New bridges pave the way for more jobs and houses ...

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WORK is well underway on the first element of a £60 million scheme to build homes and workshops in the Copley Valley.

A new road bridge is being laid over the River Calder at Sterne Mill, near the Lloyds data centre.

This and a new bridge in Hollas Lane, over the Calder and Hebble canal, will pave the way for a highway connecting into Holmes Road, at Sowerby Bridge.

The whole project was approved in principle by the council years ago but the details are still generating complaints and objections.

Copley Valley Environmental Protection Group raised a 500-name petition against the replacement canal bridge which will be wide enough for two-way traffic. A light-controlled junction could eventually be created on Wakefield Road.

The final redevelopment project could create hundreds of homes and up to 600 jobs.

But the protection group remains concerned about possible increased flooding risks in Copley village and the increasing volume of traffic on Wakefield Road.

The area is largely covered by trees and scrubland, plus a nature reserve, most of which will be built on.

Calderdale Council is managing the scheme in partnership with the developers GenR8.

It is intended to build 214 houses and flats.

The commercial development on the former Sterne Mill site could include some retail and leisure uses, a new nature reserve and allotments.

l Sterne Mill was originally a corn and fulling mill, and was later used for cotton spinning and wire drawing.

In 2002, Yorkshire Forward agreed to buy the property on behalf of the council, with a view to set up a business centre.