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Bid for talks over future of former Keighley College complex
Top-level talks are being demanded over the future of a prime town centre site.
Civic bosses want an urgent meeting with Bradford Council leader Dave Green to thrash out potential uses for the derelict former Keighley College complex.
The two huge buildings have been empty since 2010.
Keighley Town Council is exploring the possibility of taking over the buildings under asset transfer or “community right to buy” legislation.
Suggested uses include a hotel, or bulldozing the North Street segment and turning it into a town centre park.
The hope, outlined this week by town council planning chairman Peter Corkindale, came as Bradford Council revealed its own progress in finding new uses for both buildings.
Bradford Council, which owns the buildings, is considering using the section that fronts on to Cavendish Street as a base for council services.
The future of the larger North Street section, which was put up for sale in January this year, is being assessed for uses that reflect the heritage of nearby historic buildings.
Coun Corkindale this week told the Keighley News that town mayor George Metcalf had called for a meeting with Bradford leader Coun Green.
Coun Corkindale said his colleagues wanted clarification about claims that a local businessman had a “definite offer” for the Cavendish Street building.
He said: “My information is that there’s someone in Keighley who wishes to buy it, but Bradford seems reluctant. We’re asking for top-level talks and we’re asking that they don’t drag their heels.
“I’m looking at any possibility that would bring the building back into use. This town is desperate for a decent hotel.”
Coun Corkindale said he understood the other building, in North Street, was in such a bad state of repair that bringing it back into use would cost too much.
He said: “We’ve asked them to pull them down, grass the area and hopefully give it to Keighley Town Council. It would be a nice place to sit and have your sandwiches.”
Coun Corkindale said he had asked town council special projects officer Alan Parry to look into whether control of the two college buildings could be transferred to the town council.
A Bradford Council spokesman said the former college buildings’ location in a conservation area had to be considered as part of any redevelopment proposals.
She said: “A council project team has been brought together to ensure any proposed future uses reflect the heritage of North Street, while also achieving the full potential of this prominent town centre site.
“As part of the council’s property rationalisation project the Cavendish Street building is being considered as a base from which to deliver council services, but no decision on this has yet been made.
“Should the council have no internal requirements the building will be marketed for disposal alongside the North Street block.”
College students and staff moved into the newly-built £35 million Keighley Campus of Leeds City College next to the railway station in 2010.
A year earlier extensive consultations had been carried out over potential new uses, which included a hotel, cinema, offices, car parking, conference centre and shops.