A DERELICT pub at a busy Shipley junction will be bulldozed to make way for road improvements in the town.

Bradford Council has bought The Branch, Bradford Road, after it had been shut for a number of years.

Works on the Bradford to Shipley Corridor Improvement Project were originally scheduled to start in 2021/2022. The scheme, which is being funded by the West Yorkshire Plus Transport Fund through the West Yorkshire Combined Authority, includes major investment in both the A650/Bradford Road and Canal Road and will be delivered in a number of phases.

The council said it has bought the Branch so that the land, which also includes a car park, can be used to widen the road and improve the junction to help reduce congestion on the road and journey times through the junction. The local authority said work on the roads could start next year.

The pub, which has structural damage, has been on the open market but had not sold.

The work will also give the council the chance to make some lining improvements to the Otley Road junction on the approach to Shipley town centre, which will widen the lanes and improve traffic flow.

The project has a total overall budget of £42 million for work on these two strategic corridors, which will relieve congestion and improve road safety between Bradford city centre and communities in the Aire Valley.

An early phase of the project will be to make improvements to the junction at the A650 Bradford Road and Otley Road.

Longer term plans include improvements to Fox’s Corner at Shipley, to reduce congestion and improve bus journey times through this busy junction, a range of junction improvements on the A650 and improved access for pedestrians linking bus and rail stations, development sites and local communities.

Residents will be able to have their say on the proposal once the local authority has drawn up more detailed plans.

Councillor Alex Ross-Shaw, the council’s portfolio holder for regeneration, planning and transport, said: “By purchasing an empty building we’ve been able to bring forward the first phase of this scheme so we can deliver road improvements in Shipley more quickly.

“Improving our transport links are key to delivering our Economic Strategy targets of creating more jobs and growing our economy.

“Shipley is a hugely important part of Bradford’s economy and is an important transport hub linking Airedale, Wharfedale and Bradford, with great connections to Leeds and Lancashire.

“Our Shipley/Canal Road Corridor Area Action Plan identifies this area as a key site for future housing and development growth so getting the infrastructure in place to support it is vital.

“Not only that, but reducing congestion makes everyone’s life a little easier, supports public transport and improves air quality.”