A MULTI-million-pound development which it's claimed would make Keighley a global leader in cutting-edge technology and potentially create hundreds of jobs has moved a step closer.

The so-called Advanced Robotics and Engineering Institute, earmarked for part of the Stockbridge council depot site, is amongst schemes which could benefit from Government levelling-up funding.

Bradford Council says four bids, including the Keighley package, submitted for possible funds have all progressed to the next stage of the process – although the wait goes on to see if they will ultimately be successful.

The state-of-the-art Stockbridge centre would see Keighley College and Bradford University support research and development in emerging technologies such as advanced robotics.

High-level skills training and educational opportunities would be offered, and entrepreneurial businesses set up clustered around the facility.

The Keighley bid – worth around £20 million – also includes the unlocking of brownfield sites for industrial development, and improvements which could see the Keighley & Worth Valley Railway become a major transport hub and commuter route. Upgraded signalling would enable more services to be run on the five-mile line, and the railway's fleet of diesel multiple units would be overhauled – with a dedicated storage and maintenance facility being created.

Members of Bradford Council's executive have been given an update on all four bids, together worth over £100 million.

Submissions have also been made for schemes in Bradford South and East, and in Shipley constituency.

The council's strategic director of place, Jason Longhurst, told the executive: "The latest update is that all four bids have moved on to the second review stage.

"It is not clear how many review stages there are. Last time there were four reviewing rounds."

Successful bids should be announced this autumn.

Council leader, Councillor Susan Hinchcliffe, said: "It is really exciting to see these projects and if they have all gone through to the second round that shows the importance of extra work that has gone into them. But we are competing against bids from every other area of the country."

Worth Valley councillor Rebecca Poulsen, leader of the Conservative group, said she was disappointed the council “didn’t have the foresight” to submit more bids in the first round of the funding which took place last year.

However, Mr Longhurst said from the announcement of the first round to the deadline, councils only had a six-week period to prepare bids and very few did.