A NEW waste sorting and recycling facility could be built on a long empty site in Keighley that was once earmarked for a housing development.

Devonshire Mill on West Lane was demolished in 2005, and despite plans for residential developments on the site being approved, the land has remained vacant for 15 years.

Now a new planning application has been submitted to Bradford Council that would see eight units built on the site.

There would be a large unit used for skip waste sorting and recycling, and seven smaller storage units.

The development, which would sort builders’ waste from skips, would create around 20 jobs.

The application says around 95 per cent of waste sent to the site will be “recoverable” and adds: “The skips will be unloaded in the sorting area within Unit 1 with waste sorted by hand picking and separated into plastic, cardboard/paper, wood, polythene, hardcore, metal, glass and green waste.

“For bulk sorting, a 360-degree mechanical excavator will be used. The sorted waste is then transferred to larger ‘roll on, roll off’ 40ft skips.

Decision due on development that could bring 250 jobs to Keighley town centre

“There is a general acceptance amongst sector specialists that the most sustainable solution for Councils is to sort and recycle construction/trade waste before disposing of it.

“There are currently no private recycling/sorting facilities of this nature in Keighley.

“The proposal will not only contribute towards the region’s climate change targets by providing a waste recycling/sorting facility within Keighley, but it will also reduce vehicle emissions from skip lorries travelling to other similar facilities – the closest of which are in Bradford or Halifax.”

It is expected that around 15 skips a day will be brought to the facility, which will be open from 7.30am to 6pm.

Submitted by Iftikar Hussain, the application says: “The site has been vacant for 16 years and is unsightly when viewed from nearby residential properties and public vantage points having become overgrown and fallen victim to frequent fly tipping.”

After the mill was demolished there were a number of plans for the site, including one application to build 48 homes on the site and another to build 60.

Explaining why the housing development never went ahead, the application says: “The site was earmarked for residential development but despite being continuously marketed, the development of the site has never materialised due to financial viability issues because the site is sandwiched between existing commercial uses and is within a low value area.

“The fact that the site has been marketed and available for many years clearly demonstrates (developing houses on the site) is not financially viable.

“The proposed development will be of high quality, well designed and well connected with the surrounding land uses, reinforcing the sense of place in this location where currently, there is a large expanse of derelict wasteland in a state of increased decline.”

A decision on the application is expected in December.