A £1 MILLION scheme to breathe new life into a long-derelict landmark building in the centre of Keighley should be complete within months.

The former Victoria Hotel, in Cavendish Street, is being transformed into commercial units with flats above.

This week the company behind the initiative, locally-based Worth Valley Developments, said the four ground-floor units had already been let to independent businesses – including a bar and micro-brewery – and are due to open this summer.

And a mixture of one and two-bedroom flats on the first and second floors of the building, most of which will become holiday lets, are scheduled for completion by the autumn.

Rob Leighton and Lesley Ellis – who head-up Worth Valley Developments – say that for many years the empty former hotel has been a "sad reminder" of a declining hospitality trade in the town, but they hope the redevelopment will be a catalyst for change.

Rob adds: "We and the team are passionate about the building and Keighley and see this property as key to revitalising the area around Cavendish Street and East Parade – and the town as a whole.

"Our aim is that by redeveloping this stunning building – which has fantastic transport links – it will make Keighley a destination, attracting more shoppers and tourists into the town and helping the surrounding independent businesses to thrive."

The team is asking the public for help to put together a picture of the once-thriving hotel's cultural history.

It is appealing for people to come forward with stories and photos related to events at the iconic site.

"We wondered how we could get the people of Keighley onboard with this and realised that a lot of folk have a personal connection to the Vic," said Rob.

"When one of our team told us that they had their wedding reception there, we thought they wouldn’t be the only ones – so why don’t we ask Keighley folk to help tell us the story of the building and how it has played a role in their lives?

"Did you have your wedding reception there? Do you have fond memories of seeing live bands there? Did you celebrate football and rugby victories at the Vic with a few too many beers? Or did you ever strut your stuff on the dance floor?"

Stories and photos can be emailed to thevictoriakeighley@gmail.com or submitted through social media, via @thevictoriakeighley.

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

The present premises are 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.

The building has been disused for a number of years and there were countless calls for action as its condition continued to deteriorate. Various proposals were put forward, but never came to anything.

Its redevelopment has been widely welcomed by community figures.

Keighley Central councillor Khadim Hussain, who is standing down next month after representing the ward on Bradford Council since 2004, has long called for action to bring the site back into use.

"It's a prominent building in the heart of the town and this scheme is really positive news for Keighley," he said.

"Credit should go to the company involved."

Town mayor, Councillor Peter Corkindale, said: "The building has stood empty for a long time and the fact it's being brought back into use has got to be welcomed.

"I am pleased the scheme is coming to fruition and it's particularly pleasing that a number of the flats are intended as holiday lets, which will help the site maintain something of its original function providing accommodation for visitors to the town."