SHIPLEY College says it has listened to criticisms over its controversial expansion plans in Saltaire, but deny claims the planned building would spoil the World Heritage Site.

Bradford Council will likely decide whether to grant planning permission for the £1.9 million building for students with learning difficulties at a planning meeting on July 23.

The building, which would be built on greenhouses owned by the college on Exhibition Road, has been the source of controversy since it was first announced earlier this year, with many living in the village saying it would ruin the feel of the Victorian model village.

Even English Heritage opposed the plans.

But after Council officers raised concerns with the design, the college revealed amended plans for the building earlier this month.

In the new application its respondd to English Heritage's comments. The organisation had said the design was "harmful to the setting, views and character of Saltaire."

The amended application says: "This facility will enable the college to maintain its economic viability and sustainability.

"This in turn is essential to maintain the vibrancy and long term sustainability of the village. We do not agree that this is outweighed by any harm the building may cause to the setting, character and views to and from the heritage setting. The proposed building will provide a positive contribution to the universal language of Saltaire.

A spokesman for the architects described the changes, saying: "The design of the new building has been developed and changed so as to accommodate as many of the comments received as possible.

"This has included additional areas of natural stone walling and the substitution of grey zinc roofing in lieu of the green zinc and copper originally proposed.

"The design minimises the impact on important views within the Village, and is set back from all frontages. The new greenhouses will maintain the site’s historical association with gardens."

The Council had originally aimed to decide on the application by May, but when the amendments were made postponed any decision to allow the public more time to comment.

The changes have led to The Salt Foundation and the Council's World Heritage Site officer backing the plans.

But many residents still object, including Eric Jackson, of Ada Street, Saltaire, who wrote to the Council saying: "The superficial amendments to the plans fail to address the real issue.

"This is a World Heritage Site, not a 1970s industrial estate. Don't deface one of Bradford's main attractions - it would be short-sighted and irresponsible."

College principal Nav Chohan said: “Thank you to all the groups and individuals that have offered feedback on the development. From local residents to English Heritage and the Council, all have contributed to a better design for the future students."