A £20m Levelling Up project for Keighley – knocked back by Government earlier this year - has now been given the green light.

The bid will see an advanced robotics and engineering institute opened in the Stockbridge area of the town.

It will also involve new commuter routes being introduced on the Keighley and Worth Valley Railway.

The bid to the Levelling Up Fund was one of four made by Bradford Council that were rejected by Government earlier this year.

But in an unexpected announcement on Monday morning, the Government revealed the Keighley proposals would now get the £19,814,140 as part of its third wave of Levelling Up funding.

To be built over two floors, the Advanced Robotics and Engineering Institute will accommodate up to 250 full time undergraduates and 40 postgraduate students in the study of robotics, advanced engineering, automation, artificial intelligence and computer science.

The institute will benefit students at all levels of technical education, from secondary school-age to PhD.

Work to the Keighley and Worth Valley Railway will include upgraded signalling which will enable more services to be run on the five-mile line, and the railway's fleet of diesel multiple units will be overhauled – with a dedicated storage and maintenance facility created.

There was no mention in Monday’s announcement of the other Bradford Levelling up Bids that were rejected earlier this year – a scheme to transform Bradford Bulls’ ground into a covered stadium along with the creation of a major rugby training centre, proposals to create three new wellbeing centres in the Bradford East constituency and work to re-open Bingley Pool.

After Monday’s announcement Keighley MP Robbie Moore said: "This is yet more incredible news for Keighley and comes on top of the £53.6 million of levelling up funding (Keighley Towns Fund) I have already worked non-stop to secure for our town.

“Of course, this is also in addition to the Government funding secured this year for a new Airedale Hospital, a new sixth form college, and many other projects, including the recent £1 million awarded to secure the future of the Keighley and Worth Valley Railway.

"I am determined to make our town the best place be for manufacturing, engineering and tech - and this new advanced engineering centre is about doing just that, putting our town on the map internationally and placing us at the very heart of the region’s latest tech revolution.

"This recent funding is all about creating jobs and boosting our local economy and that really does excite me. I look forward to working with all involved to make sure this groundbreaking new project is a success.”

When the initial bid was refused in January, Mr Moore said he understood the Council’s application “did not meet the quality required or was detailed enough” to be approved by Government.

He added: “This is incredibly frustrating as it would seem the town has missed out on additional funds due to a lack of strategic thought and detail included within the bid to government by Bradford Council.”

A report detailing the Government’s decision released a few weeks after the refusals were made said the Keighley bid was a “relatively strong” one that had “clear strengths.”

But it said the economic case could be strengthened, as could detail about how the development would contribute to Net Zero.

After Monday’s announcement, Councillor Alex Ross-Shaw, Bradford Council’s Executive Member for Regeneration, Planning and Transport, said: “We’re delighted that our bid has now been accepted, this is great news for Keighley and I’m so pleased for the residents and partner organisations who will benefit.

“I have to question why the local MP rubbished this same bid previously, but I’m sure he will now also be giving his support as the government have called it ‘high quality’ and provided funding to deliver it.

“A number of partners have worked extremely hard to achieve this and will now get on working at pace to try and meet the challenge of getting it delivered in a much-reduced timeframe with a deadline that I expect the government will end up changing in the future.

"In the meantime we join councils across the country in asking the Chancellor Jeremy Hunt for fairer funding for councils in his Autumn Statement this week, as these one-off allocations are dwarfed by the government’s £350 million of funding cuts to our district.”

Labour's Keighley parliamentary candidate, John Grogan, said: "I am delighted that the Government, at the second time of asking, has approved this bid from Bradford Council which amongst other things should bring a new advanced robotics and engineering centre to Keighley.

"This is essentially the same bid that the local MP said was of poor quality last February but an approaching general election does tend to concentrate the mind.”