A TOWN’S former mayor has welcomed news that repairs should start soon on the town’s railway station – but asked why the building had been neglected for so long.

Graham Mitchell, who served as Keighley’s mayor and is also a member of the Friends of Airedale Line group, was reacting to Network Rail’s announcement that remedial work on the dilapidated premises will start before the end of this year.

A more extensive programme of renovation will not take place until the 2019/20 financial year.

Mr Mitchell had hit out at the state of the Bradford Road building more than a year ago.

Today, he asked: “Would any Keighley residents leave their own house in the condition that Network Rail has left Keighley Railway Station, with the roof in disrepair and plaster bulging from the walls?

“The answer to that is ‘no’ – nobody would leave their own house in such a condition.

“And there is also the fact that Network Rail is still saying that it will be 2019 before the building is fully sorted out.

“As for the work that will be carried out in late 2017 and early 2018, it has taken a very long time for us to get to this stage.

“Yes, I’m pleased that something will be happening soon, but it’s long overdue.

“It’s not a little country station, it’s a busy urban station and the people of Keighley who use it deserve better.”

Mr Mitchell, who was the voluntary "station adopter" for this building under a scheme run by the line's previous franchisee, thanked Keighley MP John Grogan for arranging a meeting attended by representatives from Northern Rail, Network Rail, West Yorkshire Combined Authority, Bradford Council and Keighley Business Improvement District to discuss the condition of the mainline railway station building.

Mr Mitchell said: "Mr Grogan got all these groups round the table for the first time, and I think the fact he got everyone meeting face-to-face is what has produced some results."

A spokesman for Network Rail declined to respond to Mr Mitchell's comments.

Last week this public body confirmed the work due to start on the railway station shortly will include repairs to its roof, as well as work to repair and redecorate the booking hall.