POLITICIANS have mixed views about public calls for a town park to be created on a former Keighley College site.

Keighley mayor Peter Corkindale and district councillor Zafar Ali are among those who believe the land on North Street should remain as green space.

But Clr Ali’s fellow councillors in Keighley Central ward, Khadim Hussain and Abid Hussain, support Bradford Council’s plan to build on the site.

The politicians were responding to gardener Steve Thorpe’s campaign for a new park named in honour of Captain Tom Moore, NHS workers or coronavirus victims.

Mr Thorpe last week voiced the feelings of many townspeople in asking for the creation of a permanent park. However the council believes central Keighley has enough green space and is pressing ahead with its £9 million plans for a building to house public services.

Keighley mayor Cllr Peter Corkindale this week said he strongly felt the North Street land should become an urban park, and believed most town councillors would agree with him.

He suggested benches, a footpath and a fountain, as well as trees to help improve air quality in the town centre.

He said: “The town hall square is brilliant, and beautiful in summer, but it has a memorial in it. A town park would complement that.

“Now the buildings have gone and people have seen what the site looks like, it would be nice to keep it. We could call it the Tom Moore Gardens.”

Cllr Zafar Ali said the majority of people who had spoken to him about the North Street site wanted it to remain a grass area.

He said: “They feel people would sit there in the summer – families, the elderly. It would be an ideal place, and would enhance the area.

“When you walk through now it looks beautiful. If it was green space, people would stand for a while and look. If you put a building there people can’t see anything.”

Another ward councillor, Abid Hussain, believed the best use for the college site would be for the hub, to bring several organisations that serve the public under one roof.

He said: “The hub will be really good for the community because it will have many uses. It will bring more people together..”

The third ward councillor, Khadim Hussain, said the nearby town hall square provided the necessary greenery and seating, and the North Street site should be used for an important building.

He said: “This is a prime site in the town centre and be put to some good use. It’s accessible because it’s near the bus and railway stations.

“The hub is a good idea – it will bring many services together, especially for older people or vulnerable people. But we need some sort of movement on the project.”

Bradford Council last week said that, along with the public, it was proud and supportive of Captain Tom and “our brilliant” NHS staff.

But a spokesman man said there were no plans convert the North Street site into a park, adding: “There is Church Green within the town centre and Devonshire Park and Cliffe Castle on the outskirts, so we have plenty of excellent accessible green spaces for people to enjoy.”