COMMUNITY leaders have welcomed a major new scheme which will bring as many as 250 jobs to Keighley town centre.

Approval has been given for the construction of a business park on the former Peter Black's site, in Lawkholme Lane.

Up to 35 units will be built on the prominent plot of land.

The old Airedale Mill premises will be retained.

"I am delighted this massive investment has been secured for Keighley," said the town's MP, Robbie Moore.

"It will help create more local jobs and modern, 'green' office space to help businesses grow and thrive – as well as protecting the historic Airedale Mill.

"This builds on the £15m development fund I have secured as part of our Town Deal, which will bring brownfield sites across Keighley back into use and drive private-sector investment so we can build back even better from the pandemic."

Town mayor Councillor Julie Adams also voiced delight.

"This is such good news for Keighley," she said.

"Not only will it redevelop a brownfield site, but it will provide much-needed employment opportunities for local people. I very much look forward to seeing these exciting plans come to fruition."

The scheme has been given the green light by Bradford Council's regulatory and appeals committee. Permission had been granted earlier in the year for the old buildings to be demolished.

The Aire Valley Business Centre project will actually see a reduction of employment space on the 2.85-hectare site – from 31,500 to 11,232 square metres of floor space.

But the previous site was described as "dated" and unattractive to businesses and the new development would be much more likely to attract tenants, according to the Manchester-based applicant Firloch Ltd.

Committee members heard there would be two entrances to the new development – one from Lawkholme Lane and the other from Alice Street.

Keighley East councillor Doreen Lee said the junction of Alice Street and North Street, which would likely be used by some traffic entering the site, was one of the town’s busiest. She asked if the developer could work to improve the junction.

And committee chair Councillor David Warburton said the area would be further changed once the new public service hub was built on the former college site in North Street. He suggested Keighley Area Committee could look at how the junction may be improved.

Members unanimously approved the plans.

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.