Plans for a groundbreaking £6 million Community, Arts, Heritage, and Future Technology Centre in Saltaire have received unanimous approval, marking a significant development for the town. Funded by the government through the Shipley Towns Fund, the initiative is a collaborative effort between Shipley College and the Saltaire Collection.

Situated at the junction of Victoria Road and Caroline Street on land provided by Bradford Council, the new centre aims to benefit both the local community and visitors. It will offer additional classroom and administrative space to support Shipley College in technology-based education. Additionally, the facility will serve as the new home for the Saltaire Collection, boasting a public exhibition space and community classroom to delve into Saltaire’s rich history.

The proposed building will replace the former Sunday School’s building in Saltaire and has been meticulously designed to complement the town’s historic context without compromising its World Heritage Site status. It will feature modern classrooms, a civic garden at the front, and a publicly-accessible rooftop exhibition garden open during daytime hours.

Councillor Alex Ross-Shaw, Bradford Council’s Portfolio Holder for Regeneration, Transport and Planning, said: “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 the plans certainly reflect that.”

Adam Clerkin, Chair of the Shipley Towns Fund said: “We are thrilled the Towns Fund has been able to support this incredible project which will deliver so many development opportunities for local people and visitors alike.

“The approval of this the latest Towns Fund project, again underlines what can be achieved when public-funded projects are considered from a local viewpoint.”

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.

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, expressed excitement about sharing the unique insights into Saltaire’s history, covering events from its foundation in 1853 to the present day.

The comprehensive plans also address the need for new modern public toilets and changing facilities, meeting the core requirements set by Shipley Town Council, one of the project’s key stakeholders.