Conference calls for town backers

Coun Salim Patel
Coun Salim Patel
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EFFORTS to win business backing for Dewsbury’s regeneration could get a boost next month when a conference is held for potential investors.

Successful businessmen and women from the region will hear about plans for the town and the support Kirklees Council can provide during Dewsbury Regeneration Board’s first Business Forum Conference.

The conference aims to bring new business into the town as well as encourage people who already have successful businesses in Dewsbury to reinvest.

Board member Coun Salim Patel said: “I’m in business myself and I’ve always been a great believer in industry.

“We want to see factories and businesses opening. If we can get that investment it brings jobs, people are working locally and spending their money in the town centre.

“As the council we will do what we can, but we need the private sector to invest.”

Regeneration board chairman Coun Paul Kane said: “If you look at the last 12 months, most of the investment has been made through the council.

“We’ve also facilitated other investment, in particular the Heritage Lottery bid and the transport bid we won for the greenway.

“We’ll be asking them to look at investing within the town themselves, because Kirklees can’t do it all.”

A group of around 80 business bosses will be invited to the conference at Dewsbury Town Hall, many of whom live in the town or grew up there.

Coun Patel (Con, Dews South) said he believed such people were an untapped resource.

“It’s there town and we need their help,” he said.

“I know people with businesses all over, but this is their town, it’s where their families live and where they grew up.

“We all know Dewsbury has been run-down for many years. What we need is for local businesses and people to come forward and take the initiative. I’d like to them come forward and look at investing.”

He said he was particularly keen to attract more manufacturers to the town.

“I believe that’s very important. At one time we were very famous for our steel and cotton,” he said.

The conference will be an opportunity for the board to talk about its work and sites available for potential development.

But the board is also keen to hear what it can do to attract businesses and what changes would make setting up a business in the town a more attractive prospect.

Coun Patel said: “Certain people have different ideas. As a council we want to know what we can do to attract them.

“We’ve got very good transport links, but we can ask what else we could do to encourage them to invest.”