KEIGHLEY and Shipley are preparing bids for up to £25 million in Government funding.

However, concerns have been raised that the “compromised” time scale provided to draw up the Town Plan priorities had left some groups struggling to get their submissions completed in time.

In Late 2019, shortly before the General Election, the Government announced a number of towns across the UK that would benefit from its Towns Fund - meaning they would be have access to up to £25m for projects to regenerate the area.

A Towns Fund board, which included local business leaders and councillors, was set up to draw up plans on where the money could go, and local groups were invited to make suggestions.

Suggestions for Shipley include reinstating public toilets in the town centre, developing a water sports centre and a tree planting scheme throughout the town.

What people want to see in Shipley using £25m towns fund

Proposals for Keighley include the creation of a community arts hub, a one way traffic system on Cavendish Street and the development of industrial units in the town.

The proposals will be sent to Government later this month, and the Town’s Fund was discussed at a meeting of Bradford Council’s Executive on Tuesday.

Councillor Rebecca Poulsen, leader of the Conservatives on Bradford Council, welcomed the work being done, but said many groups in Keighley had only found out about it at a very late stage of the process.

She said: “A few groups only found out about this fund being available a few weeks before the closing date, and had a difficult time putting together a bid for funding.

“There is concern about whether this was a level playing field for smaller groups. These groups are not big organisations, they are doing these bids in their spare time on an evening. They have not had an awful lot of support so far.

“I hope that if these projects progress we work closer with these groups.”

Major new arts and culture centre planned for Keighley

Councillor Alex Ross Shaw, Executive for Regeneration, Transport and Environment, said: “It is not that any particular group is being left out. When you have to work to such a tight time scale it does compromise things. It was a compromised time scale, but we have had some fantastic feedback as well.”

The Executive heard that over 900 people had taken part in the Keighley consultation, with 500 people taking part in the Shipley consultation.

The final submissions will be made by the two Town Boards at the end of the month. The Government will then indicate which of the suggested projects have been successful, and will be awarded funding.

Addressing the two Town Fund boards Bradford Council Leader Susan Hinchcliffe said: “If we get the full £25 million for each town this is all work well done, and you will have our undying thanks.”