£1bn pot of cash could be used for new bypass

A £1bn funding pot that would help to tackle a congestion hotspot could be ‘transformational’ for the economy in North Kirklees.

Coun Peter McBride, Cabinet member for investment and housing, said improvements to the Cooper Bridge junction and a relief road for Ravensthorpe would be a major boost to the regeneration of Dewsbury and the surrounding area.

The Cooper Bridge junction between Roberttown and Hartshead, and the A644 route linking Mirfield and Dewsbury are notorious for traffic jams.

Coun McBride said: “Currently it’s destroying Ravensthorpe. What you’ve got at the moment is a main road going through what ought to be the main shopping centre.

“And the volume of traffic makes it more difficult to get into Dewsbury. If it is easier to get there, the whole dynamic could change.”

The money would come from a pooled £1bn transport fund controlled by the new West Yorkshire combined authority.

Kirklees Council’s Cabinet will decide on Thursday whether to back the establishment of the fund as recommended by officers.

The plans for Cooper Bridge junction would include road widening, junction improvements and better access to the major business development planned at the site.

Kirklees Council has earmarked 42 hectares of green belt land between Mirfield, Roberttown and Hartshead for business use in its controversial Local Development Framework (LDF).

But those proposals have met with widespread opposition from people in Spen.

The council’s LDF document was submitted earlier this month to the Secretary of State who will ask a planning inspector to review it.

Coun McBride told Dewsbury Chamber of Trade that a bypass to relieve congestion on the A644 was crucial for manufacturing businesses in the Ravensthorpe industrial estate as their HGVs often got caught in traffic.