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Thursday, July 25, 2024

Public to be asked how to spend £20m to improve Keighley

Keighley residents are being asked to have their say on how £20m should be spent on the town over the next decade – with dozens already giving their opinion.

Much needed refurbishments of two derelict town mills, improvements to Devonshire Park, new town centre events and the creation of a new Market Square are amongst the projects suggested in the consultation.

Keighley was one of 75 places around the UK selected to share £1.1billion over the next ten years as part of the Long-Term Plan for Towns scheme, from the Government’s Levelling Up programme.

The award is in addition to the £33.6m previously granted in 2021 through the Towns Fund. The Keighley Town Board has been set up to oversee both streams of funding and will develop a long-term plan for the Keighley and surrounding ‘Brontë Country’ area.

A new consultation that runs until 21 July asks people where they think the money should be focused.

One of the more eye-catching proposals is relocating the town’s market hall. The consultation says: “A potential project is to relocate the existing market hall to occupy a more central location in Keighley town centre and create a new Market Square.

“The market hall offer could be broadened to provide new food and beverage outlets, new start-up spaces for entrepreneurs and maker/creative spaces.”

This suggestion has received a mixed response from consultees so far. One response said:  “I like the idea of making it more central and linked to shopping centre, with space for makers shops, event and artistic spaces, a brighter & funkier look.”

But another said: “What’s the obsession with more food and beverage outlets? If you mean better food and beverage outlets then fair enough but if you just mean to add to the plethora of takeaways already here then no.”

Refurbishing two of the town’s derelict mills, Dalton Mill and Low Mill, is also suggested in the consultation, with residents asked if some of the £20m should be used to save these at risk buildings.

One respondent says: “Yes. Big, bold creative and innovative plans that will lift Keighley on par with Saltaire or Halifax Piece Hall.”

Another said: “A nice idea but would take up most of our £20m.”

Other suggestions include improving Devonshire Park – one of Keighley’s town centre green spaces. The consultation says the money could be used to “it feel safer, improving the sports equipment and play area with better lighting.”

Suggestions put forward by members of the public include lobbying Marks & Spencer to open a Simply Food store in the town and making improvements to Victoria Hall.

Chair of the Keighley Town Board Tim Rogers said: “My vision is to use this multi-million pound investment from the public purse to create an environment where the private sector can see a sustainable return on any investment – allowing Keighley to realise its potential in economy, skills, heritage, creativity and transport aspirations.”

To have your say on the plans, visit bit.ly/keighley-long-term-plan

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