Plans to redevelop an eyesore building on a major route into Dewsbury have been approved by councillors.
Ridings Mill was highlighted as a site in need of urgent attention in a hitlist published by the town’s regeneration board back in August 2010.
Yesterday, councillors gave the go-ahead to plans which will see the former tyre depot transformed into a nursery with ancillary accommodation for the manager.
Planning officers had recommended refusing the application because of concerns about parking and access off Wakefield Road.
But Coun Cathy Scott (Lab, Dews East) said: “I think it’s great to see somebody is trying to regenerate it.
“I think to refuse this on a highways issue would be a travesty.”
The Heavy Woollen planning sub-committee heard council officers felt the 14 parking spaces proposed would not be enough when up to 80 children could go there.
They said the access road was narrow in places and the building owners, Triton Consulting, only had an historical right of access.
Councillors heard the company planned to put a traffic management strategy in place.
It would to require site users to sign an agreement that they would only make left turns onto the main road, rather than cross traffic by turning right.
But council officers said the company had acknowledged that there would be no way to enforce it.
Agent Andrew Keeling, of David Storrie Associates, said there were many benefits to the plan, including regeneration, jobs and visual improvements on a key route.
He said: “Your council is saying to my client ‘Get something done with this building please’. My clients has tried to get something done.
“It’s not going to become a house. If we don’t achieve this today, we’re not going to be able to do anything.”
A report to the committee said the building had stood empty for around 14 years.
In August 2011, the council issued a notice requiring the owner to improve the building’s appearance by repairing the roof, removing old signs and boarding up windows.
It was partially complied with, but the owner then dismantled the roof in early 2012.
Coun Andrew Pinnock (Lib Dem, Cleckheaton) said: “I’m just a bit concerned about the right turns out of this junction because I know how fast some traffic goes up and down Wakefield Road at that point.
“The other issue we’ve got to consider is parents getting children across the road.”
But he said the plans were an imaginative way to bring the building back into use which had his support otherwise.
The majority of councillors voted in favour of approving the plans, with only one voting against.