Transport fund could get ‘Dewsbury moving again’

A �1bn pound fund could pay for a relief road to Dewsbury that would bypass Ravensthorpe. (D536B316)
A �1bn pound fund could pay for a relief road to Dewsbury that would bypass Ravensthorpe. (D536B316)
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A £1bn funding pot that would help to tackle a congestion hotspot could be ‘transformational’ for the area.

Councillor Peter McBride, cabinet member for investment and housing, said improvements to the Cooper Bridge junction and a relief road for Ravensthorpe would be a major boost to the economic regeneration of Dewsbury and the surrounding area.

The Cooper Bridge junction and the A644 - which stretches from Mirfield into Dewsbury, are notorious for traffic jams.

Coun McBride, who has the regeneration of Dewsbury as part of his portfolio, said: “Currently it’s destroying Ravensthorpe. What you’ve got at the moment is a main road going through what ought to be the main shopping centre.

“And the volume of traffic makes it more difficult to get into Dewsbury. If it is easier to get there, the whole dynamic could change.

“Dewsbury is bang in the middle of West Yorkshire. It is only 10 miles in every direction to the other towns. 
“The location is very good but access is absolutely crucial - if the access is good then people will have a reason to look again at Dewsbury. It could be transformational.”

The money would come from a pooled £1bn transport fund controlled by the new West Yorkshire Combined authority.

Kirklees Council’s cabinet will meet on Thursday to decide whether to back the establishment of the fund. Officers have recommended councillors approve the plan.

The plans for Cooper Bridge junction would see road widening, junction improvements and better access to the major business development planned at the site.

David Cramp, an accountant at TaxAssist accountants in Queen Street, Mirfield, welcomed the news.

He said: “No matter what time of day it is, you can always rely on there being a queue there. Sometimes it’s just bumper to bumper.

“As a business trying to get about and see customers and suppliers it can take a long time to go just a few miles.

“Although there would be short term pain, I would welcome the long term advantage for traffic flow. The easier you can make it, the better.”

The bypass, which would relieve congestion on the A644, is crucial for manufacturing businesses in the Ravensthorpe industrial estate, as their HGV’s often get caught in traffic, Coun McBride said.

“We’ve got to persuade developers that it is worth investing here,” he added.

“We’re trying to do anything we can to help them. It’s about getting Dewsbury moving again.”

The money could also be used to increase the reliability and capacity of buses on the A653 from Dewsbury to Leeds, as well as a park and ride scheme - improving access to Leeds city centre, White Rose shopping centre and the M62 corridor.