CASH is due to be released by Hambleton District Council to progress plans to create 38 acres of employment land in Leeming Bar.

District councillors are being asked to fund investigatory work to see if the conversion of the farmland close to the A1 is viable as business land.

Members of Hambleton’s cabinet are expected to sanction £43,500 to pay for this work when they meet on December 5.

The authority is currently preparing a new Local Plan which, alongside other proposals, will set out its economic growth plans to 2035.

To prevent the economy of the district stagnating and lagging behind from a regional and national level, the council is looking to provide employment land with the infrastructure needed to cope with growth needs of existing and new businesses.

Officers have been looking into whether the site at Leeming Bar – called Leeming Bar Aiskew Moor - could be developed.

Work already carried out on the scheme has included initial investigations of highways, services, ecology and landscape.

Deputy leader of the council, Councillor Peter Wilkinson, said keeping the area economically strong is a priority, but more work needs to be done to ensure Leeming Bar Aiskew Moor is suitable for development.

He said: “Initial investigations show there are no insurmountable constraints in going forward with this site, however we need to undertake some further studies to look at in more detail.

“We need to look at market demand, land valuations, highways, utilities and water issues before we make a final decision on the viability of this land.

“Economic vitality is a key strategic priority for the council and unlocking the growth potential through the development of this land will have economic benefits for the district.

“Leeming Bar is recognised as a key location for business and employment and will have a direct impact on the businesses that are already successfully trading there.”

Councillors will receive a further report on the business case for the implementation of the project once the investigations are complete.

The council first started work on its Local Development Plan in 2013 to set out how much land is needed for new homes and jobs over the next two decades.