Proposals have been put forward for the construction of a new Community, Arts, Heritage, and Future Technology Centre in the heart of Saltaire, with an estimated cost of around £6 million.
The Shipley Towns Fund is providing the funding for this initiative, which aims to benefit both local residents and visitors. The project is a collaborative effort between Shipley College and the Saltaire Collection.
The Centre will be situated at the junction of Victoria Road and Caroline Street, on land allocated for the project by Bradford Council. It will offer additional classroom space and administrative facilities to support Shipley College’s curriculum, particularly in the realm of technology-based education.
Furthermore, the Centre will serve as the new residence for the Saltaire Collection, a substantial assortment of historical artefacts and documents. A public exhibition area and a community classroom will be incorporated, allowing individuals to delve deeper into the history of Saltaire.
In addition to five state-of-the-art classrooms, the current plans encompass a civic garden at the front of the building and a rooftop exhibition garden, accessible to the public during daytime hours.
Jo Lintonbon, architect at 3xa Design, based in Saltaire, said: “The new building re-instates a civic function where Saltaire’s now demolished Sunday School’s building once stood. It has been designed to complement the sensitive historic context of Saltaire without harming the heritage attributes that make up the World Heritage Site’s outstanding universal value.
“It will add to the ensemble of civic buildings and spaces on Victoria Road and create a welcoming and accessible exhibition pavilion and gardens. The design has been developed to retain key views to Salts Mill and most of the new accommodation is set below street level around a sunken courtyard.”
Adam Clerkin, Chairman of the Shipley Towns Fund said: “This new building has been carefully designed to sit contextually within the World Heritage Site, enhancing the public’s enjoyment and appreciation of it.”
The design and development ran alongside public engagement and consultation, as well as guidance from the Council’s planning authority and Historic England, to ensure the plans protect the Outstanding Universal Value of Saltaire.
Councillor Alex Ross-Shaw, Bradford Council’s Executive Member for Regeneration, Transport and Planning said: “The Council has supported the project in terms of planning and transferring the land. This is a once-in-a-generation opportunity to enhance Saltaire for the future. It is important it is done to an extremely high standard and in a sensitive way which respects the history of this very special place, and I believe the plans show that.”
Diana Bird, Principal at Shipley College explained: “The new building will provide modern teaching facilities to teach local people in-demand technological skills. It will create new public green spaces, and a permanent storage and exhibition space to tell the story of Saltaire to visitors – something that our village does not currently have.”
Maggie Smith, Trustee of the Saltaire Collection said: “Our collection provides a unique insight into the lives of Saltaire residents and workers since its foundation in 1853, covering the many dramas and changes from the village’s early days until today. We are so excited that, after many years of commitment from our marvellous volunteers and researchers, we will soon be able to share these stories with everyone.”
The current plans also encompass modern public toilets and changing facilities, a pivotal requirement set forth by Shipley Town Council, one of the project’s stakeholders.