SWEEPING plans put forward to make Keighley town centre more 'pedestrian friendly' have been slammed as "unworkable".

Under the ambitious scheme, large amounts of traffic would be removed from Cavendish Street – which, it is suggested, could even be completely pedestrianised.

And some side roads leading into North Street may be blocked off to vehicles.

The creation of a so-called core walking zone is part of proposals aimed at encouraging more people to make shorter journeys by bike or on foot, improving their mental and physical health and cutting carbon emissions.

But community leaders have voiced concerns.

"The motivation behind the idea might be fine but in practical terms it's just unworkable," said Keighley's town mayor, Councillor Peter Corkindale.

"Cavendish Street provides vehicular access into the bus station, Hanover Street, a retail park and Sainsbury's supermarket – so how is that going to work?

"And pedestrianisation would just force traffic elsewhere. Congestion in North Street is already horrendous.

"This seems to have been thought-up by someone without any knowledge of the town centre.

"I'm all for creating pedestrian-friendly areas, but you can't simply prohibit traffic without looking at all the practical implications.

"This idea needs an awful lot more work before it can start to move forward."

The proposals will be discussed at a meeting tomorrow of West Yorkshire Combined Authority’s transport committee.

Paul Howard, manager of Keighley Business Improvement District, said the plan included "some interesting concepts" but that much more detail was required.

"We would need to see further information and speak to businesses," he added.

"We don't want to ban vehicles from coming into the town centre. A balance needs to be struck between vehicular access and pedestrian provision.

"One thing we do desperately need is improvements to the pavements in Cavendish Street. They are very worn."

As well as reducing or removing traffic in Cavendish Street and restricting vehicular access to some side roads off North Street, other proposals include improved pedestrian crossing facilities around the Cavendish Street/Bradford Road junction and more finger-post signage.

Costings for a number of the measures are still to be determined.

The combined authority's transport committee will be asked to endorse the draft plans, together with a proposed new cycleway in Bradford and similar schemes in other parts of West Yorkshire.

Councillor Kim Groves, the committee chairman, said: "We know that making active travel an attractive option is an important factor in achieving our ambition of tackling climate change and supporting people’s physical and mental health.

"These proposals to extend opportunities for people to enjoy safe and sustainable journeys, contained in the Local Cycling and Walking Infrastructure Plans, build on the significant progress that has already been made through our CityConnect programme.

"The development process has been designed to ensure the plans can be tailored to meet people’s specific local needs as well as being suitable to their local environments."