A SCHEME to bring a long-empty Keighley hotel building back into use has been given the green light.

Plans to transform the Victoria Hotel site, in Cavendish Street, into shops and apartments have been approved by Bradford Council.

Four retail units are to be created on the ground floor and 11 apartments above.

Two of the shops will face onto Cavendish Street and the other two onto East Parade.

The prominent building has been disused for a number of years and there have been countless calls for action as its condition has continued to deteriorate.

District ward councillors and the town's MP welcome the move – by Suffolk-based developer RJF Properties Ltd – to rejuvenate the site.

Keighley Central councillor Zafar Ali said: "I'm really pleased the planning application has been approved.

"It is an iconic building on one of the most prominent streets in the town.

"Hopefully by bringing back some small businesses that in turn will attract more people to that part of Keighley and will help regenerate it."

Councillor Khadim Hussain, who also represents Keighley Central ward on Bradford Council, says the transformation of the former hotel – together with the £10m plan for a new Aldi store on the long-derelict site in East Parade – will breathe new life into that area of the town.

"This is really positive news for Keighley," he said.

Town mayor Councillor Peter Corkindale says that whilst he is always keen for vacant buildings to be brought back into use, he would have preferred to see the Victoria site retained as a hotel.

"We are desperately short of good hotel accommodation in Keighley," he said.

"We're trying to increase footfall within the town but there's no where for people to stay – visiting coach parties will head to Skipton or up the Dales."

Keighley MP Robbie Moore said he was pleased the project had moved forward.

"It will be great to see this building brought back to life – albeit in a residential and commercial capacity," he said.

"This iconic building sits at the gateway to our town centre and once restored, I am sure it will add to that great sense of pride that we all have in Keighley."

The present Victoria Hotel is believed to have been built by a Mr Horner, who was born at East Morton in around 1838. The veterinary surgeon – who had a practice at Shipley – died on January 30, 1900, after falling off his horse.

During its heyday the ten-bedroom hotel was hugely popular with visitors to the town.