On 8 June we received confirmation from the government that Keighley will receive £33.6m as part of our Town Deal from our Conservative government to make Keighley an even better place to live as we recover from the COVID-19 pandemic.
Keighley has been forgotten and ignored for too long - no more. This Town Deal is a major stepping stone in helping us transform our community.
The bid submitted to government was put together last autumn and winter by the Keighley Towns Fund Board. The board was chaired by local businessman Ian Hayfield of Hayfield Robinson, with Keighley College Principal Steve Kelly acting as Vice Chair. I was delighted to sit on the board too, and I want to thank them both for their fantastic work in helping to get this project off the ground.
Since we submitted the bid, I have been constantly lobbying hard in Westminster to secure the best deal for our town, so I am delighted with recent announcement.
I've summarised the key aspects of the Deal below, and you can watch my video that explains all by clicking above.
Skills and Jobs
The £33.6m Town Deal will fund the creation of a new Manufacturing, Engineering and Future Technology Hub to specialise in training local people in critical manufacturing and engineering skills, to help create more local jobs.
A new Skills Hub will also be established, delivering training in digital, communication and personal development skills.
The government funding will contribute towards a new Keighley Health and Wellbeing Centre to improve local healthcare services and cut waiting times.
I have, however, reiterated my view to both the government and Bradford Council that this must be built on a brownfield site, not on our precious green open spaces.
The Town Deal includes the regeneration of Low Street, improvements to Church and Albert Yards, as well as a major tree planting programme.
Public transport infrastructure will also be upgraded to provide better and more reliable services, including real time bus information.
Culture and Community
Community groups will benefit through a new Community Grant Scheme specifically for Keighley and parts of the Worth Valley to help smaller community projects get a share of the funds. A new Keighley Creative Art Hub has also been secured, alongside the development of Keighley Art and Film Festival.
A £15m Development Investment Fund will be established to bring brownfield sites back into use, creating new spaces for businesses to grow, as well as space for new start-ups.
I am really excited for what this means for our town, having lobbied the government in Westminster I am pleased we have secured vital investment. This is just the start of the journey as we recover from the pandemic, but will ensure we can build back better.