One of Dewsbury’s major eyesores is to be transformed into a new college building – eight years later than planned.
The former Safeway site off Commercial Road is set to become a new campus for Kirklees College.
Councillors unanimously agreed to let college chiefs go-ahead with their proposal to build a new facility in the town.
The green light is a relief for both the college and the council after years of delays.
Kirklees bought the 2.44 acre plot in 2008 for a reputed £3m with the aim of fast-tracking the scheme for the college.
But it fell apart after college chiefs failed to secure the funding needed to proceed with the scheme – leaving Kirklees with the land and no tenant.
The site, next to Lidl, is part of the ambitious scheme to create the ‘Dewsbury Learning Quarter’ and expand college places.
Kirklees College is also proposing to revamp the 19th century Pioneer House building nearby – thanks to more than £4m in grants.
College vice-principal, Melanie Brooke, told Kirklees Council’s Strategic Planning Committee that the new premises would “really improve the perception and experience” of hundreds of 16-18 year old students.
She added: “We hope our project will play a role in the wider regeneration of Dewsbury.”
Dewsbury East Labour councillor Paul Kane said it was an “exciting development” and added: “For so long that piece of land has been left derelict. It’s about time it was regenerated.”
Cleckheaton Liberal Democrat councillor Andrew Pinnock declared it an “important development” and said that Kirklees College had a “brilliant objective of providing a very good learning environment.”
The development of the two sites will allow about 1,000 students to be relocated from the current campus further up Halifax Road, with room for expansion.
Ms Brooke told councillors that a “significant rise” in the number of school leavers was expected over the next 10 years.