Owners of Yorkshire textile mill says conversions 'no longer attractive as modern business space'

Proposals to convert a Bradford mill into apartments have been approved.

An application to create 58 apartments in a section of St Andrew’s Mills on Legrams Lane was first submitted in Spring 2021.

The former textile mill is used as office space, but owners the Sekhon Group said the pandemic had led to a change in the type of space businesses wanted.

Converted mills were no longer attractive to modern companies, the applicants claimed.

St Andrew's Mills

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The application said: “The building is mostly vacant and has been for some time with occasional letting of part of the space for a range of low value commercial uses which has been exacerbated by the impact of the Covid pandemic.

“The building has been falling into disrepair as a result and the proposal to convert this front part of the mill to residential will provide a solution to bring the building back into full use and provide for its long-term maintenance and repair.

“Companies are getting very fussy and prefer to be located in business parks with easy access to motorways with state of the arts IT facilities and ample free car parking space.”

Council officers had raised concerns about the quality of some of the apartments proposed for the building’s basement.

Because of these concerns the number of proposed flats has been reduced to 50, and the basement will now have a cinema room, gym, pool room and parking spaces for 64 cycles.

The development will also include a communal garden and 31 car parking spaces.

Planning officers said: “The submitted information demonstrates that the building has experienced a prolonged level of vacancy and that the location and accessibility of the building are prohibitive in terms of attracting tenants when there are better located premises with more modern facilities.

“Accordingly, the proposed residential use of the building is considered to be acceptable.

“The proposed layout includes provision of a communal amenity space for use by residents which, although limited in size, is a welcomed feature given the constraints of the site.

“Further resident’s amenities are also provided within the basement level of the building including a gym and cinema room.”

Bradford Council usually requires affordable housing to be included with any major housing scheme.

But the application claimed that the high cost of converting the building, and the value of housing in the area, meant providing subsidised housing would not be viable.

Planning officers said they accepted this, and the development will not need to require affordable housing.