A COUNCILLOR warned that what he describes as a lack of a long-term vision for Keighley means the town could miss out on future investment opportunities.

Khadim Hussain, a Keighley Central ward councillor who sits on Bradford Council's Regeneration and Economy Overview and Scrutiny Committee, said he was not satisfied with answers given to him when he asked what strategy exists for Keighley.

He was commenting following a meeting of the committee last Tuesday. (Dec 19)

“I've strong concerns that nothing concrete is being put forward," he said.

“We need to have a strategic plan for business development and infrastructure to create jobs.

“I do support Bradford’s leadership, but I’m not impressed by the answers I’ve been given so far. We can’t just be firefighting and we can’t stick with the status quo.

“We need to be able to say what our vision is for the next 30 years and even beyond that.

“I know we’re tinkering with traffic management in Keighley town centre but that by itself isn’t enough. We need to be looking at having better through transport links as well.

“If infrastructure isn’t improved Bradford will be strangled and Keighley will die. Even now businesses in Keighley are struggling.”

Cllr Hussain said Keighley needs to have a comprehensive “wish list” in place to reap the benefits of any funding windfall made available in future by a devolution deal for Yorkshire.

He also said the town centre must be protected against any potential loss of trade if and when the long delayed East Parade shopping centre becomes a reality.

He added: “Early last year I called a meeting of businesses which was held at the Keighley College Campus.

“About 50 people attended and highlighted concerns about lack of provision for expanding businesses in Keighley.

“A wish list was put together back then, but nearly two years on there has been no progress.

“Keighley is a big chunk of Bradford Council, but there does not seem to be any vision or strategic thinking for the town.”

Cllr Alex Ross-Shaw, Bradford Council's portfolio holder for regeneration, planning and transport, responded: "I said at the committee meeting that you can't have a successful Bradford District without a successful Keighley at its heart.

"Keighley has a number of hugely successful businesses competing on a global level, we should celebrate and promote that.

"We'll be launching our Economic Growth Strategy in the New Year and have held a number of events in Keighley to talk to businesses about their needs and concerns.

"Keighley is an integral part of the future success of the district and the strategy fully reflects that.

"In the meantime we're investing millions improving traffic flows in Keighley from the Hard Ings road improvement to the new dedicated left turn on North Street, and we continue to look for funding to deliver further works where possible."

Keighley West Cllr Adrian Farley, chairman of the Regeneration and Economy Overview and Scrutiny Committee committee, said: "This is the third year that we've had this Keighley themed scrutiny review, and it was based on comments we received last year.

"We did ask what members wanted to see included in the report, but as far as I'm aware Cllr Khadim Hussain did not really make any contributions."