AS a resident of Keighley, and therefore also Bradford Metropolitan District, I wish to express my views about the proposed use of the land available following the demolition of the old Keighley College building.

Since the demolition, and subsequent flattening and grassing of the site, the result is the creation of a large green space that has – in my opinion – delivered a hugely positive impact at many levels.

This green area next to busy roads and in a town centre is not only attractive in its own right, but it has also created a space ‘to breathe’ by creating a gap with which to appreciate both buildings around it and also long-distance views - travelling northwards along North Street I notice how beautiful the hills in the background appear and have never been seen from town before.

This green area – potentially a park with seating, plants, water feature and trees, creating beautiful views and space and recreation for children and adults – can only have positive impacts on the mental wellbeing of Keighley residents and visitors alike.

It will also help to bring communities together. Look at the tremendous success of Bradford’s water park as an example of how a space for all to enjoy has brought enjoyment and togetherness for so many. Also, with the recent focus on poor air quality both locally and nationally, this space if developed further as a park rather than a one-stop hub, will help to counteract some of the carbon dioxide created by heavy vehicle use, in turn leading to physical health gains. Further physical health gains could be made if part of the green space development included activity-based equipment as part of it.

Potentially, the closure of Lord Street to vehicles by pedestrianising it could also help in making this a safe and open space for people whilst also bringing together disparate parts of the town by connecting Central Hall, Shan’s supermarket, the Catholic Centre, Wetherspoon’s and Skipton Road (as well as Devonshire Park and Cliffe Castle) with the town centre and bus station in a way never before achieved.

I acknowledge that a single central hub would have economic benefits to Keighley town centre and make people’s journeys to essential services easier and I support the idea of one, but surely there must be existing buildings that could have investment to make them suitable?

Utilising existing empty buildings is a more sustainable solution, making better economic sense and by so doing helping establish a fantastic green space that will serve the community well. Once having visited the hub, families could then spend time in the green space which whilst it had not originally been envisaged, will be a fantastic unforeseen bonus ultimately bringing great rewards and positive outcomes.

In summary, the green space will bring improvements in mental and physical health, air quality, community cohesion, trade and tourism, as well as a sense of pride and wellbeing. All these would be welcomed by potential hub workers (as well as clients) so effectively it’s a ‘win/win’ solution.

All that needs to happen is investment in suitable existing buildings in Keighley town centre and utilisation of savings by doing this to be put into the development of a park that will be the envy of all other towns in Bradford district and West Yorkshire.

DEREK SIMMONDS Grafton Road Keighley