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Town Council responds to Draft Development Framework for Keighley

The Town Council has submitted its response to Bradford MDC as part of the public consultation on the draft development framework for Keighley. The Development Framework is being prepared to guide the future development of Keighley.

The Draft Development Framework looks beyond existing projects and the City of Culture 2025. Its purpose is to set out an overarching vision, objectives and potential interventions for the regeneration of Keighley over the next 15-20 years.

In the response, which you can read below, the Town Council is generally supportive of the plan and can see lots of opportunities for the inclusion of some elements in the emerging Neighbourhood Development Plan.

The response to the consultation was approved by the Town Council’s Policy & Resources Committee on Monday 20 November 2023

Do you agree that there is a need for a Development Framework for Keighley?

The Town Council supports any plan that aims to improve the town for the benefit of residents. It is disappointing there has been no reference to the emerging Neighbourhood Plan that the Town Council are currently developing and the opportunities that provides to coalesce policies to support regeneration in Keighley.

Are you in favour of the proposed vision? Do you have any general comments on the proposed vision?

The Town Council is generally supportive of the proposed vision, as it chimes with the town council’s own mission statement:

“Our mission is to create a Town Council that serves and empowers the residents of Keighley by providing high-quality services, promoting community engagement, and enhancing the quality of life in our town. We strive to create a safe, inclusive, and vibrant community where all residents can thrive and achieve their full potential.”

We would like to see some acknowledgement in the draft development framework that the framework resonates with the vision and objectives set out in the Keighley Vision 2027: Building a brighter future together.

Do you agree with the proposed strategic objectives?

The Town Council is supportive of the 7 vision objectives included in the draft framework, they align with the Town Council Keighley Vision 2027: Building a brighter future together, which has 4 visions themes; Our Community, Supporting the town centre, community safety and assets & the environment.

Our Community:

The emphasis on “Community at its heart” aligns with Keighley Vision that prioritises community involvement, social value, and inclusivity. These aims focus on creating a strong community spirit, ensuring positive outcomes for all residents, and creating spaces for community engagement and interaction.

Supporting the Town Centre:

The objective of creating a diversified town centre supports the Keighley Vision to revitalise the town centre by broadening the mix of uses. This includes enhancing opportunities for leisure, residential use, and encouraging a range of activities throughout the day and enhancing the nighttime economy in the town centre.

Community Safety:

Prioritising safety and the perception of safety within public spaces aligns with the Keighley Vision aim to create safer and more welcoming areas.

Assets & the Environment:

Promoting a green and healthy environment by enhancing access to natural assets aligns with the Keighley Vision that focus on sustainability, environmental conservation, and promoting healthier living.

Are there any objectives that are missing and should be included within Keighley’s Development Framework?

Overall, the 7 objectives provide a good overview of the challenges facing Keighley, whilst still be broad enough to respond to any emerging issues during the life of the plan.

Do you agree that Keighley’s gateways (as shown on the map) need to be strengthened? • Keighley Railway Station Forecourt • Low Street / Hanover Street / Worth Way • Church Green • North Street / Cavendish Street

Ensuring the gateways into the town council are well maintained and provide a good first impression of the town centre. Some general comments on each of the areas identified above are listed below;

Keighley Railway Station Forecourt:

Strengthening this area can include improvements in cleanliness, signage, and the overall visual appeal to make it more welcoming for commuters and visitors. This could involve clearer pathways, improved public realm space. Consideration to moving the collection and drop off area should be given some consideration to improve the forecourt for pedestrian use.

Low Street / Hanover Street / Worth Way:

this gateway could involve improving the streetscape, adding more green spaces/planting areas, or incorporating architectural elements to create a more attractive appearance as you enter into the town centre.

Church Green:

A significant area like Church Green could potentially be repurposed to become the heart of the town centre, a multi-use location that could facilitate outdoor markets, event space, or a space to enjoy being outside with attractive seating and well-maintained green spaces. These improvements could be developed to create a stronger first impression of the town.

The Town Council will address the suggestion of a new Town Square elsewhere in its response.

North Street / Cavendish Street:

The framework needs to recognised that North Street cannot be considered in its whole, but rather in sections that better reflect its mix use of residential and commercial uses. For the purpose of this response North Street from the junction with Alice Street to where it meets High Street is where the town council will focus its response.

