Negotiations to open a visitor information centre at Saltaire’s World Heritage Site appear to be at an advanced stage.

Bradford Council has announced that a centre should be opening in the village this summer.

Councillor Anne Hawkesworth, the Council’s executive member for environment and culture, confirmed they were in negotiations with a property owner in the village.

She was reluctant to release specific details, but did say a five figure sum was being invested to establish an information centre in empty premises in a busy area of the village.

The centre would provide tourists with information and advice about where to go and what to do and see.

The announcement has been welcomed by the community, some members of which feel a visitor centre is long overdue – Saltaire was designated a World Heritage Site nine years ago.

Coun Hawkesworth (Con, Ilkley) said: "We recognise the importance of the World Heritage Site and are determined to invest in the location to continue to boost visitors to the area and encourage people who are currently running their business or are looking to run a business in this delightful part of the world.

"We realise that a visitor information centre has been high on the priority list for local campaign groups, local councillors and MPs and we have been pressing for the right location and the right support for this venture.

"We recognise the value and importance of Saltaire both as a tourist attraction and for local residents. It’s very important to the prosperity of the whole Bradford district."

money has been allocated to the project from Council reserves and a grant from the Council’s Kickstart programme will pay for an internal transformation of the venue. Meanwhile, a project team has been set up, comprised of key Council representatives, local organisations and groups.

Saltaire historian and tour guide Roger Clarke suggested that offices vacated by a solicitors’ firm in Salts Mill would be the ideal location.

He said: “A lot of people head straight for the mill when they come here. Only a proportion of them venture up the village but I think a visitor information centre at the mill would encourage people to do so.”

He said traders would be relieved when the centre opened.

“Some people at some of the shops are fed up with visitors asking a lot of the same questions that a visitor information centre should offer. People expect there to be a central place so I welcome this wholeheartedly.”

Shipley Conservative MP Philip Davies said: “For me Saltaire is the jewel in the crown in the Bradford district and it has huge potential to bring visitors and with it their money into the area, and if we want to maximise people’s enjoyment of what we have got in Saltaire it seems to me that a visitor centre is absolutely essential."

The opening of the centre this summer would follow the completion of the Council’s £4.5 million refurbishment works of Roberts Park in May.

The revamp includes restoring the Titus Salt statue, the Half Moon pavilion, the bandstand, park shelters, boundary walls and footpaths. New seating, litter bins and signage are being installed, and the river bank cleaned up.

e-mail: ben.barnett