REGARDING David Archer’s letter – Imaginative idea (Keighley News, January 25) – and others, I would like to add my voice to theirs in calling for a serious re-thinking of what to do with the now-vacant site where the former Mechanics’ Institute and Boys’ Grammar School once proudly stood.

You Keighley News staff members look out of your office windows onto what is now an empty space. I doubt very much that you don’t have a view on what should happen next?

Over the last few years, you have been kind enough to print a number of my letters opposing the demolition of those buildings.

I believed strongly that something useful could have been made of them, something that would have enhanced Keighley town centre – historically, culturally, aesthetically and practically.

But that is done with. Now they are gone and we are faced with a new situation. How many of us feel that unnecessary expenditure on a needless, ugly new building is not what Keighley needs, neither now nor in the future?

Several people have written recently arguing the advantages of allowing the place to remain open, encouraging a greater spatial sense of the town in relation to the landscape that surrounds it.

In ancient Greece and Rome, as the idea of the urban centre developed, the inclusion of squares was considered important – areas not built on, places for congregation.

In Renaissance Italy, the idea was redeveloped, but then throughout the Medieval period town builders had retained the idea of an open piazza, almost invariably near to the town hall and other important civic buildings.

Is Keighley to be deprived of this noble tradition by having a ‘hub’ building and a roundabout imposed on it by Bradford councillors, people who apparently never come to Keighley unless they have to?

A roundabout at the junction of North Street and Cavendish Street would only increase the town’s traffic problems. Only a simple system of bypasses could solve that problem. And whatever services are proposed to be included in a ‘hub’ building could be more elegantly located nearby, and at much less expense.

So, bravo Mr Archer and others who think as you do, that Keighley would benefit from an open, spacious centre. The town has a fair number of vacant lots; why not make a good job of this one?

I would just add a further problem about the site that lingers in my mind. A few years ago, Ian Dewhirst wrote of the virtues of the Ritz cinema on the corner of Alice Street and Lord Street.

He wrote of how unusual it is to have an ‘art deco’ building of any quality, in this part of the country especially.

He wrote also of how many millions of bricks were required. Unfortunately, these have now been exposed by the demolitions.

However daring and clever the architects were, I assume they didn’t plan on the nether regions being rendered naked.

It is the architectural equivalent of a 1920s socialite having a strong wind take her unawares from behind.

If the space were to remain open, perhaps a few new strategic windows could be inserted in the style of the period, plus a number of tall trees to cover the embarrassment of that huge slab of brickwork.

Or, build a new building, so that Lord Street can return to its former back-street oblivion?

CHRISTOPHER ACKROYD Bethel Street East Morton