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From The Keighley News, 19th June 2017
Written by David Knights

KEIGHLEY’S new MP has weighed into the voices of dismay over changes to the town’s East Parade shopping complex. John Grogan has echoed the disappointment of councillors and business leaders that the revamped facility no longer includes a cinema and restaurants. He pledged to set up a meeting within the next few weeks with U+I, the major developer behind the recently-announced Aire Valley Retail Park.

He will also meet with Keighley Business Improvement District (BID), whose members have voiced concerns about the effect of major changes to the original project approved by Bradford Council in 2012.

That project, the Worth Valley Shopping Centre, would have seen 14 shops including, three restaurants including Frankie and Benny’s, and a multi-screen Cineworld.

Developer Stainsby Grange sold the site to U+I last year, and its agents WSB Property Consultants are now seeking tenants for seven retail units and a drive-through food outlet.

Labour politician Mr Grogan this week said: “I am a sceptic about these plans and their likely adverse impact on the town centre. Keighley should not be accepting second best.”

Bradford councillor Zafar Ali, whose Keighley Central ward includes East Parade site, called for a quality shopping centre that was not detrimental to existing Keighley shops.

He said “We need a new initiative to come to Keighley. Restaurants, a cinema, perhaps a mini-market for East Europeans.

“It should be an innovative place that people can be proud of and where people can go for their leisure. Something for the youth – something like a bowling alley.”

Fellow Keighley Central councillor Khadim Hussain agreed that the new complex should have leisure attractions to attract a wider range of people.

But he added: “At least something is happening to it rather than it being a black hole. Progress is being made and it will bring employment to Keighley.”