A TOWN centre pub is in the process of being demolished after work finally started on a major new retail development.

The Cricketers Arms, Keighley, is being taken down as part of the multi-million pound development of a new Aldi supermarket, drive thru café and parade of smaller shops on a former mill site between Coney Lane and East Parade.

The new Aldi store will replace the company's smaller, existing outlet in nearby Gresley Road – which the supermarket giant plans to vacate and sell on.

The original plans for the site were to retain the Cricketers – a pub which dates back to the 1840s.

It was originally known as the Sportsman until Keighley brewery Timothy Taylor’s purchased it in 1872 and changed its name.

It was then taken on by Worth Inns in 1998.

But the pub shut in 2022, with the then landlords claiming it was no longer a viable business.

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: An artist's impression of the planned development in Keighley town centreAn artist's impression of the planned development in Keighley town centre (Image: Aldi)

This led to Aldi amending its plans, and the former site of the pub and neighbouring warehouse buildings will now be used by the retailer to create a landscaped green area.

Plans for the new development, which includes a large car park, were approved over three years ago – but there has been little movement on the site since.

And before that the former mill site has stood empty for many years, after plans for the Aire Valley Shopping Centre repeatedly stalled.

That development was once seen as key to the town’s regeneration, and would have included shops that were new to the town, restaurants and a cinema.

That scheme was hit by numerous delays until it was announced in 2019 that the development had hit another roadblock.

At a Council meeting in February 2019, councillors were told an amended shopping centre plan was being prepared when the country was hit by a retail crisis that saw several high street names go bust.

The owners had struggled to find tenants after several big names pulled out, and the scheme was scrapped. This led to concerns the site could become Keighley’s own “hole in the ground” - a reference to the long delayed Broadway development in Bradford.

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Work has finally started on the siteWork has finally started on the site (Image: newsquest)

But after years of delays, work has finally begun on the site, and when the Telegraph & Argus visited this week much of the Cricketers had been demolished.

A spokesman for Aldi told the T&A “The store is due to relocate from the existing out-dated neighbouring store in the first quarter of 2025.

“Residents will have seen a lot of activity on site. The existing mill has been demolished and we are progressing now with the build.”