Business scheme has created jobs and cut crime

Langthwaite Business Park
Langthwaite Business Park

A business association hopes to renew a scheme which has provided hundreds of jobs and helped to reduce crime.

Langthwaite Business Association wants the park, in South Kirkby, to continue to have Business Improvement District (BID) status.

The status means businesses at Langthwaite pay a levy to fund projects and development at the park.

In the past five years, the scheme has brought in £1m of funding, which has helped to attract new businesses and reduce criminal activity.

Coun Denise Jeffery, cabinet member for economic growth and skills at Wakefield Council, which this week supported the renewal, said: “We have seen the positive employment and economic benefits the BID has brought to the south east of Wakefield over the last five years.

“It has encouraged existing businesses to expand and attracted many new enterprises to the park - 700 more jobs and 40 more businesses. The BID has and is contributing to our long term plans to regenerate the district.”

Around 300 crimes and incidents of anti-social behaviour were reported at the park every year before the BID was introduced. But this has now fallen to just ten.

Malcolm Dufton, chair of the business association, said: “In 2011 Langthwaite was a declining industrial area, a target for theft, burglary, and drug dealing, an area littered with debris, muddy verges and road hazards.

“Today there is significant new investment in Langthwaite both by those new to the area and others that are already operating on the park who have decided to develop and grow their presence here.

“Crime is at an all-time low, roads are gritted in winter and the overall feel of the park is of a cleaner, greener and more dynamic place.”

The Langthwaite Business Park is made up of around 57 hectares of industrial, warehousing and office space.

The park is home to around 120 companies and currently employs around 1,400 people.

Coun Steve Tulley, of the South Elmsall and South Kirkby ward said: “Langthwaite is a successful business park and it employs a lot of people in our area, so long may it continue.

“We welcome it because it brings both jobs and investment to South Kirkby.

“But it is a business park used by many vehicles and heavy industrial lorries are coming through small communities. That is what I think we need to try to improve in the long term if the scheme is renewed.”

Langthwaite businesses vote on whether the BID status is renewed next month.