A COUNCIL looks set to press ahead with plans to help create jobs through a large-scale expansion of one the region’s leading business parks.

Hambleton District Council’s chief executive is expected to use his delegated authority during coronavirus restrictions to help develop land at Leeming Bar, near Bedale by launching negotiations with landowners to buy up to 30 hectares.

A report to a meeting of the authority states an established Leeming Bar business – which is not identified – needs up to nine hectares of land to develop and that the authority would work alongside the firm to bring employment land forward at Leeming Bar in line with the Local Plan.

Some Leeming Bar residents are opposing plans to expand the industrial estate, which includes frozen desserts giant R&R Ice Cream and Cawingredients, and there have been objections related to the soundness of the site being allocated in the Local Plan.

The council says working collaboratively with the firm would enable it to share some of the costs of developing the site and “protect the general amenity of Leeming Bar for the residents and wider community”.

The report states the council has held a meeting with the eight landowners of the site close to the A1(M) and all had confirmed interest in selling their land.

It states: “A key strategic priority in the Council Plan is driving economic vitality. Unlocking growth potential through the development of a strategic employment site at Leeming Bar will have a direct and positive impact on employment and business growth for the district.”

Leeming Bar ward member and leader of North Yorkshire County Council, Councillor Carl Les said it was inevitable that there will be pressure to develop sites for firms in areas close to motorway junctions.

He said: “I would much prefer to see the district council bringing forward a proposal for the expansion of the business park. What we need now if a well landscaped business park with ancillary businesses to the one that are there.”

Cllr Les said it was important that any development reflected the views of Leeming Bar residents and featured a buffer zone and action to ensure traffic does not negatively affect the village.

He suggested the district council would seek to encourage alternative transport means for workers on the expanded site by using the Wensleydale Railway to ferry people from Bedale or Northallerton.