AMBITIOUS plans for Keighley are still on course despite the challenges of the past year.

That was the message this week following publication of a review covering the first 12 months of the sweeping, three-year Keighley Town Plan.

Included in the document are plans to further develop the civic centre as "the beating heart of Keighley", with a new police museum among its features.

The town council is negotiating a new lease agreement so it can continue to maintain the widely-acclaimed "jewel in Keighley's crown", Town Hall Square.

And the body is drawing-up proposals for publicly-owned assets across the area which it could manage on behalf of townspeople.

There are also plans to get young people more involved in shaping the development of the community.

Town mayor Councillor Peter Corkindale said that despite the difficulties posed by the pandemic, all the plan's key objectives in 2020-21 had been met – plus services delivered, support provided to local groups, projects funded and working partnerships established.

He added: "We are a grassroots council and are keen to involve the whole community in our work.

"With this in mind we unanimously resolved to approve the review and also include a range of new measures designed to support young people and involve them directly in the development of the Keighley community – as they have a great deal to offer and quite often have the best ideas.

"I have been proud and privileged to be an integral part of the development of the town plan.

"The plan is based on our local knowledge and feedback from the communities we serve and the hundreds of groups and projects we have supported over the years. It is much more than a wishlist. It is a statement of what we can – and more importantly, will – do in response to emerging issues and opportunities within the Keighley community.

"Although my mayoral term of office will end on May 20, as an Oakworth councillor I will still be supporting the new mayor to ensure the key objectives of the plan continue to be achieved."

The review says the town council is the biggest in the district and has responsibility for assets across a large area, including over 30 allotment sites and community green spaces.

It describes the civic centre, which the town council bought in 2010, as a "superb multi-use community resource and something we can all be proud of".

The town council says that in the months ahead it will continue work begun last year to further develop the centre, in North Street, with a range of "exciting" projects and activities. The facilities are also available for hire.

A Community Interest Company submission is being finalised to enable the new police museum to be developed.

The review stresses that the most valuable resource of any town or neighbourhood is its people.

"They are the reason we exist and the driving force behind our work," it says.

"Keighley Town Council is a civil authority – and community development in all its many and varied forms is what we do. But we can’t do it all on our own. Many of the objectives in the town plan can only be achieved by working in partnership with others. Key service providers, local businesses, community groups and dedicated individuals all have an important role to play."

As part of its work with young people, the council is supporting the establishment of an anti-bullying scheme in partnership with schools.

Schools are being encouraged to join an Anti-Bullying Alliance.

A town council project worker is supporting the initiative and individual councillors will develop close working relationships with schools in their own wards.

Tribute is paid in the review to Keighley-born Captain Sir Tom Moore, who died in February.

He raised more than £32m for NHS charities through walking laps of his garden last year.

Honours bestowed on him included Freeman of Keighley.

It says: "He was a true 'Keighley lad' who – through his optimism, kind and generous nature and unrelenting Yorkshire grit and determination – provided much-needed inspiration to us all during a difficult and challenging year."

During the year the town mayor had still managed to take part in a programme of engagements, despite the challenges posed by Covid-19. Activities included visits to Airedale Hospital – to thank frontline workers with gift boxes from the council – and Long Lee Surgery, where town councillors had volunteered to support the roll-out of the vaccination programme.

The review highlights the importance of creating positive working links with other local councils and says the town clerk – a member of the South Pennine branch of the Yorkshire Local Councils Associations – is working with Ilkley, Bingley and Shipley councils on developing a joint response to changes in planning laws.

Remembrance Sunday is spotlighted as a key event in the civic calendar and the council said it was "proud" to work with Captain Sir Tom, Keighley Shared Church and the town's British Legion to organise a socially-distanced thanksgiving event.

Other ceremonial events included the installation of a plaque at Oldfield School to commemorate VJ Day.

The annual events programme was put on hold due to pandemic restrictions, but the review says an "optimistic" schedule is being organised for 2021-22 "in anticipation of safer times ahead".

Signs and noticeboards create an important first impression for locals and visitors alike, says the town council, which adds that it is continually working to ensure they are kept up-to-date and well maintained. New signage is being installed and funding for stone gateway signs in key locations has been approved.

Climate change is also an issue high on the agenda.

The town council is implementing a climate change action plan and will be encouraging everyone to support it in whatever way they can.

A corporate governance action plan is also being developed, to ensure the council is being run effectively.

Anti-social behaviour, vandalism, youth nuisance, dog fouling, fly-tipping and community safety have historically been at the forefront of local concerns, says the review.

"In response to this we have entered into contractual arrangements with Bradford Council and Incommunities for the installation of CCTV in local 'hotspots' and funding has been allocated by the watch and transport committee responding to councillors’ concerns," it adds.

The town council says it is continuing to develop productive links on a day-to-day working basis with key service providers, including the district council, to help ensure that decisions taken and services provided reflect the needs and views of the Keighley community.

The review also makes reference to the town's historic links with Poix-du-Nord, in France. A special celebration planned for last year had to be cancelled due to the pandemic but it is hoped to reorganise the event this year.

* To view the town plan and review in full, visit