A SCHEME that will bring a long-derelict Keighley “dumping ground” back into use and create jobs has been welcomed.

Plans have been submitted to Bradford Council to build six industrial units on the overgrown plot once occupied by world-leading loom manufacturer George Hattersley & Sons.

The site – between Church Street and Beck Street, near the Shared Church – has been disused for years.

Various proposals have been put forward over the past two decades, for uses ranging from a supermarket to flats, but the land remains undeveloped.

Now units together covering over 1,670 square metres are planned, together with car and cycle parking.

There would be a new vehicular access from Bridge Street, and public footpaths around the site.

The agent – Michael Ainsworth Design Partnership – says the scheme will bring back into use land, within the Keighley Town Centre Conservation Area, that has become an eyesore and a health and safety risk.

It adds: “The site has been used as a dumping ground and left to overgrow, and used by ‘undesirables’. Also, in the past, the rear of Hattersley Crescent on Church Street has suffered from vandalism. The proposed scheme will restore a derelict site to economic life and will have a positive impact on this part of the conservation area.”

Fifty car parking spaces are planned, including two disabled bays, and there would be provision for 12 bikes.

A public consultation event was held last year, which was described by the agent as “very positive” and some amendments were made to the plans as a result.

This week, community leaders voiced support for the scheme.

Keighley Central councillor Zafar Ali said the site had been derelict for over 20 years.

“Several plans have been put forward during that time but have come to nothing so I’m glad this proposal has been submitted,” he added.

“That used to be a booming site and I welcome the plan to bring it back into use – it’s good news for that area of the town and for Keighley generally, enhancing what has become an eyesore and creating jobs.”

Councillor Khadim Hussain, who also represents Keighley Central, said the new units would help meet high demand for extra business space in the town.

“Back in 2016 I held a meeting at Keighley College with businesses to see what needs they had – and a shortage of space was one of the main issues raised,” he said.

“Any initiative which helps new businesses and existing companies seeking to grow has to be a good thing and gets my support.

“The site in question is in a prime area of Keighley, but in its present state it portrays a very negative image of the town.

“This scheme is good all round.”

Town mayor, Councillor Peter Corkindale, also welcomes the plan.

“It will bring a derelict brownfield site back into use and help firms that are looking to increase their capacity – and create jobs,” he said.

“It’s a good thing for the town.”

The site was once a driving force of the industrial revolution.

George Hattersley & Sons, founded in 1789, was the oldest firm of loom makers in the world and one of Keighley’s major employers.

But the textile industry started to see a decline in the 1960s and the firm closed in 1984.

The buildings were subsequently demolished.

In 2014, plans were unveiled for a new multi-million pound Lidl foodstore on the site – with the promise of about 30 new jobs.

However the scheme never reached fruition.

News of the latest proposal comes as planning permission is also sought for a project which would see another long-dormant Keighley site returned to use.

Aldi is seeking to build a new supermarket on the derelict East Parade plot, to replace its existing store in Gresley Road.