KEIGHLEY is to receive a massive £33.6 million to rejuvenate the town.

The announcement of Government Towns Fund cash was welcomed today across the community.

Funds will support a wide range of schemes – boosting employment, skills, education, healthcare, the arts and public transport.

It had been hoped Keighley would be awarded up to £25m.

But the strength of a proposals package put forward to the Government, plus lobbying, saw the figure increased.

Today members of the Keighley Town Deal Board, which put together the bid, spoke of their delight.

More than 30 projects had been unveiled just before Christmas. Following a public consultation those schemes were whittled down and a final package was put forward for potential Government Towns Fund support.

Keighley MP and board member, Robbie Moore, said: "This has been a huge team effort and I am delighted with the result.

"Since we submitted our bid to the Government, I have been constantly lobbying hard in Westminster to secure the best deal for our town.

"We in Keighley have been forgotten and ignored for too long and this Towns Fund will be a key stepping stone in helping us transform our community.

"The projects will help deliver transformational change for Keighley, creating opportunities and driving forward economic growth. As we begin our recovery from Covid-19, this huge £33.6m boost will help our town deliver more jobs, better education and healthcare, improve public transport and much more.

"I am really excited about what this means for our town. And I am so pleased that after having lobbied hard in Westminster to make the case that our town needed more than the original £25 million, the Government has listened."

Ian Hayfield, who chairs the Town Deal Board, said the announcement was "absolutely fantastic news".

"A lot of hard work has been put into achieving this by people across the sectors," he added.

"It's a large pot of money and will be a game changer for Keighley.

"There is now more hard work ahead as we develop the business cases for each project, but this is such a massive plus for the town."

Former town mayor, Councillor Peter Corkindale, also serves on the board.

"I'm highly delighted and the fact we got that whole amount is great news," he said.

"The work will really begin now as we look at how each project will be delivered.

"With the external investment that's being made in Keighley as well at the moment, such as the new Aldi store, it's a big boost for the town."

Current town mayor, Councillor Julie Adams, shared the delight.

She added: "I would like to thank those on the Town Deal Board whose efforts helped to secure the £33.6 million.

"This could be a real game changer for Keighley – and the town council will work in partnership with the board, Bradford Council and other partners to ensure the funding makes a real difference to the people of Keighley and their town."

The board's vice-chairman, Keighley College principal Steve Kelly, said: "This is incredible news which will give a fantastic boost to what is already a great town. It will provide investment in the skills of people of all ages. And so many community projects will benefit."

Councillor Alex Ross-Shaw – Bradford Council’s portfolio holder for regeneration, planning and transport – said: “This funding will give Keighley a major economic boost.

“Council officers and board members have worked incredibly hard on this bid and its success clearly reflects the strong spirit of private and public co-operation within the partnership. This funding will unlock the incredible potential of the town.”

The funding will help create a new manufacturing, engineering and future technology hub. It will specialise in training people in critical manufacturing and engineering skills, to create more jobs.

There will also be a skills hub – delivering training in digital, communication and personal development skills.

The funds will also contribute towards a new Keighley health and wellbeing centre, which Mr Moore stresses should be built on a brownfield site.

A £15m Development Investment Fund will be established to bring brownfield sites back into use, creating new spaces for businesses to grow and for start-ups.

Public transport infrastructure will also be upgraded to provide better and more reliable services, including real-time bus information, alongside new town-centre improvements – including the regeneration of Low Street, improvements to Church Yard and Albert Yard, and a major tree planting programme across Keighley.

Community groups will benefit from a new grants scheme, which will help smaller projects in Keighley and parts of the Worth Valley.

Funding will also help provide a new Keighley Creative Art Hub, alongside the development of Keighley Art and Film Festival.