KIRKLEES is at risk of losing companies unless more land is provided for development, business leaders were told yesterday.
A Kirklees Council official said several firms would be forced to move out of the town - to South Yorkshire or further afield - if more industrial land was not provided.
Roland Sampson, the council's investment property manager, said the need to meet demand for industrial land was behind ambitious regeneration plans to transform the Leeds Road corridor.
Mr Sampson outlined plans for the so-called Kirklees Strategic Economic Zone to members of the Kirklees area council of the Mid Yorkshire Chamber of Commerce.
But he warned work to open up almost 50 acres of land to industry - and carry out road improvements to cope with a projected rise in traffic - would mean disruption for residents and businesses.
Major road works costing £18m would include a £9m scheme to turn Leeds Road at Cooper Bridge into a "gyratory" to prevent worsening traffic congestion.
Smaller schemes are also proposed to improve Leeds Road between Huddersfield ring road and Cooper Bridge, including ones at its junctions with Bradley Mills Road, Whitacre Street and Hillhouse Lane.
Mr Sampson said some journey times would improve as a result of the work - which would take about three years in total.
The Kirklees Economic Zone aimed to attract £100m of investment and create 5,000 jobs between now and 2014 - to add to the 8,000 jobs already based in the Leeds Road corridor.
Mr Sampson said: "Without this programme, there are risks that companies will move from Kirklees for reasons including lack of land.
"If that happens, there will be more people commuting to work outside the district."