A plan to develop a Richmondshire business park with a huge warehouse has been welcomed by council members, more than two decades after the authority first backed plans to replace derelict Army barracks there.
A virtual meeting of Richmondshire District Council’s planning committee heard the proposed 1,300sq metre building at Colburn Business Park would provide a boost to the economy and create 13 jobs in one of North Yorkshire’s most deprived areas.
Plans for the employment land on 23 acres off Catterick Road received the support of the authority in 1998, amid hopes up to 300 jobs would be provided there.
However, despite a number of firms locating at what has been described as a “thriving” business park, significant spaces across the site have remained vacant, leading to housing developers unveiling proposals in 2017 to build scores of houses there.
At the time, the council responded to the housing proposal and said it was “extremely worrying as the original concept of the park was that local people would be employed”.
A council spokesman added: “Any potential loss of jobs is concerning for local residents and totally unacceptable.”
Following fears the building of houses would encourage businesses to find alternative locations outside Richmondshire, plans were approved the following year to build six commercial units at the site measuring 2,650sq metres.
However, since the upgrading of the A1, new businesses have shown interest in the park and current businesses are considering expansion.
Some councillors also believe the business park is becoming more attractive as alongside the Army’s to base thousands of more soldiers in the Catterick Garrison area will come their families, who will add to the area’s labour pool.
A report to the meeting stated the planned warehouse would not only lead to commercial development within an appropriate area, but would also create a number of employment opportunities for local residents.
The development would also support the aims and objectives of the council’s economic action plan, in that it would enable growth and supporting local businesses.
The meeting was told developing the economy of the area, was absolutely crucial as “you can’t have houses without jobs and you can’t have jobs without houses”.
Colburn member Councillor Angie Dale said the proposal had been “a long time coming”, but was “absolutely wonderful”.
She said: “I am wholeheartedly glad that the business park is starting to get stuff going on there.”
Approving the warehouse, other councillors agreed the development was long overdue and more developments were wanted on the estate.
Councillor Richard Ormston said he was delighted to see a prime sire on the business park being developed.
He said: “It’s a very large warehouse but will have very little impact on residents. People will be queuing to try and get their hands on it in the future.”