THE two immediate reactions on learning of the impending closure of the Marks & Spencer store in Low Street were that this is another nail in the coffin of a depressing Keighley shopping centre – which seems to be escalating in a downward spiral of having little or nothing to offer in attracting shoppers or visitors to the town – and the opening verse of The Specials’ 1981 hit song Ghost Town: “This town is coming like a ghost town, all the clubs have been closed down, this place is coming like a ghost town, bands don’t play no more, too much fighting on the dance floor, do you remember the good old days before the ghost town?”

The general gist and embodiment of these words sum-up where the Keighley town centre is heading at breakneck speed.

Many buildings and footpaths on the high street and Church Green have been refurbished but there are still glaring eyesores that have been left untouched – the former Grapes/Gatehouse pub on the high street, The Star pub in North Street, the Victoria Hotel on the Cavendish Street/East Parade corner, along with other shops and buildings in urgent need of refurbishment and being occupied.

The overall impression of the town and its approaches is one of desolation and despair, which is further exemplified by a fast decreasing number of quality shops.

The few attractive and illustrious features of the town centre – the town hall/Town Hall Square, the library and the Shared Church area – are not going to attract visitors to a town devoid of decent and meritorious shops.

What chance has Keighley got to attract would-be developers and potential retailers to the East Parade area when the quality shops in the town’s centre are high-tailing out of town.

Is Keighley going down the same path as its overlords Bradford Met did in having a ‘derelict building site’ in its city centre for many years?

There are other reasons for the town’s demise and unless the Keighley council leaders are prepared to face up to them and do something, then the town’s future is one of degeneration.

The final line of The Specials’ song is very apt and felicitous – “do you remember the good old days before the ghost town?”!

DAVID INGHAM Oakworth Road Keighley