Bradford Council has granted approval for ambitious plans to demolish a vacant office complex on the outskirts of the Salts Mill World Heritage Site in Saltaire, Shipley. In its place, Artisan Real Estate, a specialist in urban regeneration, will construct a sustainable residential quarter and a riverside park. This decision was made on 27th September 2023. The 11-acre site, situated between the River Aire and the Leeds & Liverpool Canal, formerly housed an HMRC office block that ceased operation in October 2021.
Artisan’s vision for the ‘Saltaire Riverside’ development encompasses the creation of 289 new homes, along with over 5,000 sq. ft. of flexible office space designed to facilitate remote work. Additionally, a café will overlook a new ‘pocket’ park and piazza. A substantial riverside park will seamlessly connect the development to the River Aire, providing wooded areas, grasslands, and lawns that will serve as a natural floodwater storage zone. Pedestrian links will offer direct access to Saltaire Rail Station and the canal towpath.
Welcoming the planning approval, James Bulmer, Development Director for Leeds-based Artisan North said: “We are naturally delighted that our transformational vision for this vacant site next to an UNESCO world heritage site is now set to become a reality. This is a hugely exciting development that will spectacularly open up a large riverside area that has effectively been closed to the public since the 1970s when the HMRC complex was built. Our proposals will bring interest and investment to the area and provide a natural, contemporary extension to the existing Saltaire footprint. Our completed development will become a modern interpretation of the neighbouring Saltaire village, bringing much needed sustainable family housing in an accessible, well connected and environmentally responsible setting.”
He added: “Progressing such a large development on the very edge of a UNESCO World Heritage site brings its own set of challenges and responsibilities, and we have taken time to understand and reflect the unique historical contexts of the Salts Mill location. Our final proposal, developed in partnership with Yorkshire-based architects Axis Architecture, is the result of a more than 18-months of design and architectural planning. This has been supported by a comprehensive and broadly very positive public consultation programme – including two design workshops with local stakeholders and three major public events.”
Artisan’s plan involves the demolition of the existing seven-storey HMRC building, consisting of two large hexagonal office blocks, with construction expected to commence in early 2024. The developer has a commendable track record in delivering complex residential and mixed-use regeneration projects in sensitive urban environments. This includes projects such as the award-winning New Waverley in Edinburgh, the restoration of Bristol’s historic Everard’s Printworks, and the conversion of Glasgow’s 19th-century Custom House into a vibrant hotel quarter overlooking the River Clyde.
Mr Bulmer added: “Our proposals for Saltaire Riverside herald another significant addition to Artisan’s enviable list of sensitive regeneration projects, in highly desirable and historic regional locations across the UK.
“From our regional office bases, we are creating dynamic investment platforms to deliver transformational and sustainable development to the benefit of our towns and cities – and the people who live, visit and work in them. With these pioneering projects and investment, Artisan has the opportunity to turn the development spotlight firmly on high-quality and sustainable city centre regional development across the UK.”
Before the development of the HMRC office, the Saltaire Riverside area served as occasional storage sheds, allotments, and grazing land for canal ponies.
Saltaire Village derives its name from Sir Titus Salt, who constructed Salts Mill and the accompanying village overlooking the River Aire in the latter half of the 19th century. Designed by architects Lockwood and Mawson, Saltaire was conceived as a model settlement, providing a relatively healthy environment for workers to live and work. Recognised for its beautiful Italianate architecture and rich history, Saltaire was designated a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 2001. The village stands as an outstanding example of mid-19th-century philanthropic paternalism, profoundly influencing advancements in industrial social welfare and urban planning in the UK and beyond.
For more information about Artisan’s Saltaire Riverside development, please visit www.saltaireriverside.co.uk. Further details about Artisan Real Estate can be found at www.artisanrealestate.co.uk.