Great Britain

Refurbishment plan for shop on street plagued by vacant units

AN empty unit on a city street plagued by shop vacancies could undergo a major refurbishment if new plans are approved.

Several units on Kirkgate in Bradford city centre are currently empty, leaving the street a shadow of its former self when it was one of the city’s main shopping streets.

But now a planning application has been submitted to Bradford Council to refurbish one of the larger empty units on the street - which will involve adding an extra two storeys on top of the building.

Submitted by a Mrs Altun, the application is for 71-75 Kirkgate, which has most recently been in use as a temporary outlet store, with the upper floor used as a beauty studio.

Plans will see the large ground floor unit divided into two smaller shop units, the first floor converted to five flats and another five flats created in the planned second and third floor.

Section of lost Bradford building to be refurbished as part of market plan

The application says the building, in the City Centre Conservation Area, is in “poor condition,” and that it would be unlikely that anyone would be willing to invest in the property without the income from residential units.

Of the 10 flats that will be created through the plans, four will be studio flats, five will be one bed flats and the top floor will be a two bed flat.

The application says: “71-75 Kirkgate has been substantially vacant for several years. Internally the premises are in poor condition generally, but the existing structure is in general good condition and suitable for conversion.

“There is no evidence of demand from office or other users and office uses could not justify the costs of renovation of the upper floor level.

“The buildings positive contribution to the conservation area can only be sustained if it has a long term viable use which can provide a financial return and management scheme to ensure ongoing maintenance and repair of the building fabric.

“The conversion offers positive impacts to the Conservation Area and city centre regeneration by adding further residential use and refurbishment of existing retail. The building needs physical repairs and internal refurbishment to make it useable for modern high value uses.

"The building will only receive significant investment if a high value use such as residential is introduced. The carbon footprint of the building and compliance with building regulations necessitates a high level of investment.

“There is no prospect of public funding. It is considered that the residential use of the site will be a positive impact on the visual amenity and vitality of the conservation area. It will also bring some additional support of local shops and facilities and increased security by way of natural surveillance. The use is part of bringing living within the city centre back into being and is part of the process of regeneration with buildings in full use.”

A decision on the application is expected in November.

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