Victorian building so derelict it has trees growing out the front of it could be turned into flats

A historic building in Bradford which has been left to go derelict and currently has trees growing out of the front of it could be saved.

The property on Canal Road, which is a six storey building that dates back to Bradford’s prosperous Victorian period and is part of the Cathedral Precinct Conservation Area, could be repaired and converted to flats if newly re-emerged plans are approved.

The building has more recently been used as Keencost Cash and Carry.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Despite being just a short distance from both the Broadway Shopping Centre and Forster Square Station, the building has stood empty for well over a decade, and is currently boarded up and in a poor condition.

The building at 34-36 Canal Road in Bradford

Plans to convert the building into housing have already been approved by Bradford Council – an application to create 31 flats in the building, submitted by West Yorkshire Properties, was given the green light in 2016.

Amendments to the plan to create 33 flats in the building were approved the following year, with the developers claiming the cost of converting the building would be so great that extra flats were needed to boost income.

However, work never began, and this permission has since expired.

But the plans have now re-emerged, with a new application to create 33 flats in the building submitted to Bradford Council this month.

It says that if the application is approved, work would start imminently.

Explaining the difficulty of converting the building, the application, developed by C49 Architecture, says: “Any proposal that aims to redevelop this building requires a very large investment simply because it will require complete renovation and substantial structural intervention.

“In addition, a change of use will require new acoustic, thermal and fire measures to be designed and installed.

“Another factor that impacts the development cost is the location and nature of the surrounding buildings. Party wall agreements for the neighbours will be required and this can incur significant costs that are difficult to quantify at this stage.

“The fact that the site has little surrounding servicing space means the project is challenging to undertake and requires additional resourcing. The building is currently boarded up and secure and the clients have ensured that no illegal squatters have entered the building but it has fallen into serious disrepair or dereliction.

“The location of the site is close to Bradford’s University, College and the Town Centre. The proposal is in line with the local planning policy that is supportive of purpose built residential accommodation in appropriate locations that will help divert demand away from traditional housing suitable for family occupation.

“The changes in numbers ensures this building is viable under developments profits and ensures this property will be developed as the process is nearly ready for a start on site which an approval to this application would allow.”

Commenting on the plans, Bradford Council’s Heritage and Conservation officer Simon Hinchcliffe said: “Despite its neglected condition, the building makes a positive contribution to the conservaion area.

“The rehabilitation of the building is welcomed to ensure its continued positive contribution to the conservation area. The principle of conversion will maintain and enhance the character of the conservation area.”

A decision on the application is expected next month.