Former Bradford Council office block in Little Germany to be turned into 100 flats

Olicana House, Little Germany

Olicana House, Little Germany

First published in News
Last updated

AN EMPTY office block being sold off by Bradford Council is to get a new lease of life as more than 100 flats.

Olicana House, in Little Germany, Bradford, is being sold as part of Bradford Council's Property Programme - a major project to tackle the authority's multi-million pound maintenance backlog.

It is being taken on by Absolute Living Developments Limited, the London-based firm behind the Summer Berry Residences student development in Sunbridge Road, Bradford.

The firm has now been granted planning permission to refurbish Olicana House to create 138 self-contained apartments.

The concrete building, with its 1970s brutalist design, is not known as one of the most attractive buildings in Little Germany, an area more famous for its attractive 19th-century warehouses.

But the move to regenerate the vacant building and bring more people into the conservation area has been welcomed.

Dave West, director of not-for-profit group Little Germany Action, said he hoped the work would see the building's appearance improved.

He said: "It's a building from the 1970s which is absolutely not in keeping with the architecture of Little Germany. Any proposal which improves the appearance of Olicana House to harmonise with Little Germany would be useful."

He said currently around a third of the buildings in Little Germany were empty, so bringing one back into use would benefit the area.

Councillor Andrew Thornton (Lab), the executive member who oversees the Council's Property Programme, said the sale of the Council office for flats was a "win-win" situation which would save the Council money and bring new private investment to the city.

And Councillor Val Slater (Lab), executive member for planning, welcomed the news the offices would become homes, but urged the developer to make sure it was a high-quality project.

She said: "I suspect there's a lot of work to be done on it to turn it into decent flats for people. I hope that will happen.

"We don't want to be in a position, without mentioning any names, where we get complaints where work has been skimped."

Olicana House was first built as in 1913 as a six-storey stone and brick property. A seven-storey steel-framed extension, with concrete cladding panels, was added in 1974.

Staff from Bradford Council, including many from its adult services department, moved out of Olicana House and into its Jacobs Well office in March last year.

Comments (12)

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8:56am Thu 24 Jul 14

dazp says...

More drug dens and empty flats in little germany, don't people ever learn?
More drug dens and empty flats in little germany, don't people ever learn? dazp
  • Score: 7

9:49am Thu 24 Jul 14

StevieLad says...

Really?? More flats in Little Germany?

Gambling on Westfield again
Really?? More flats in Little Germany? Gambling on Westfield again StevieLad
  • Score: 3

9:50am Thu 24 Jul 14

saleemy says...

Was gonna say exactly the same thing.i say leave it standing as is but it will only be eyed up and used for growimg cannabis.but no we need to make bradford better.in reality we make it worse.
Was gonna say exactly the same thing.i say leave it standing as is but it will only be eyed up and used for growimg cannabis.but no we need to make bradford better.in reality we make it worse. saleemy
  • Score: 2

10:35am Thu 24 Jul 14

Albion. says...

"He said currently around a third of the buildings in Little Germany were empty, so bringing one back into use would benefit the area."
If it attracts the wrong people it'll BLIGHT the area.
"He said currently around a third of the buildings in Little Germany were empty, so bringing one back into use would benefit the area." If it attracts the wrong people it'll BLIGHT the area. Albion.
  • Score: 5

2:21pm Thu 24 Jul 14

basil fawlty says...

I thinks its diffult to disagree that on balance bringing a derelict building back into use is a good thing. Unfortuanely the existing building is an eyesore and should ideally be knocked down and replaced with a modern building specifically designed to be more in keeping with the area. But it is possible to upgrade the external appearance of buildings without incurring exorbitant costs so maybe the developer will surprise us.
I thinks its diffult to disagree that on balance bringing a derelict building back into use is a good thing. Unfortuanely the existing building is an eyesore and should ideally be knocked down and replaced with a modern building specifically designed to be more in keeping with the area. But it is possible to upgrade the external appearance of buildings without incurring exorbitant costs so maybe the developer will surprise us. basil fawlty
  • Score: 6

2:42pm Thu 24 Jul 14

sorrow&anger says...

