Plans by Shipley College to build a £1.9 million building in Saltaire have come under fire from critics as far apart as English Heritage and an architect in Pittsburgh, US.
The proposed two-storey building would replace greenhouses beside Exhibition Road and if approved by Bradford Council the college hopes to start construction in June and open in April 2015.
But English Heritage, Yorkshire has now lodged a highly-critical objection with planners which slams the current design for being “harmful to the setting, views and character of Saltaire and its component heritage assets.”
While recognising the educational value of the development, it calls for a brand new competition to find a winning design.
In a five page letter viewable on the council’s planning website, English Heritage is scathing about both the look and quality of the building.
“As a development in a highly sensitive site, we would expect a design of the highest quality; regrettably we do not consider that the current proposals approach this standard,” writes Historical Places Advisor Craig Broadwith.
“We are also unconvinced by the selection of materials to be deployed on the building,” he writes, adding that high quality natural materials relating to “the palette of materials deployed in Saltaire should be deployed in this location.”
And Mr Broadwith concludes: “ We would advise that the design be fundamentally reconsidered and new design proposals informed by a new Heritage impact Assessment should be invited through a design competition.”
Meanwhile American architect Donald Kaliszewski has written to protest to Bradford Council from the Studio for Architecture 1411 Arch Street Pittsburgh, Pennsylvannia.
“I made a pilgrimage to Saltaire in 2004 to experience this UNESCO World Heritage Site. As an architect and urban designer, and world citizen, I object to this proposal,” writes Mr Kaliszewski.
“It is my professional opinion that the proposed demolition of the gardens and construction of the new buildings will do serious harm to the character of the adjacent urban fabric.
“The architecture proposed buildings is not supportive of the WHS architecture in any way. I urge the Council to reject this,” implores Mr Kaliszewski.
However the new design does have support from residents such as Dr Norman Roper of Carlton Road, Saltaire, who has commented to the council: “I look forward to seeing the new building rising and demonstrating to visitors that the village is not some dated historical relic unable to adapt to the needs of the 21st century,” he writes.
“I was impressed with the considerable trouble which had been taken in the application to fit in as far as possible with the surrounding village without sacrificing purpose.
“The new building with its very modern greenhouse accommodation will be a fitting replacement to the facilities which are available to the students at the College at present.”
Nav Chohan, principal of Saltaire College said all views on the proposed building were welcome.
"Clearly any new build in Saltaire will prompt both positive and negative comment from organisations and the community. Such feedback is a crucial part of the planning process and comments will be considered."