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First major stores to sign contract for town’s Worth Valley retail park
Flagship stores for Keighley’s planned £30 million Worth Valley Shopping Centre could be named within weeks.
Stainsby Grange, the company behind the scheme, is close to signing contracts with two major national retailers. Once these chain stores agree terms, several smaller retailers – already in talks – are expected to follow suit.
Stainsby Grange spokesman David Williams said following these deals, the project will move forward “very quickly”.
He added: “These two retailers are the catalysts, and the others will follow. They all want to trade with each other.”
Stainsby Grange plans to build 14 units on the East Parade site, including what will become some of the town’s biggest stores.
Cineworld has agreed to run a nine-screen cinema, and there will also be several restaurants and a 350-space car park.
Stainsby Grange has spent much of this year negotiating with potential tenants of the 145,000 sq ft complex.
Mr Williams said: “Reaction to the scheme from retailers has been a lot more positive during the past six months, and they have been a lot more open to discussions.
“We have a couple of the major retail names who are now well down the line. We’re almost ready to go public with those two names.
“If we get them to the point where contracts are exchanged, then other retailers will come on board.”
Mr Williams said some retailers wanted a presence in both Keighley and Bradford, but had been waiting to decide how much space to take in Bradford’s long-delayed Westfield shopping centre.
He added the land earmarked for the Worth Valley centre was “almost ready to go”, following several months of demolition work on existing mills and industrial units.
Stainsby Grange spent eight years assembling the five-acre site – which is bordered by East Parade, Gresley Road, Coney Lane and the River Worth – by buying land from nine different owners.
The company first announced its plans for the shopping centre in September 2011, and successfully applied for planning permission from Bradford Council in July last year.
Work was originally planned to start this year and last 18 months, but the company revealed in January it had been forced to postpone construction until this autumn due to delays buying all the necessary land.
Keighley MP Kris Hopkins said was delighted when the Worth Valley Shopping Centre plans were first announced, and he remains positive about its prospects.
He added: “It is a very significant investment – it will bring hundreds of jobs to the area.”
Councillor Abid Hussain, whose Keighley Central Ward includes the shopping centre site, said the project would be good boost for the town.
He added: “The Keighley community is travelling to Bradford, Manchester or Leeds to shop. People will instead come to our town.”