Contentious plans to build in a World Heritage Site have been supported by an MP – but only if the development does not put the area’s international standing at risk.

Shipley College has submitted plans to Bradford Council for a two-storey building on land where greenhouses currently stand, next to its Exhibition Building in Saltaire.

It is one of only a handful of new- builds proposed for the UNESCO World Heritage Site in recent years.

Residents fear the new building will stand out against Saltaire’s other buildings, which date back to the 1850s. The exhibition building next to the proposed site was built in 1886 to commemorate the death of Sir Titus Salt.

But the college says the £1.9 million building is vital to secure its future and would provide a much-needed facility for ‘high need learners’. It would also provide outdoor space for students.

The building will increase student numbers by around 75.

Shipley MP Philip Davies said the extension was essential for the college’s viability.

“I absolutely support Shipley College in what they are trying to do,” he said.

“I’d like to see a building in-keeping with the village and that helps the viability of the college.”

The college’s application concedes that views of Salts Mill from some parts of the village would be limited, but adds: “Similar unaffected views are achievable from elsewhere within the village.

“The new building proposed is intelligent and respectful of its historic surroundings.”

The Council said UNESCO would be consulted as part of the plans process. The application will be determined in in May.