A MAJOR new business park is planned on a prime plot just yards from Keighley College.

The development of 20 units, a cafe and office space is proposed for a large site at the junction of Dalton Lane and Bradford Road.

It would incorporate the area occupied by the long-derelict former gas board building, opposite Asda supermarket.

This week, community leaders welcomed the scheme – saying it would provide a further boost to that part of the town, including new jobs.

According to the applicants, existing crumbling buildings would be replaced with new, modern units offering "significant employment opportunity".

There would be 17 smaller units for new businesses, plus three larger premises with trade counters.

The curved corner building at the Dalton Lane/Bradford Road junction would be retained as a cafe.

There'd be parking for 85 cars and 20 bicycles.

Behind the application is steel manufacturer Modern Equipment & Foundry Engineering, which currently occupies the site.

A statement for the applicants in support of the plan, which has been submitted to Bradford Council, says: "Market research undertaken by the client has identified the need for the size of the proposed units.

"There have also been direct requests from prospective tenants on almost a weekly basis."

Town mayor, Councillor Peter Corkindale, welcomes the plan.

He says that with the ongoing refurbishment of the former Victoria Hotel building and Aldi's £10m scheme to build a new store and units at East Parade, the venture will further bolster that area of the town.

"It's got to be good news," he added.

"It will mean more jobs and opportunities and would also complement the new Foundry Park scheme in Dalton Lane.

"Its close proximity to the college could also have potential benefits in terms of apprentices etc.

"We often hear that there is a shortage of land for industrial premises in Keighley. This would help meet that need."

The scheme also gets a thumbs-up from Keighley MP, Robbie Moore.

"It is great to see that another project is being lined-up for Keighley – ensuring that brownfield sites are brought back into use," he said.

"This is exactly the sort of confidence boost that Keighley needs as we emerge from the Covid pandemic.

"This along with the Victoria Hotel project and Aldi development will start to put Keighley back on the map as we build back better."

Modern Equipment and Foundry Engineering has occupied the site for more than half a century, but the use of the land for industry dates back much further. It had once been used by Prince Smith, a textile engineering company employing 1,600 workers, that was formed at the beginning of the Industrial Revolution in 1795.