As the primary gateway into the town centre, the visual appearance of North Street is vitally important to the perception of the town centre. Greater importance and focus needs to be placed on the historic architectural

Strengthening this gateway could involve revitalizing the streetscape, ensuring better pedestrian access, adding greenery, improving infrastructure, and potentially considering mixed-use development to encourage activity and vibrancy in this area.

Improvements to these gateways not only create a positive visual impact but also play a role in enhancing the overall experience of the town for both residents and visitors. Strengthening these gateways can boost the town’s aesthetic appeal, promote a sense of arrival, and potentially stimulate economic and community activity in these areas.

Do you agree with the need to improve links between Keighley’s heritage assets?

The Town Council fully supports anything that helps improve Keighley’s heritage assets. One of the initial key themes identified by the Neighbourhood Development Plan Steering Group is the preservation of our heritage assets. Improving connectivity between key heritage assets is an important step towards providing longevity to key heritage assets.

Do you agree that the roads and the surrounding environment needs to be improved at the following locations? • A629 North Street • A6035 Worth Way • Cavendish Street • Low Street • Coney Lane

This is a very generic question, in principle the Town Council supports the idea of improvements to the listed areas, however, the improvements would have to be beneficial and impactful and evidence based for the Town Council to consider on a case by case basis.

Are you supportive of connecting Keighley’s existing parks and greenspaces, and river paths together by promoting a wider walking and cycling network?

The Town Council believes improving connectivity between parks, green spaces existing paths is vitally important. A great example of would be the continuation of the footpath from Posts Mans Walk to Laycock, via Cat Steps, Lower Holme House Wood and Tinker Bridge. Improving connectivity such as this would not only be a great regeneration project it would also create great resource for residents.

Do you have any comments on the gateways and connectivity within Keighley?

The Town Council is supportive of improving gateways into the town and also developing greater connectivity across Keighley. The council notes, the importance of the locality and topography of Keighley be fully considered when proposing any connectivity improvements. These need to be realistic and be genuinely beneficial to residents.

Do you have any comments on the proposed Character Areas within the Draft Development Framework?

Overall, the Town Council is supportive of the defined character areas identified in the draft plan. With the Town Council working on its Neighbourhood Development Plan there is the opportunity for some of these character areas to be reflected in the Neighbourhood Plan.

In the early consultations already undertaken by the Town Council it is becoming apparent a ‘one size fits all’ approach to any emerging policies wouldn’t be right for Keighley. At one of the consultation workshops, Keighley was described as a ‘jigsaw’ which each piece needing a different approach or having different priorities.

By expanding on the draft character areas it could provide real synergy between the Neighbourhood Development Plan and the draft framework.

Do you support the proposed interventions within Character Area 1?

The Town Council is supportive of the idea behind Character Area 1 (Town Centre & Civic Quarter), however, there are several elements detailed within the character area which raising concerns.

Firstly, the town council is disappointed there is no reference to or mention of the Civic Centre and its importance as a listed building on North Street. The Civic Centre serves an important role in the town centre providing a community accessible space in the heart of the town centre. Perhaps just as important the current use of the Civic Centre secures a key heritage asset in a prime town centre location.

Secondly, there is no mention of the benefits of returning regular outdoor markets to the town centre to support the existing retail offer and to increase footfall into the town centre.

In the Town Council’s Keighley Vision 2023-2027, the town council has identified returning a weekly outdoor market to the town centre as a key objective for the town council. Any proposals for new public realm spaces should consider how it could accommodate regular outdoor markets.

Thirdly, the town council isn’t in full agreement with the need to create a ‘new’ town square. The proposal to demolish the current multi storey car park and relocate the bus station perhaps hasn’t been fully considered. If the multi storey car park can be demolished to create space for a new town square, then the same principal could have been applied to locate the proposed health and wellbeing hub. This would have freed up the former college site to be transformed into a public space. This would have also had the added benefit of putting the health up right at the heart of the town centre with direct access from the bus station.

