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Work on a plan to safeguard Keighley’s heritage is entering the final stages
3:50pm Saturday 24th August 2013 in News
Work on a plan to safeguard Keighley’s heritage for generations to come is entering the final stages, as Bradford Council draws up its latest Conservation Area Assessment.
Due to be finalised in the next few months, the document will highlight which buildings will be protected from development and where work needs to be done to improve the town’s heritage.
The last time the council studied the town conservation area was in 2007, but changes during the past seven years meant an update was needed.
In that time, the area’s biggest building, the former Keighley College in North Street/Cavendish Street, has been vacated, the former police station turned into the town’s civic centre and the council has been granted millions of pounds in lottery money for restoration works.
The conservation area runs from the Picture House building in North Street to Church Street. The designation is designed to help “preserve and enhance” buildings in this area and their original features.
Last week, people had their last chance to comment on the latest draft of the conservation area at a council-led workshop before it is finalised and approved by the authority.
Although the draft does not see the area’s borders change, it does reinforce the existing area and underlines the dangers of letting important buildings deteriorate.
The authority was recently given a £2.7 million grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund to improve buildings in its conservation area, and after a number of projects, including the civic centre and improving the North Street arcade, still has £1.5 million left.
The latest organisation to ask for a share of the pot is the Volunteer Centre in North Street, which has applied for money to help turn its frontage into something that more accurately reflects the heritage of North Street, including a completely new, Victorian-styled shop front.
Sue Oakley, Keighley Townscape Heritage officer, said the response from businesses and homeowners within the area had so far been positive.
She added: “A lot of the original shop fronts along North Street are missing – there has been a bit of gradual deterioration since 2007. A lot of buildings haven’t been touched or improved in years.
“The big change since 2007 is we now have money to help improve the area. People seem very enthusiastic, and a lot of businesses have been helping by doing work that doesn’t need money, like painting window frames.”
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