THE boss of a Keighley bus company has criticised Bradford Council for stalling traffic improvement measures in the the town, claiming it could lead to businesses and shoppers abandoning the town.

Russell Revill, managing director of Transdev, was fiercely critical of the decision to pause a planned one way system in the town centre at a highly-charged meeting in Keighley Town Hall.

He said the traffic in the centre was so bad that it could take almost ten minutes for buses to get out of the bus station, and the delay could cause them to reconsider investing in the bus fleet.

Plans for a one way gyratory, which would cost about £1.5 million, were proposed as a way of reducing the town's chronic congestion problems, and would have seen Hanover Street, Cavendish Street and East Parade become a clockwise one-way route.

But a public consultation into the plans found that almost half of those who had their say were not in favour of the scheme.

And earlier this month the council's Keighley Area Committee asked council bosses to carry out a further 12 months of research into better solutions for the town’s congestion problems.

At a meeting of the council's Regeneration and Economy Overview and Scrutiny Committee, Mr Revill said: "To describe myself as frustrated would be an understatement.

"We employ more than 270 people in the town, and they have a lot of experience about what goes on on our roads 24 hours a day. Despite promises from the council that something was going to be done about the traffic in Keighley, nothing has happened.

"It doesn't matter which road you take into this town, you always end up snarled up in traffic. We have bus services that can't keep to time during peak periods because of the traffic, which means we have to find extra vehicles at an extra cost. This is making some of our service unprofitable.

"Do we reduce our services because of this? The town is struggling and foot fall is down. You wonder why, and it is because no-one can get into Keighley, that's why.

"We're thinking about investing in ten new vehicles in Keighley. Do we spend about £1,500,000 quid or do I put that money in Harrogate or Burnley where they actually invest in their roads?

"The 662 runs every ten minutes, and by the time one has managed to get out of the bus station and onto Cavendish Street the next bus is ready to leave."

Councillor Val Slater, the council's executive member for transport, said she would make sure Keighley had a share of any future roads funding, adding: "The problem with the gyratory plan was that the public and local businesses were split. It makes it more difficult when a good portion of people are against it."

She said predictions showed the scheme would only alleviate traffic problems for around three years, adding: "As a council we don't want to spend £1.5 million on a short term solution. There is a democratic system in place. I'm not Stalin, I can't just say 'we'll do this anyway'."

Councillor Khadim Hussain (Lab, Keighley Central) , who sits on the Keighley Area Committee, said: "I live in Keighley Central and I am more frustrated with this than you are."

Mr Revill replied: "I wouldn't believe that."

Cllr Hussain replied: "We need to have a holistic approach to traffic in Keighley, we don't want to waste public funds."

Councillor David Heseltine (Con, Bingley) said: "We don't want to get to a point where people can't get goods or workers into the town so they turn around and re-locate to places like Wetherby."