ENGINEERING company bosses were celebrating after their plans for a cutting-edge research centre were approved.
Kirklees Council Planning and Highways Committee yesterday granted permission for David Brown Gears to build a Centre For Excellence and wind engineering research facility off Leeds Road, at Mirfield.
The plan was approved unanimously by a panel of councillors at Dewsbury Town Hall.
The centre, which is expected to create up to 150 jobs, will be used to develop offshore wind turbines and other innovations.
The Centre for Excellence will also be used as a training and educational facility.
Browns had stated that its current base at Lockwood Park had limited the scope of the company’s projects.
But now the company will be able to work on a major project developing wind turbines for a company in the Far East.
Some 270 of the firm’s 450 current employees will be moved to the new facility, while 180 will stay at Lockwood Park.
The firm has agreed to make improvements to Leeds Road as part of the application.
Neighbours and Mirfield Town Councillors had expressed concern that the plant would create noise and traffic problems.
Others said they were worried that the site would end up being used for storage and distribution, thereby cutting the number of jobs.
But councillors were satisfied that neighbours off Slipper Lane would be adequately shielded from the centre and that the centre would remain a research facility for at least 25 years.
Approving the application, panel member Clr Adrian Murphy commented: "No conceivable position could work with the situation at the Lockwood Park Works. It must be very hard to work there with all the limitations."
Welcoming the decision Browns director Wayne Ball said: "We are delighted that planning permission has been granted for our new facility in Mirfield.
"Since our foundation in Huddersfield more than 150 years ago, David Brown has become an integral part of the local landscape and community.
"Given the current global economic challenges we have a crucial business need to move to new premises that will help us accommodate both the future growth plans and ensure we deliver the efficiencies necessary to safeguard our future in the UK.
"Now part of a global organisation, we are still committed to developing David Brown in the region and are working hard to build and re-position ourselves to ensure a stronger future in a growing and competitive global market place.
"The new facility will provide specialist research, development and manufacturing capabilities and enable a step-change in productivity and operational effectiveness for David Brown. This is the only site available within Kirklees that is able to meet our exacting requirements and we are very much looking forward to working with and becoming part of the local Mirfield community."