The town council believes there isn’t necessarily a need to create more public space in the town centre but rather make better use of the space already available. For example, church green could be improved to provide a more multi-purpose space close to the town centre. A space that could accommodate regular markets, events, or even outdoor exhibition space or just a space to enjoy. Church green and its relationship with the current market car park could be improved to create a vibrant, flexible space which the diversified town centre could benefit from.

The proposal to integrate the market hall into a reconfigured Airedale Centre would free up the space of the current market hall. The suggestion to use this space for future residential use could be a positive move. In any future residential development could also include additional parking to compensate for any parking lost by repurposing Church Green and the surrounding area as an enhanced public space.

The proposal to restructure the Airedale Centre to create more of a street feel, which includes the market hall would be welcomed, this could be developed to provide improved links between the bus station and the reconfigured space around the Church Green and the market hall.

Turning to Cavendish Street, the importance of the heritage assets on Cavendish Street cannot be understated. Ensuring the future of these assets should be a key element in the final framework.

With the already existing canopy, Cavendish Street is an area of the town that would benefit from diversification to create additional food and drink establishments. Cavendish Street itself, has a wide carriage way and it should be explored if additional footways/pedestrian spaces could be created by reducing the width of the highway whilst ensuring easy access for parking to support the businesses on Cavendish Street.

The Town Council previously submitted an outline project proposal to the Town Funds Board during the initial call for proposals. Whilst it was only an outline project proposal there could be merit as part of this development framework to revisit the main elements of that proposal.

Character 1 also includes proposals to create a richer core/community hub. Despite, being the primary delivery agency of events in the town centre, including Yorkshire Day, Christmas Light Switch On, for example, it is again disappointing that the Town Council’s contribution to hasn’t been included.

Within the town council’s Keighley Vision 2023-2027 there is a commitment to continue to provide and improve the number of town centre events to attract visitors into the town centre.

The remaining proposals included in Character 1 the town council is generally supportive of, given the town council’s increasing involvement for in maintaining public realm spaces, it would be beneficial if the town council was part of any future discussions relating to the future of public realm within the town centre.

Do you have any further comments on the proposed interventions within Character Area 1?

Overall, the town council supports the definition of the town centre as a Character Area, as detailed above some of the individual proposals within the Character Area do need to be revisited and reconsidered as part of this consultation.

Do you support the proposed interventions within Character Area 2?

The Town Council supports the proposed interventions within Character Area 2. The Neighbourhood Development Plan Steering Group will consider integrating these proposals in its emerging plan if deemed appropriate.

We have referenced earlier in our consultation response the potential footpath improvements from Postman walk to Laycock and the potential benefits. These footpath improvements would be a great extension of this character area.

Do you have any further comments on the proposed interventions within Character Area 2?

None.

Do you support the proposed interventions within Character Area 3?

The Town Council supports the proposed interventions within Character Area 3. The Neighbourhood Development Plan Steering Group will consider integrating these proposals in its emerging plan if deemed appropriate.

Do you have any further comments on the proposed interventions within Character Area 3?

None.

Do you support the proposed interventions within Character Area 4?

The Town Council supports the proposed interventions within Character Area 4. The Neighbourhood Development Plan Steering Group will consider integrating these proposals in its emerging plan if deemed appropriate.

Do you have any further comments on the proposed interventions within Character Area 4?

None.

Do you support the proposed interventions within Character Area 5?

The Town Council supports the proposed interventions within Character Area 5. The Neighbourhood Development Plan Steering Group will consider integrating these proposals in its emerging plan if deemed appropriate.

Do you have any further comments on the proposed interventions within Character Area 5?

None.

Do you support the proposed interventions within Character Area 6?

The Town Council supports the proposed interventions within Character Area 6. The Neighbourhood Development Plan Steering Group will consider integrating these proposals in its emerging plan if deemed appropriate.

Do you have any further comments on the proposed interventions within Character Area 6?

None.

Do you support the proposed interventions within Character Area 7?

The Town Council supports the proposed interventions within Character Area 7. The Neighbourhood Development Plan Steering Group will consider integrating these proposals in its emerging plan if deemed appropriate.

The Town Council allotments sites are within the Character Area and the County Park area.

Do you have any further comments on the proposed interventions within Character Area 7?

None.

For more information on the Development Framework you can visit https://letstalk.bradford.gov.uk/development-framework-for-keighley