Historic building dating back to 1830s at risk of collapse after arson attack could be demolished

A listed building in West Yorkshire that was badly damaged in a blaze earlier this year could soon be demolished.

The former Tanks and Drum building at the Bowling Iron Works in Bradford
The former Tanks and Drum building at the Bowling Iron Works in Bradford

The former Tanks and Drum building at the Bowling Iron Works in Bradford was built in the 1830s, and stands out as a traditional stone building in an area of more modern industrial businesses.

The building, also known as Bowling House, is Grade II listed – a title that would normally protect the building from being altered or demolished.

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But now a planning application has been submitted to Bradford Council by the building’s owners to flatten the structure.

The application, by property owners the Leo Sawrij group, says a fire in the building in February left the building in a dangerous state, and demolition is now the only option to keep the site safe.

The building, on Bowling Back Lane, was the former offices for Tanks and Drum Ltd, but has been empty for a number of years. Even before February’s fire it was showing signs of neglect and dereliction.A more modern office extension built to the side of the building is also derelict.

West Yorkshire Fire Service were called to the building at 5.49pm on February 23. Two engines were sent to tackle the fire, and were at the scene for almost an hour.

The cause was thought to be deliberate.

The application to demolish the building shows the impact of that fire, with an entire wall of the building having collapsed. It says the blaze: “Caused significant structural damage and partial collapse of the listed building.

“The condition of the building has been assessed by a structural engineers and specialist building refurbishment and a demolition contractor.

“They conclude that the building is unstable, at risk of immediate collapse and cannot be safely worked on. Demolition is therefore the only safe option to deal with the compromised structure.”

A spokesman for the applicants, who bought the site in 2019, said: “Prior to the fire the building had been vacant for a long time and a regular target for vandals.

"It was and still is a magnet for children, and in its now very dangerous condition it poses a significant risk to public health and safety, so time is of the essence for Bradford City Council to process the demolition application and allow Leo Sawrij Ltd to organise demolition work and make the site safe.”

They said no plans have been prepared for the future use of the site if the building is demolished.