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Rival Keighley shops boss backs stores bid
The planned Worth Valley Shopping Centre will be good for Keighley... according to the boss of the town’s rival retail complex!
Airedale Shopping Centre manager, Steve Seymour, believes the two centres will benefit each other.
And he revealed major retailers are interested in opening shops on both sites as the economy improves.
He said: “There’s a lot of interest in Keighley – it’s a town on the up, as far as we’re concerned.”
Mr Seymour spoke as the company behind the £30 million Worth Valley Shopping Centre in East Parade outlined progress on the project.
The Keighley News revealed last week the developer – Stainsby Grange – was close to signing deals with two national retailers.
Once the flagship store chains are on board, other retailers are expected to quickly follow suit and building work will start.
When the Worth Valley scheme was first proposed in 2011, the Airedale Shopping Centre’s then owners objected because they felt it was a retail park that would suck shoppers away from the existing town centre.
Mr Seymour said he now supported the plans because they had been changed to include a cinema and well-known restaurant chains.
He added: “If we can bring leisure and national food retailers to the town, then it can only be positive.
“It will add assets the town doesn’t have. People currently have to go to Bradford and Leeds. It will bring more shoppers to Keighley for longer.”
Mr Seymour said he knew from his own contacts in the retail industry national companies are looking at opening branches in Keighley.
He added: “From what we’re seeing, the interest is very positive. The marketplace is improving, but it’s not improving as quickly as we want.”
The Airedale Shopping Centre has its own long-term plans for development, extending three existing shop units – between Argos and Game – into the former Laycock’s mill building that runs parallel with North Street.
Mr Seymour said: “We have planning consent for three large units. If we can get retail interest, that’s something we would look to develop.”
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