Local MP Robbie Moore has spoken of his delight as a major £33.6m Town Deal is announced for Keighley.
The government had previously announced that Keighley would receive up to £25 million from the scheme. However, following the strength of the proposals put forward, and lobbying by Keighley’s MP Robbie Moore, the government has approved a deal worth £33.6 million.
The Town’s Fund Deal aims to help Keighley build back better as we begin our journey to recovery from COVID-19.
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, alongside local MP Robbie Moore, former Keighley Town Mayor, Cllr. Peter Corkindale and other local representatives.
The £33m 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 also contribute funds towards a new Keighley Health and Wellbeing Centre to improve local healthcare services – but local MP Robbie Moore has warned it must be built on a brownfield site, and not on precious green open spaces.
A £15m Development Investment Fund will also be established to bring brownfield sites back into use, creating new spaces for businesses to grow, as well as space for new start-ups. Public transport infrastructure will also be upgraded to provide better and more reliable services, including real time bus information, alongside new town centre improvements – including the regeneration of Low Street, improvements to Church Yard and Albert Yard, and a major tree planting programme across Keighley.
Community groups will also 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.
Keighley’s MP, Robbie Moore, has spoken of his delight following the announcement. Commenting, Robbie said: “This has been a huge team effort and I am delighted with today's result. Since we submitted our bid to the government, I have been constantly lobbying hard in Westminster to secure the best deal for our town, so I am delighted with today’s news.
“We in Keighley have been forgotten and ignored for too long and this Towns Fund, delivered by our Conservative government will be a key stepping stone in helping us transform our community. The projects will help deliver transformational change for Keighley, creating opportunities and driving forward economic growth. As we begin our recovery from COVID-19, this huge £33.6m boost will help our town deliver more jobs, better education and healthcare, improve public transport and much more.
“I am really excited about what this means for our town, and I am so pleased that after having lobbied hard in Westminster to make the case that our town needed more than the original £25 million, the government has listened.”