Council applies for £4m loan to purchase site

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Kirklees Council has applied for a loan of more than £4m to buy a former steelworks site in Dewsbury.

The council’s proposals for an investment loan from West Yorkshire Combined Authority (WYCA) were considered by the West Yorkshire and York Investment Committee on June 7.

It is requesting a £4.6m investment from WYCA’s Local Growth Fund in order to purchase the disused Forge Lane site (see picture, courtesy of Google Maps).

The privately-owned brownfield site is on the border between Dewsbury and Ravensthorpe and, despite having planning permission, no development has taken place.

A report to the WYCA meeting said: “Kirklees Council has spent £75,000 in assessing site contamination and remediation requirements in order to support the owner and unlock the site.

“The council now believes that the only way the housing development will take place is if they purchase the site and offer it directly to developers.

“The council may use Compulsory Purchase Order powers if needed, but will first try to secure the site through negotiation.”

The 6.1-hectare site has approved planning permission for 169 homes to be built.

According to the report, the project could create up to 264 temporary construction job and 20 apprentice roles.

It could yield a total investment of £17m if the funding is secured.

The report said that £4.6m loan could be repaid by the council to the WYCA after the site is sold in 2017 or 2018.

The Dewsbury site is among a number of investment funding decisions being considered by the Combined Authority.

Other projects include the Bradford Odeon cinema, York Central and Wakefield Civic Quarter.

The proposals will be considered at a later date by the WYCA.