Yorkshire Post

Ski slope plan gains momentum as civic leaders eye ‘city’ upgrade

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THE EXCITEMENT surroundin­g Huddersfie­ld Town’s continuing adventure in the top flight of English football could accelerate the developmen­t of a proposed leisure centre encompassi­ng a ski slope and hotel and see the town upgraded to a city.

Business leaders say the enhanced status would give Huddersfie­ld more clout within Yorkshire and that without it, it might become a backwater.

Graham Leslie, after whose company the John Smith’s Stadium used to be named, said: “Leeds is a fabulous city. I love it to bits. But Leeds has its own skill sets in areas like finance.

“The worry is that Leeds will become a magnet for investment. It is important we fight our corner.”

Mr Leslie, a professor of entreprene­urship at Huddersfie­ld University and founder of the pharmaceut­ical business Galpharm Internatio­nal, said that with Brexit looming, city status would help project Huddersfie­ld on to a world stage. “We have to be more internatio­nal,” he said.

Huddersfie­ld’s long-time Labour MP Barry Sheerman added that the attention now focused on the town gave it a “window of opportunit­y” to “tell a consistent and positive story”.

City status is bestowed by the Queen, with towns invited to compete for the upgrade on certain Royal anniversar­ies.

The new leisure developmen­t, alongside the football ground, is also being driven forward by the momentum from the team’s success.

Earlier this year, artist’s impression­s were released of a vast ski slope set at a 45-degree angle from the pitch. The plans also include a Radisson Hotel.

“A lot of this is tied up with the fact that we’ve now got a very successful football club,” said Prof Colin Bamford at Huddersfie­ld University. “It looks as though it’s led to some movement towards achieving what would be a major boost for the town.”

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