Contractors have started preparing a city centre site for a £45 million mixed-use development.

Drains and sewers are being surveyed and asbestos is being removed from buildings on the site at the corner of Thornton Road and Godwin Street.

McAleer & Rushe, a leading construction and development company in Northern Ireland, has applied for planning permission for a 200-bed hotel, to be run by the Jurys Inn chain, and 13,500 square metres of offices.

One of Bradford’s leading employers, Provident Financial, is also considering relocating its head office to the site.

The application will go before Bradford Council’s Regulatory and Appeals Panel on March 10 and is recommended for approval subject to a Section 106 agreement.

The plans would then have to be agreed by the Secretary of State because they are at odds with the Replacement Unitary Development Plan, which advocates a retail use for the site.

The preparatory works are taking place on the 1.2 acre site because McAleer & Rushe is keen to make an immediate start on construction once planning permission is granted.

A spokesman for McAleer & Rushe said: “We are just preparing the site by removing asbestos from some of the buildings and doing some survey work on drains and sewers.

“We also want to make the site safe for when development work does begin.”

McAleer and Rushe will have to secure Conservation Area consent to demolish the vacant four-storey buildings at 1-11 Godwin Street to make way for the development.

The planning consultation on the scheme has produced a mixed reaction. Bradford Centre Regeneration has stated that it considers the proposed uses “acceptable” and the employment creation “most welcome”.

Meanwhile, Goitside Development Trust has broadly welcomed the scheme as being good for the area’s regeneration.

But the Victorian Society has opposed the demolition of the buildings on Godwin Street as an “unjustified loss of historic premises” in a Conservation Area. It said retention and refurbishment of the buildings was preferable.

The Council for British Archaeology agreed that a sufficient case had not been made for the demolition of the buildings.

West Yorkshire Police have also responded to the consultation to point out that the proposed development is located in a “high crime area”, with burglary three times the West Yorkshire average and serious violent crime five times the county average.

On that basis, police have urged planners to make crime prevention a material planning consideration and have strongly recommended that a comprehensive CCTV system should be provided to monitor all areas of the development.