Council aims to unlock new business sites

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Calderdale Council is hoping to unlock the potential of local businesses by freeing up empty or disused buildings for firms to use.

The council have created a new post of Principal Site Unlocking Officer, whhich will see Duncan Cooper work with landowners and private developers to identify obstacles stopping sites moving forward for business development, and help fulfil the potential of unused or underused commercial property.

Duncan said: “My role is to make sites viable so businesses can expand and boost employment. I provide a range of support to landowners across Calderdale – from advising on planning and infrastructure, to overcoming difficult site conditions and identifying funding options to bring premises to the market. Businesses may be in buildings that constrain their growth – we want to see new premises where they can thrive.”

One site Duncan is helping to unlock is Gannex Park, Elland – previously home to the iconic Gannex Mill.

Local developer John Radcliffe & Sons bought the site and is promoting it for high-quality business premises. The first unit is the headquarters for local company KT Hydraulics, whose turnover has doubled since occupation. Further business space of 66,000 square feet is available.

John said: “We’re grateful for the Council’s help to promote the site, and keen to progress the next development phase. Gannex Park is an ideal location for businesses.

“It has potential to be a high-tech business park, for any type of firm. We can provide new premises within 10 months.

“It’s close to the town centre – a convenient location for staff. Critically, it has Assisted Area status, meaning grants are available for up to 10 per cent of the capital cost.”

Calderdale Council’s Cabinet Member for Economy and Environment, Coun Peter Caffrey, said: “Calderdale is a great place to do business. There are sites with so much potential – by unlocking them we’ll create an environment where businesses can viably expand or relocate.”

For support with site unlocking, email duncan.cooper@calderdale.gov.uk or call 01422 392254.