£20m funding will help put town at forefront of British innovation

Bradford Council has been awarded £19,814 to deliver ambitions schemes in Keighley, including an Advanced Robotics and Engineering Institute.

This bid was submitted in 2021, as part of the Government’s Levelling Up funding and includes the proposal for the construction of a pioneering facility for technical education, as well as research and development in the heart of Keighley, alongside improvements to the Keighley and Worth Valley Railway, and the development of brownfield sites.

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, by offering clear progression pathways in a familiar, state-of-the-art centre of excellence.

Also included in the bid package was the unlocking of brownfield sites for industrial development, and improvements which will see the Keighley & Worth Valley Railway become a major transport hub and commuter route.

It includes 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.

Bradford Council leader Susan Hinchliffe said: “This is excellent news for Keighley and the wider district in so many ways.

“The town has a proud engineering and manufacturing tradition. This is such an exciting project which will enhance Keighley’s engineering, manufacturing and economic role in the region, putting it at the forefront of UK innovation.

“The funding we’ve secured with our bid will enhance skills and create more economic opportunities for Keighley and the wider area.

“I am pleased that the quality of the bid we submitted after working closely with our partners, has been recognised by the Government, as ‘impressive’, ‘high-quality’ and ‘ready-to- deliver.’

“It has been two years since the bid was initially submitted so we’ll now look at how we will deliver this project, given the changing context of time, and we will continue to work hard to maximise all investment to the district.”

Bradford Council worked with partners to secure the bid, including Keighley and Worth Valley Railway, Keighley College as part of the Luminate Education Group, and The University of Bradford.

Due to the timeframe since the bid’s initial submission, the project will undergo a validation check to ensure it will still benefit from Government funding, with delivery scheduled for 2026.