NOBODY has yet signed up to Keighley’s planned multi-million pound shopping complex despite six months of marketing.

The company promoting the site admits no retailers have formally agreed to take on one of the planned units at the Aire Valley Retail Park.

A glossy marketing brochure on several property websites, setting out proposals for seven shops and a drive-through food outlet, has so far not enticed companies to enter into contracts.

Property consultants WSB said it had to sign up a number of retailers before it submitted a planning application to Bradford Council.

WSB partner Adam Mobley this week told the Keighley News that it hoped to divulge more information in October or November.

The company, acting for property giant UandI, which bought the site last year, has previously spoken of submitting a planning application by the end of the year and shops ready to open in early 2019.

News of the project’s lack of progress was this week greeted with dismay by existing East Parade traders.

Nathan Parkinson, who works at Wellbeing Lounge, said: “A shopping centre across the road would draw a few punters to us, but I can’t see it happening in the next 10 or 15 years.”

Louise Fyffe, who runs the Blue Ginger boutique in nearby Royal Arcade, said Keighley had a lot more potential than many towns where most shops had closed.

But she asked: “If they’ve not got anyone signed up yet, is the site going to sit there for more years?”

Despite the gloomy outlook amongst traders, local politicians and business leaders are still hopeful that building work will eventually start.

Keighley MP John Grogan, who recently discussed the project with both the developers and Bradford Council chiefs, said: “I sense the developers have recently increased their level of marketing for the site.

“I suspect in the next few months we should have a clearer idea of what is on offer, if it is viable and what impact it might have on the rest of the town centre.

Cavendish Street shopkeeper Graham Benn, chairman of Keighley Business Improvement District, said: “Something has to be done with the site so let’s hope this project is successful. We don’t want a big empty space at the end of the town.”

Cllr Adrian Farley, chairman of Bradford Council’s Regeneration and Economy Scrutiny Committee, said he understood why the owners could not begin construction work due to economic uncertainty, unstable markets and the fallout from Brexit.

He added: “I hope it’s successful because Keighley absolutely needs this. We have to drive the economy in Keighley forward and bring confidence back to the town.”

Cllr Khadim Hussain, whose Keighley Central ward includes the East Parade site, said: “Let’s hope companies see the huge potential in Keighley and realise the sooner they come into town in the better for them.”