KEIGHLEY'S Civic centre will "definitely not" once again function as a police station when the town's existing station is sold off, according to the town's MP.

John Grogan confirmed this while at the latest full meeting of Keighley Town Council. He delivered a wide-ranging address to councillors in the town hall last Thursday. (Sept 28)

His speech also updated councillors on the importance of Keighley having a thriving town centre.

Focusing on what will happen to policing once the town's current station in Royd Ings Road is closed and sold, he said the police would not be returning to their former station in North Street, which is now the town council-owed Keighley Civic Centre.

He said the police were exploring options for relocating to a different location in the centre of the town, adding that he wanted to see this long-running issue resolved within the next six months.

Reacting to Mr Grogan's police station comments, Cllr John Kirby said when he had asked Keighley's police inspector about the matter, he was told that in future Keighley would have a police station manned by 75 officers and staff.

But Cllr Kirby said: "I'm worried that what will happen is we'll get another station, but in five to 10 years time that will disappear as well."

Mr Grogan replied: "I believe the police do have a commitment to Keighley.

"There has been a clear promise from the West Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner that there will be a police station in Keighley, and there's no indication that this promise won't be kept.

"But I can understand that until it happens there's always going to be a doubt in people's minds."

Responding after the meeting, Mark Burns-Williamson, West Yorkshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner, said: “I know there's been concerns over the future police presence in Keighley.

"I want to reassure Keighley people that the level of policing will not reduce. Public safety is an absolute priority for myself and West Yorkshire Police, and all decisions taken are done so with the safety of our communities in mind.

“The Estates department of West Yorkshire Police are locating and assessing sites for a future police station in Keighley. In the meantime there will continue to be a police station in Keighley and no reduction in the level of policing.”

While speaking to town councillors last Thursday, Mr Grogan emphasised the need to boost what is on offer for shoppers in the town centre.

He said: "You'll all be aware of proposals for the East Parade area that always seem to be just over the horizon. [the planned Aire Valley Retail Park].

"And then there's the Royal Arcade, which I've only just been into since I was elected, and which is a hidden gem that could be the bridge between a new shopping centre in East Parade and the existing shopping centre. Keighley should be proud of its Royal Arcade."

He praised the town council for "taking up the slack" in the face of Bradford Council cutbacks.

But he spoke against the idea of Keighley becoming independent from Bradford Council's control.

"I know Keighley and Bradford don't always see eye to eye, but I'm more interested in giving Keighley a higher profile now than in campaigning for what would be a costly reorganisation of local government," he said.

"I want to get a better deal for Keighley here and now, rather than rest my hopes on some reorganisation way down the line."