If we have empty office blocks that are only fit for conversion into flats, why does Cllr. Green want to build a load more on the edge of City Park? Does anybody do joined-up thinking at City Hall?
If we have empty office blocks that are only fit for conversion into flats, why does Cllr. Green want to build a load more on the edge of City Park? Does anybody do joined-up thinking at City Hall? sorrow&anger
  • Score: 12

2:56pm Thu 24 Jul 14

Apollo says...

sorrow&anger wrote:
If we have empty office blocks that are only fit for conversion into flats, why does Cllr. Green want to build a load more on the edge of City Park? Does anybody do joined-up thinking at City Hall?
Nope. Next question.
[quote][p][bold]sorrow&anger[/bold] wrote: If we have empty office blocks that are only fit for conversion into flats, why does Cllr. Green want to build a load more on the edge of City Park? Does anybody do joined-up thinking at City Hall?[/p][/quote]Nope. Next question. Apollo
  • Score: 8

7:51pm Thu 24 Jul 14

Alhaurinrhino says...

Another ghetto
Another ghetto Alhaurinrhino
  • Score: -1

7:57pm Thu 24 Jul 14

NO51GET says...

More homes for immigrants......
More homes for immigrants...... NO51GET
  • Score: -2

9:42pm Thu 24 Jul 14

BirchLane-1964 says...

So much for the urban village status that was being branded about a number of years ago! Hardly any businesses remaining and those that are there either can't sell, or can't afford to move. I'm thinking 100 flats is a seriously bad idea, when Westfield is complete just round the corner, the place will be full of benefit cheats, drug dealers and spongers. And they reckon Bradford is on the up!!!!!!!
So much for the urban village status that was being branded about a number of years ago! Hardly any businesses remaining and those that are there either can't sell, or can't afford to move. I'm thinking 100 flats is a seriously bad idea, when Westfield is complete just round the corner, the place will be full of benefit cheats, drug dealers and spongers. And they reckon Bradford is on the up!!!!!!! BirchLane-1964
  • Score: 1

11:42pm Thu 24 Jul 14

MrQuinque says...

Jesus H Christ, the negativity around here is ridiculous. An ugly empty building is being brough back into use by a private investor, and while I feel 138 units gives rather too low an average unit size (less than 500sqft), residential development is the only option for many of Bradford's empty buildings. Cut the number of units and be a little more generous with space, especially on the upper floors of the original stone building and it could attract the right kind of people. And if they do a good job try and convince them to tackle Highpoint.
Jesus H Christ, the negativity around here is ridiculous. An ugly empty building is being brough back into use by a private investor, and while I feel 138 units gives rather too low an average unit size (less than 500sqft), residential development is the only option for many of Bradford's empty buildings. Cut the number of units and be a little more generous with space, especially on the upper floors of the original stone building and it could attract the right kind of people. And if they do a good job try and convince them to tackle Highpoint. MrQuinque
  • Score: 1

9:09am Fri 25 Jul 14

PTN says...

This is bad news for Bradford if its going to be anything like the Summerberry apartments on Sunbridge Rd. That block is a magnet for trouble and is full of the sort of people that you definately would not want for neighbours unless you dont mind the constant flow of drinkers , shoplifters and ladies of the night bringing in their clients. Beleive me , i work very close to it and the police are in and out of there all day.
This is bad news for Bradford if its going to be anything like the Summerberry apartments on Sunbridge Rd. That block is a magnet for trouble and is full of the sort of people that you definately would not want for neighbours unless you dont mind the constant flow of drinkers , shoplifters and ladies of the night bringing in their clients. Beleive me , i work very close to it and the police are in and out of there all day. PTN
  • Score: -1

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