A NEW business park started in Dewsbury is set to underpin economic and business development in Kirklees, it is claimed.
The Bretton Business Park at Mill Street East, Dewsbury, is being created at a cost of £5.4m at the site of a former gas works.
The first phase, due for completion in autumn 2005, includes the addition of six new business units to Bretton Street Enterprise Centre.
Alison Biddulph, director of the European Secretariat of the Government Office for Yorkshire and Humber
welcomed the European Commission's investment of £1.2m in the new development from its Objective 2 programme.
She said: "This is excellent news for the region.
"This site is set to underpin economic and business development in Kirklees by introducing much-needed facilities for small and medium sized enterprises and starter units for fledgling businesses.
"The transformation of brownfield land such as this into valuable business space, creating jobs and new business opportunities, is one of the key priorities of the region's Objective 2 programme."
Another key priority was the need to improve the region's new business `birth rate', and help existing small and medium-sized companies grow and adapt.
"This new business development will make a significant contribution on all these fronts."
The Bretton Business Park site is the largest brownfield site in Kirklees. It has stood derelict for 10 years.
Kirklees Council and developers PPG Land and Clugston Estates are partners in the project.
The £1.2m funding is only the latest investment to be made in this area of business support activity under Objective 2.
European funding has already helped prepare the ground for Bradley Road Business Park in Huddersfield.
This has improved road access for a new knowledge-based industry park aimed at encouraging high-tech business development.
And in July last year, funding of £112,000 was announced to allow the Ray Street Centre community and economic development project to refurbish Ray Street Enterprise centre in Huddersfield to create business and training space.