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"Keighley shopping centre delay is not a cause of concern"
Building work on a planned £30 million Worth Valley Shopping Centre in Keighley has been put back by six months.
But the delay in starting construction of the East Parade complex is no cause for concern, say leading politicians.
The leaders of Bradford Council’s Labour and Conservative groups say they understand the delay was unavoidable.
Property developers Stainsby Grange said it had taken longer than anticipated to complete purchases of all existing buildings on the five-acre site.
The last companies on the land – bordered by East Parade, Gresley Road, Coney Lane and the River Worth – moved out last November.
Spokesman David Williams said: “Demolition is taking longer than we thought because some of it is a bit more intricate. It’s a rolling programme that will take us to the end of March.”
Mr Williams said construction work would “more than likely” begin this autumn, with the 145,000 sq ft shopping centre opening in spring 2015.
He said negotiations were ongoing with major retailers to take up some of the 14 units in the complex.
Mr Williams said: “We’re in discussions with various tenants. I can’t release other details, they’re all tied into confidentiality agreements.”
Labour Councillor Dave Green, leader of Bradford Council, said the delay was clearly caused by technical issues.
He said: “We have no concerns, though potentially the scheme’s a bit later than the developers or the people of Keighley would want.”
Conservative opposition leader Glen Miller said Stainsby Grange had carried out most of the demolition ahead of schedule and were employing local contractors.
He added: “I’ve no cause for concern and they will start within the six months. They have every commitment to the site. They’ve invested quite a lot of money already.” Stainsby Grange has worked on the the project for eight years, gradually buying nine separate properties to create space for the shopping centre and a 350-space car park.
The company says the centre will create 600 jobs and attract big-name retail companies to Keighley. Multiplex giant Cineworld will run the centre’s eight-screen cinema.