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