A councillor has spoken out to urge his colleagues to approve plans for the multi-million pound regeneration of Blakeridge Mills.
Batley West councillor Shabir Pandor (Lab) has written to Kirklees Council’s Heavy Woollen Planning Sub Committee to back plans for the mill complex, in Mayman Lane, Batley, to be transformed into 181 apartments, including internal car parking and a supermarket and petrol station on the site.
Binks Developments’ application was deferred at September’s meeting after committee chairman Coun Paul Kane said more information about the provisions the developer would make to off-set the impact of the regeneration on housing and schools were needed.
Now it has been revealed that Binks’ plan to improve junctions at Blakeridge Lane, Bradford Road and Clarke Green Street was well as contributing funds to local schools.
The application will be considered by the sub committee next Thursday.
Coun Pandor said it had his complete support.
He said: “The application seeks to re-use derelict mills, bringing up to 500 people to live on the edge of the town centre thus supporting Batley and its local community.
“It will regenerate the magnificent buildings and bring this part of the town back to life, and I feel, bring extra footfall into the town itself.”
He added that the development will improve the aesthetics of the site and will preserve the original street scene of Blakeridge Lane.
He said: “These marvellous buildings are a landmark in the town centre and they go to the heart of Batley and our vision in improving the town for its communities.”
The last meeting of the planning sub-committee saw council officers criticised for recommencing that the application be refused.
In their report, they said the regeneration would divert trade from ‘key anchor retail stores’ in Batley, adding ‘in particular the impact on Tesco would see at least a third of its trade disappear’.
Dan Howard, on behalf of Batley and Spen MP Mike Wood, told the meeting that traders believed bringing another supermarket to Batley was a price worth paying for the benefits the development would bring.
He said: “The view is the report seeks to protect Tesco and not the town centre.”
The council received 31 letters and a petition with 426 signatures supporting the plans, and six letters against them.
There was praise for the renovation of the buildings, job creation, the supermarket competition, the benefits of regeneration in Batley and the increased footfall it could bring to the town.
But Aldi Supermarket objected, saying it could have to close because of the predicted loss of business.