DISTRICT and town councillors in Keighley have met to discuss forging a closer working relationship.

The cross-party gathering was held at the town’s civic centre, in North Street.

Keighley East district councillor Doreen Lee described the meeting as “positive and useful”.

And she voiced her gratitude to town mayor Cllr Julie Adams for arranging it.

She added: “We had a frank discussion about how we can better work together for Keighley.

“We’re going to improve our lines of communication and some of us were very clear that we need to be united for the betterment of Keighley, rather than break apart.”

Cllr Lee felt that ‘breaking away’ from Bradford Council control, as some people advocate, would be harmful to Keighley and could cost the town millions of pounds.

She added: “Leaving Bradford Council is not an option that Government would ever consider. And even if it did, it would mean the town would have to set-up its own functions for adult and children’s social care, as well as its own bin collections, planning authority, housing and school systems, cleansing, highways and public health teams and more.

“It would massively increase the costs to Keighley council tax payers. It’s a non-starter.”

Cllr Adams welcomed the meeting as a move towards stronger bonds between the town and district council members.

She said: “When I became town mayor I pledged to improve the working relationship and I am pleased we have started to make progress on better relations.

“Our focus now should be on improving Keighley, listening to our residents and doing what is best for our town.

“That can only happen if we all work together to secure additional funding from Bradford Council and central Government without falling into divisive debates over the structure of our district governance.”

The ‘breakaway’ campaign is being spearheaded by Keighley MP Robbie Moore and parliamentary colleague Philip Davies, of neighbouring Shipley.

Mr Moore said: “From plans to build on our precious green open spaces to the poor state of our roads and pavements, Keighley and Ilkley are badly served by Bradford Council. That is why I am working with Philip Davies on plans for us to leave Bradford.”