Proposals to demolish an Ilkley Conservation Area home and replace it with flats approved

Proposals to demolish an Ilkley Conservation Area home and replace it with flats that planners feel will “last the test of time” have been approved.

Last year, a planning application to demolish Robin Hill, a house on Clifford Road in the Middleton Conservation Area of the town, and replace it with a nine-flat apartment complex was refused by Bradford Council.

Planning officers said the four-storey building planned for the site would be “an over-dominant and visually incongruous development” in the Conservation Area.

They also claimed there was not enough onsite parking.

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The existing property at Robin HillThe existing property at Robin Hill
The existing property at Robin Hill

The developers went back to the drawing board and revealed new plans for the site last winter – this time for six apartments in a building that would be one storey shorter.

These new plans were criticised by a number of Ilkley residents, as well as the Town Council which “strongly opposed” the plan, saying it was an overdevelopment of the site and out of keeping with the Conservation Area.

But planning officers at the Council recommended the scheme be approved, and it went before Bradford Council’s Keighley and Shipley Area Planning Panel on Wednesday.

A report to members described the existing property as “unremarkable” adding: “The house is not of significant architectural or historic interest.”

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Referring to the apartment building, it added: “It is recognised that good contemporary design can have its place in conservation area contexts.

“Middleton has a long history of house building in styles that have reflected the architectural fashions of the time.”

At the meeting applicant M Brook, of the Bankhead Group, told the panel: “This is aimed at people living in Ilkley who are looking to downsize.

“We’ve had refusal for the previous schemes and taken those concerns on board.”

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Philip Lees, speaking against the plans, said: “This is an area characterised by large homes with large landscaped gardens worthy of Conservation Area status.

“The scale and massing of this building is still overbearing, and its form relates very poorly to its neighbours. It is still out of keeping with neighbouring properties.”

Planning officer Mark Hutchinson responded: “We currently have a large house in a large plot. This is going to be a large building in a large plot.”

Councillor Marcus Dearden (Lab, Bingley) pointed out that the Conservation Area contained a wide variety of different building types, adding: “The flats by the golf club must have caused quite a bit of debate when they were built.

“There are a varied selection of properties here.”

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Mr Hutchinson said: “We never want a new build to just be a pastiche. We feel this is a good quality, contemporary development that will last the test of time.”

Members voted to approve the application.