between Fagley and Thornbury – would be completed by private investment.

When completed, the zone will include eight new units ranging from 40,000 to 75,000 square feet in size.

When the funding was granted in September, Jessica McNeill, Enterprise Zone Manager, told members of the Combined Authority’s Investment Committee there was a “severe shortage of modern, single storey, quality commercial units in Bradford.”

£10M BOOST: Work to begin on new Gain Lane 'enterprise zone' expected to bring 550 jobs to Bradford

Once fully occupied, the site is expected to bring in £900,000 in Business Rates alone, and could bring in £11 million in ‘Gross Value Added’ to the area each year.

The first two units on the site are due to be finished in March 2021, with the full site ready by 2025.

Yesterday, representatives from the Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership, West Yorkshire Combined Authority and Bradford Council gathered for a special ground-breaking ceremony to mark work formally starting.

Elland-based Marshall Construction (West Yorkshire) Limited is leading the development work.

Roger Marsh, Chair of the Local Enterprise Partnership, said: “Our £9.8 million investment in the Gain Lane Leeds City Region Enterprise Zone site is testament to our commitment to creating the infrastructure for economic growth. I’m delighted to be here today and look forward to new units being built and businesses moving in.”

Councillor Susan Hinchcliffe, Leader of Bradford Council and Chair of the West Yorkshire Combined Authority, said: “Gain Lane will bring forward modern facilities and infrastructure for businesses to expand into, creating good jobs for local people.

“Its location is excellent for access to Bradford and Leeds.”

Chris Marshall, of Marshall Commercial Development Projects Limited, said: “Marshall Construction (West Yorkshire) are very pleased to be involved with the development of this industrial park on which construction has just commenced.

“We would like to thank the West Yorkshire Combined Authority and Bradford Council for their support on this project which hopefully will create many new jobs over the next few years, both in the new factories and also the construction on site.”

Gain Lane is one of the Leeds City Region Enterprise Zones which is supported by the LEP, the Combined Authority, Bradford Council, the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government and Marshall Construction (West Yorkshire) Limited.

The zones are designated areas that provide tax breaks and Government support, and are aimed at both new and expanding firms.

All business rates growth generated from the enterprise zone initiative are kept by the LEP and local Councils to reinvest in local economic growth.

Another two enterprise zones are planned for Bradford, one at a 4.1 hectare plot of land off Parry Lane in Laisterdyke and another at a 8.5 hectare site at Staithgate Lane, near the Euroway Trading Estate. Work is less advanced on these schemes. The Authority said survey, masterplan and evaluation works are in progress are currently underway on those sites to understand development options.

Plans for the sites, dubbed the M62 Corridor Enterprise Zones, were first revealed in 2015.