KEIGHLEY is celebrating a £19.8 million windfall which it's claimed will put the town on the map globally and could create hundreds of jobs.

The funding, confirmed this week by the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, will see an advanced robotics and engineering institute built on part of the Stockbridge council depot site.

In a collaboration between Keighley College and Bradford University, the state-of-the-art centre will support research and development in emerging technologies, offering high-level skills training and educational opportunities.

Some of the site will be offered to entrepreneurs too to create new advanced manufacturing and engineering businesses.

The successful bid – submitted by Bradford Council – 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.

Keighley MP Robbie Moore says: "This is yet more incredible news for Keighley and comes on top of the £53.6 million of levelling up funding I have already worked non-stop to secure for our town. Of course this is also in addition to the Government funding secured this year for a new Airedale Hospital, a new sixth-form college and many other projects.

"I am determined to make our town the best place to be for manufacturing, engineering and tech – and this new advanced engineering centre is about doing just that, putting our town on the map internationally and placing us at the very heart of the region’s latest tech revolution.

"I look forward to working with all involved to make sure this groundbreaking new project is a success.”

Labour's Keighley parliamentary candidate, John Grogan, says: "I am delighted that the Government, at the second time of asking, has approved this bid from Bradford Council.

"This is essentially the same bid that the local MP said was of poor quality last February, but an approaching general election does tend to concentrate the mind.

"The money is also due to be spent on groundworks and clearance at other development sites in the town and on providing commuter services on the Keighley & Worth Valley Railway. The substantial delay means costs have gone up in the meantime and time is now tight to deliver by the Government’s deadline of 2026. A strong partnership approach by all involved is needed to get the job done."

Councillor Alex Ross-Shaw, Bradford Council’s executive member for regeneration, planning and transport, says: "We’re delighted that our bid has now been accepted. This is great news for Keighley and I’m so pleased for the residents and partner organisations who will benefit. I have to question why the local MP rubbished this same bid previously, but I’m sure he will now also be giving his support as the Government has called it ‘high quality’ and provided funding to deliver it.

"A number of partners have worked extremely hard to achieve this and will now get on working at pace to try to meet the challenge of getting it delivered in a much-reduced timeframe."

Keighley's town mayor, Councillor John Kirby, welcomes the advanced robotics and engineering institute.

He says: "For generations Keighley has been a 'making' town. With this investment, we will continue to be a making town, at the cutting edge of the most advanced technologies.

"It's now important for the funding to be released as soon as possible, to allow work to commence and for the town and our residents to receive the benefits as soon as possible."

And Keighley College principal Kevin O’Hare says: "This is fantastic news for the Keighley district, its employers and economy.

"As a college committed to helping our students and community excel, we can’t wait to team up with Bradford University to explore, and share, all of the opportunities the new advanced robotics and engineering institute will offer.

"These will include providing invaluable research and development support for local businesses, alongside first-rate skills training.

"The institute’s function will also align closely with the work of our new manufacturing, engineering and future technologies hub, work on which is underway. Combined, these two developments represent a major step towards making our town and district a leading light in these vital growth industries."