Work on a one-way system aimed at easing Keighley town centre’s chronic traffic congestion WILL start next year.

The top-level pledge was given exclusively to the Keighley News this week following concerns that the jam-busting project could be forced off the road.

Highways boss Val Slater has confirmed that Bradford Council has ring-fenced the budget for the £1.5 million initiative.

She admitted there had been complications with the plans to create a one-way triangle in Hanover Street, Cavendish Street and East Parade.

But she said the council’s highways engineers were currently drawing up blueprints ready for public consultation.

Coun Slater spoke to the Keighley News after concerns were raised about the scheme at Keighley Town Centre Association. District councillor Andrew Mallinson said he was “absolutely appalled” at the lack of information coming from Bradford Council.

He said. “I’ve heard of no meetings, no discussions, and the project seems to be completely derailed.

“What we need is clarity. This scheme could bring huge benefits, but if it’s done wrong it will be a nightmare for the town.”

Coun Slater, who is responsible for transport and planning on Bradford’s ruling executive, this week told us: “We’ve certainly got the money. We are aiming to start in 2015.

“The next thing will be to come out and consult people, especially businesses who are going to be affected.

“The situation is very complicated because it’s very much tied in with other schemes.”

Some funding for the one-way scheme is due to come from the company behind plans to build the Worth Valley Shopping Centre in East Parade. The site has been prepared for construction but no start date has been announced.

The one-way system will also tie in with plans to turn Hard Ings Road into a dual carriageway, once government approval is given.

Coun Slater said that although the Hard Ings Road scheme would be constructed the year after the one-way system, highways engineers would design them in tandem.

She said preparation work on all of Bradford’s major schemes have been affected by a reduction in highways engineers caused by government spending cuts.

Steve Seymour, chairman of Keighley Town Centre Association and manager of the Airedale Shopping Centre, said association members were looking forward to hearing a date for the consultation.

He added: “We’ve offered to put the information in the shopping centre, with a shop window display and space on the mall for council officers to talk to people.”