A MAJOR new business park in Keighley town centre is set to get the go-ahead.

The development, planned for the former Peter Black’s site in Lawkholme Lane, will be discussed by the Bradford Council regulatory and appeals committee on Thursday (September 23).

And a report to the meeting is recommending the scheme be approved.

Those behind the venture, to build up to 34 new business units, say it could bring as many as 250 jobs to the town centre.

Proposals for new commercial development on the Aire Valley Business Centre site were first unveiled in 2019.

A full planning application was submitted to Bradford Council earlier this year.

The project was widely welcomed by community leaders, who said it would provide a massive boost to Keighley and help rejuvenate the local economy post-Covid.

Over the years, a number of units have been built on the expansive site.

But Manchester-based Firloch Ltd, which owns the plot, says many of the units are “dated” and not attractive to modern businesses.

Work to demolish the older units began earlier this year. However, a ‘heritage’ building on the site – Airedale Mill – will be retained.

The plans are for 11,232 square metres of business space on the land, spread out over the new buildings.

Although the amount of business space would actually be reduced, the applicant says it would be of a much higher quality and more attractive to potential tenants.

A report to the committee says: “The site would be much less developed than the previous collection of buildings. And landscaping and boundary treatments could also help significantly improve the appearance and setting of the site within the wider area.

“The redevelopment presents an opportunity to improve the overall appearance of the site, with the development of a cohesive scheme to replace the rather fragmented approach to previous expansions.

“The retention of Airedale Mill is welcome and would help keep a strong frontage along Lawkholme Lane.”

The report adds that the site would include electric vehicle charging points.

It says: “A clean air zone is due to come into force in some parts of the district from next year and is likely to increase the uptake of electric vehicles – particularly vans – in the district. That may directly influence the types of vehicles used at this site.”

Peter Black was founded in the 1940s – using old army webbing to make shopping bags – and went on to become one of Keighley’s biggest employers, with more than 1,000 workers. The name disappeared from the town in 2012 when parent company Li & Fung moved its remaining workers to Manchester.