Copley ‘will create 600 jobs’

CONTROVERSIAL plans for the Copley Valley will create annual wages worth £17.2 million, developers claim.

The regeneration of land between Copley and Holmes Road in Sowerby Bridge would make way for around 600 permanent jobs, according to Genr8.

A further 130 construction jobs, worth £3.2 million, could also be created if the project goes ahead.

But critics say the figures are “nothing but hype, spin and propaganda”.

Diane Wade, of Copley Village Environmental Group, said: “How are they going to create these jobs out of nowhere when we are in the worst recession since the 1920s?

“What they say are these are the square metres and ergo, therefore, these are the jobs. I’ve never heard anything so absolutely ridiculous in my life.”

A Genr8 spokesman admitted the number of jobs could not be guaranteed but said the predictions, by the firm and Calderdale Council, were based on studies of similar schemes.

He said existing empty office space in Calderdale, which objectors say should be used instead, was not suitable for the kind of companies the developers hope to attract.

“We are very keen to attract a variety of employers but predominantly the type of hi-tech, high-spec businesses we’d expect to come to a quality local development such as the one we’re proposing,” he said.

“They don’t want to move into those lower quality and quite old buildings - they want to come into newer, purpose-built premises.”

The employment space would be made up of 88,500 sq ft of offices and 34,900 sq ft of industrial units and warehouses.

The £62.5 million project would also see around 200 family homes built on the north bank of the River Calder, across the water from a nature reserve and allotments.

Genr8 lodged a planning application for the project’s main infrastructure on Wednesday.

It is seeking approval for a 2km link road into Sowerby Bridge, canal and river bridges, flood defences, as well as outline permission for the employment space, homes, and leisure facilities.

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