A ONCE-bustling town-centre pub disappears as work finally starts on a major new retail development in Keighley.

The Cricketers Arms building is going as part of the multi-million-pound construction of a new Aldi supermarket, drive-through premises and parade of smaller shops on the former mill site between Coney Lane and East Parade.

The new Aldi store will replace the company’s smaller, existing outlet in nearby Gresley Road – which the supermarket giant plans to vacate and sell on.

The initial plans for the site were to retain the Cricketers, a pub which dates back to the 1840s.

It was originally known as the Sportsman until Keighley brewery Timothy Taylor’s purchased it in 1872 and changed its name.

It was then taken on by Worth Inns in 1998.

But the pub shut in 2022, with the then landlords saying it was no longer a viable business.

This led to Aldi amending its plans, and the former site of the pub and neighbouring warehouse buildings will now be used by the retailer to create a landscaped area.

Plans for the new development, which includes a large car park, were approved over three years ago – but there had been little movement on the site since.

And before that the plot had stood empty for many years, after plans for the Aire Valley Shopping Centre repeatedly stalled.

That development was once seen as key to the town’s regeneration, and would have included shops that were new to the town, restaurants and a cinema.

But the scheme was hit by numerous delays and it was announced in 2019 that it had hit another roadblock.

At a Bradford Council meeting, councillors were told an amended shopping centre plan was being prepared.

However the owners struggled to find tenants after several big names pulled out, and the scheme was scrapped. This led to concerns the site could become Keighley’s own “hole in the ground” – a reference to the long-delayed Broadway development in Bradford.

But after years of delays work has finally begun onsite, and when we visited, much of the Cricketers Arms building had been demolished.

A spokesperson for Aldi said: “The existing outdated neighbouring store is due to relocate to the new site in the first quarter of next year.

“Residents will have seen a lot of activity onsite. The existing mill has been demolished and we are progressing now with the new build.”