Bradford Council’s Executive is being asked to approve proposed changes to planning rules to breathe new life back into a historic section of the city.

Planning officers have been working with English Heritage and the local group Little Germany Action to introduce a new way of simplifying planning rules to reduce bureaucracy and cut costs.

MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERABradford Council is planning to introduce a Local Development Order (LDO) and a Local Listed Building Consent Order (LLBCO) into Little Germany and the Cathedral Area.

Reports to the Executive, which meets on Tuesday, 10 February, at City Hall, says the orders will apply to specific buildings within Little Germany and the Cathedral Precinct Conservation Area.

Councillors will be asked to give permission for a consultation with building owners and other stakeholders about bringing in the orders.

Little Germany developed as a textile merchants’ warehouse and office quarter in the second half of the 19th century and contains many Listed buildings of historic and architectural importance.

While listed status protects the buildings from inappropriate development it can deter new businesses from investing in them because of the perceived difficulty of getting Listed Building and planning consent to alter the inside spaces to their needs.

Many of the buildings at the moment are vacant and under occupied which leaves them vulnerable to deterioration.

The introduction of LDOs and LLBCOs is designed to overcome that problem, simplifying the planning process to allow alterations to be made while still protecting their special interest.

The LDO and LLBCO will remove practical and perceived obstructions to appropriate redevelopment, by granting prior consent for specific alterations and uses such as residential, leisure, office and retail.

This will allow investment while keeping within of the rules of Listed status as overseen by English Heritage and Bradford Council.

Coun Val Slater, Bradford Council’s Executive Member for Housing Planning and Transport, said: “The regeneration of the city centre is vital to the city’s economic success in the future and this area can make a very important contribution to that regeneration.

“The planning consents granted under these orders will be strictly limited to work necessary to convert and re-use the buildings without harming the outstanding architectural appearance of Little Germany as a
whole.” Tammy Whitaker, Yorkshire Planning and Conservation Director for English Heritage, said: “Bradford Council is paving the way for these constructive changes to the listed building consent system, which will simplify life for developers whilst allowing the wonderful historic buildings in Little Germany to be reused and enjoyed.

“We have been working closely with the council, consultants and owners to deliver training on the changes and are excited that this could mean regeneration and a new lease of life to such an important area of Bradford.”