Council leader Mehboob Khan has hailed the “historic” shares agreement for Huddersfield Town, the Huddersfield Giants and Kirklees.

And he now believes it paves the way towards getting the hugely-ambitious HD One project off the ground.

Plans for the huge leisure and retail complex surrounding the John Smith’s Stadium first emerged four years ago but have not progressed because of uncertainties over the shares deal.

But now that deal has been sorted, the councillor believes the project can and will go ahead, even in today’s uncertain economic climate.

Under the agreement Town chairman Dean Hoyle will pay £2m for the return of the club’s shares in the John Smith’s Stadium.

Mr Hoyle will repay £2 million in personal loans to previous owner Ken Davy, who saved the club from administration a decade ago.

And in return Giants chairman Mr Davy has sold Town’s former 40% shareholding back to the club – for a nominal £1.

Mr Davy had transferred the Town and Giants shares to his own company Huddersfield Sporting Pride Limited.

The HD One scheme would see a ski slope, dozens of bars, restaurants and a hotel built around the stadium and cinema complex. It is estimated that it could create between 900 and 1,000 jobs at that location.

There would also be two nightclubs, a bingo hall, shops and 140 flats on the 11-hectare site.

It was way back in January 2010 that Kirklees councillors gave planning permission for the £100m development on land around the Stadium, including the golf driving range and the car parks.

Ski slope at the new proposed HD One complex
Ski slope at the new proposed HD One complex
 

Clr Khan said: “The shares agreement is a really positive step forward for Kirklees Stadium Development Limited and for the future of both clubs and the HD One development.

“I know there are economic concerns for the retail sector, but the leisure sector is a different area and it has held up very well in recent years.

“The HD One project is a mix of cafes, bars, restaurants and other attractions and we believe it will be good not only for Huddersfield and the rest of Kirklees but West Yorkshire and the wider region.

“People have compared it to the complex at Birstall but HD One will be bigger and will become the primary destination of choice for many, many people.

“I do not want to build up expectations but there has been interest from investors and now the shares agreement is sorted, we can progress things.

“People should not expect to see building work starting any time soon and they have to be patient, but this scheme will get off the ground.

“We are still talking to a number of people and the stadium company is determined to make it happen”.

Clr Khan said the process of returning the stadium shares to a 40/40/20 split between Huddersfield Town, Kirklees Council and Huddersfield Giants had felt drawn out.

“But all parties have worked hard to ensure that the spirit of the original agreement has been maintained, with both Ken Davy and Dean Hoyle deserving credit for the roles they have played.

“The fans of both clubs can now also look forward.

“With the share issue resolved, we can now concentrate on delivering HD One, with the stadium as a community asset at the heart of the plan and the prospects of hundreds of new jobs and significant investment into the local economy.”