WORK is at last about to start on a desperately-needed major refurbishment of Keighley's crumbling railway station.

Network Rail has been given the green light to carry out £9 million of renovations to the Grade II listed building.

Community leaders have welcomed the news, and are calling for the scheme – first mooted years ago – to go ahead without any further delays.

The project will include refurbishment of the canopies at the front of the historic Bradford Road station, plus extensive roof repairs and other structural work to the rest of the building, including the strengthening of footbridges.

Network Rail says a September start is scheduled for the scheme, with completion due by the end of next year.

Amongst those pressing for action was Keighley MP Robbie Moore.

He says: "After years of lobbying, numerous meetings with Network Rail and Northern and calls in Parliament for those involved in the project to be held accountable on its timely delivery, I'm thrilled that plans for the refurbishment have received the green light.

"Keighley station holds immense historical and cultural significance for our town and serves as a vital transport hub for our community. It is therefore fantastic to see it's finally getting the upgrades it deserves, which will no doubt secure the station long into the future.

"Delays have hindered this project for far too long. I will continue to closely monitor its progress so that we can ensure these vital refurbishments are started by September."

The news is also welcomed by John Grogan, who chaired meetings on the issue in 2018 when he was the town's MP.

He says: "It is great news that at last we have a firm timetable for the refurbishment of Keighley station.

"There will clearly be some disruption, but it should be worth it, and it's really important that the work is delivered by the promised date of Christmas, 2024.

"Hopefully we can also persuade the Government to keep the ticket office open so that there will be staff available to advise passengers at the improved facilities."

Bradford Council says the delays to the scheme since Network Rail committed in 2019 to carrying out the work had been "incredibly frustrating", but it hoped there would now be speedy progress.

Councillor Alex Ross-Shaw, executive member for regeneration, planning and transport, says: "Keighley station is a vital transport hub for local commuters and leisure travellers and for the wider region.

"We’ve said all along that the station, as such a historic and well-used building, needs this significant investment in order to be an attractive gateway for the town.

"The plans for the station look fantastic but it’s been incredibly frustrating with the time it’s taken, so this latest step forward is very welcome progress.

"I hope Network Rail and its industry partners will now be able to get the work started as quickly as possible to improve the station for our residents in Keighley and the thousands of visitors to our district who use it."

Keighley's town mayor, Councillor John Kirby, says: "In the same period that Northern Rail has announced the planned closure of the ticket office, it is pleasing to see investment in our train station.

"Over one million passengers use the station every year.

"We require more investment like this, and operators such as Northern Rail need to commit to our station and not erode its services.

"I look forward to seeing the refurbishment progress over the coming months."