AN independent coffee shop could soon be opening up in one of Bradford’s most prominent buildings.

Plans have been submitted by Michael Ryan for a cafe in an empty unit in the Grade I listed Wool Exchange, one of the grandest buildings in the city centre.

If approved by Bradford Council, the new coffee shop would open in the former ATOS offices on the corner of Bank Street and Hustlergate.

The application says the plan is to transform the “drab” interior of the empty office into a cafe that makes the most of the building’s Victorian heritage.

Built in the 1860s and designed by Lockwood and Mawson, the Venetian Gothic Wool Exchange is currently home to Waterstones book store and a number of smaller shops, including a newsagent and pizza shop. Other businesses including Thorntons and Panini Shack have left their units in the building in the past year.

The planning application says: “The aims of the proposal as a Coffee Shop are to enable more economical growth to the city centre allowing the people of Bradford to benefit from a local business sourcing and selling local produce.

“The new design will incorporate Victorian inspired joinery items such as wall panelling, balustrading and fireplaces.

“The furniture specified within the design will be based on the style and design of similar pieces from the Victorian era. The proposed design aims to compliment the buildings Victorian gothic style and portray elements within the interior that form a connection to the architectural significance for this site.

“The offerings made by the coffee shop will help draw in people from the city giving them the opportunity to experience and interact with one of the city’s most historic buildings and at the same time support the local suppliers and businesses.”

The cafe would be a welcome addition for the city centre after numerous shop closures since the opening of the Broadway Shopping Centre in late 2015.

Si Cunningham, chairman of Bradford Civic Society, said: “I’m very pleased to see plans for a quality indie coffee shop at one of Bradford’s most prestigious sites, and I particularly welcome the preservation of original features in the designs I’ve seen so far.

“The Wool Exchange is an absolute beauty of a building, so deserves to be full of life and showcased in all its glory.

“I hope to see more cafes and restaurants choosing to set up shop there soon. It’s been under-used for far too long.”

Bradford Council is expected to make a decision on the change of use application later this summer.