Today, an announcement was made regarding the allocation of £19,814,140 to Bradford Council for the implementation of ambitious projects in Keighley, including the establishment of an Advanced Robotics and Engineering Institute.
This proposal, submitted in 2021 as part of the Government’s Levelling Up funding initiative, encompasses the construction of a groundbreaking facility for technical education, research, and development in the heart of Keighley. Additionally, it outlines enhancements to the Keighley and Worth Valley Railway and the redevelopment of brownfield sites.
The Advanced Robotics and Engineering Institute, planned for two floors, is designed to accommodate up to 250 full-time undergraduate and 40 postgraduate students specializing in robotics, advanced engineering, automation, artificial intelligence, and computer science.
The institute aims to benefit students across all levels of technical education, from secondary school-age to Ph.D., providing clear progression pathways within a state-of-the-art centre of excellence.
The bid package also includes initiatives such as unlocking brownfield sites for industrial development and transforming the Keighley & Worth Valley Railway into a major transport hub and commuter route. This involves upgraded signaling to facilitate more services on the five-mile line and the overhaul of the railway’s fleet of diesel multiple units, with a dedicated storage and maintenance facility to be established.
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 delighted 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 collaborated closely with partners, including Keighley and Worth Valley Railway, Keighley College within the Luminate Education Group, and The University of Bradford, to secure the bid. A validation check will be conducted on the project, considering the elapsed time since the initial submission, to ensure its continued eligibility for Government funding, with delivery slated for 2026.