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More details of town centre health hub revealed to Councillors

Monday, 31 July 2023 18:00

By Chris Young, Local Democracy Reporter

A multi-million pound new health hub is required in Keighley, as current health services are "not meeting the needs of the local population" – a Councillor has claimed.

Health bosses have given an update on plans for a new health hub in the centre of Keighley, and confirmed that a local GP surgery will be moving to the modern building.

The Keighley Community Health and Wellbeing Centre has been planned for years, and will see numerous different health providers, charities and other services moving into a centre that will be built on the former Keighley College site on North Street.

At a meeting of Bradford Council’s Health and Social Care Scrutiny Committee on Thursday, NHS bosses gave the first update on the plans since the Government agreed that £3.4m of the Keighley Towns Fund can be spent on the project.

They told members the centre would have between 4,000 and 5,000 square metres of space, and current plans are for it to be four storeys.

The planned centre had proved controversial, with some residents, councillors and even the town’s MP arguing the centre should be built on another site. They argued that the temporary green space created on the North Street site since the college was demolished should remain, and another site for the health centre should be found.

Keighley MP Robbie Moore had asked the Government to review the funding for the centre at this site.

However, Government approved the funding for the site to be built on North Street in June.

The centre will include GP services, self-care and prevention, community care, mental health, dental care, a GP training hub and other healthcare services.

Around 200 jobs will be based at the centre, with 50 of these being new jobs.

Members of the Health Committee were told that with the hub and the rebuild of Airedale Hospital progressing at the same time, there was a chance to better link the two facilities and what each offers.

They also confirmed Holycroft GP surgery will be moving to the centre – which is due to be completed by Summer 2026.

Robert Maden, Director of Finance for the Bradford District and Craven NHS Trust, said the design of the building had not yet been finalised. He said: “It is important that when we go forward to the design stage we have the full involvement of the Keighley community. Local people are key to moving it forward.

“The new hospital programme gives us a real golden opportunity to complement what we are delivering at Airedale with what we are building in Keighley.

“There was some concerns about this development reducing green space in Keighley. We’re looking at what we can do with the site layout to maximise the open space and take these concerns into account.”

Vick Simmons, head of communications, said: “It was around 2011 when this plan first came along. We want to bring the local community along with us, and we’ll be having lots of public drop in events to shape the plan.”

Sue Crowe, who works with disabled people in Bradford and sits on the committee, said: “It is a fantastic amount of money coming in for this, it’s amazing.”

She urged the trust to include people of different disabilities, including people with autism, in helping design and shape the building and the services it offers.

Councillor Paul Godwin (Lab, Keighley West) said: “I’m pleased to hear you mention how long this has been in the offing. That is a point many people involved with the debate about this site haven’t appreciated.”

Councillor Aneela Ahmed (Lab, City) said: “This will have a huge impact on the lives of people in Keighley.”

She said the town centre location would help many in Keighley better access services that they might currently have to travel out of town for, adding: “A lot of appointments are missed because people can’t afford to get to their appointments.”

Councillor Moshin Hussain (Lab, Keighley Central) asked if the team could confirm that Holycroft GP surgery was moving to the centre.

Mr Maden confirmed that would be the case.

He said while the new centre will not likely be a 24-hour facility, it will be open for much longer than existing GP surgeries.

Councillor Amjad Zaman (Lab, Keighley Central) said he knew of families that had struggled to get through to the existing doctors’ surgeries in the town.

He added: “This is needed in Keighley, as the current health service is not meeting the needs of the local population.”

A planning application for the building is likely to be submitted early next year.

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