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Saturday, February 24, 2024

Transforming a derelict building into a creative hub for small businesses

A long empty city centre building will be brought back to life as new office space for small businesses if a new planning application is approved.

30 Chapel Street is one of the many listed buildings in Little Germany that dates back to the Victorian era.

The former warehouse and office building has been vacant for around two decades, and parts were damaged in a fire in 2014.

But now an ambitious plan to turn the four-storey building into a “vibrant hub for the arts, digital and social enterprise” has been submitted to Bradford Council.

As well as office and co-working spaces, there will be a café for people working in the building, workshops and a conference and events space for up to 63 people.

Damaged parts of the building’s interior will be stripped out or repaired.

The proposal is by the Impact Hub, an international organisation that set up its first base in England on Peckover Street in 2020.

The group’s planning application says the work on the building is expected to cost around £2m. Once it is completed around 50 people could be based in the hub.

Plans also suggest a large mural could be painted on the side of the building.

A heritage report included with the application says: “The proposal broadly aims to restore and refurbish an existing office building, retaining key elements of its heritage and construction to provide new high-quality commercial office space that offers the prospect of providing accommodation for multiple SMEs (small and medium enterprises).”

The application says the new development will be “structured around membership-driven co-working plans, and events/support programmes for arts, digital and social enterprise, with event spaces and a variety of options for growing organisations to migrate from co-working into serviced office spaces within the building.

“Shared facilities such as the proposed workshop/maker space, multipurpose events venue and cafe/kitchen all support the operation.”

The building dates back to the 1870s and is notable for a series of carved stone faces above the ground-floor windows. It was given a Grade II listing in 1983.

Referring to the area, the heritage report says: “The architecture of Little Germany is probably the most impressive merchant quarter in Yorkshire.

“Little Germany is home to a mixture of residential accommodation and businesses, however, there is still a requirement for continued development to allow the area to reach its full potential.”

A decision on the application is expected next month.

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