A MAJOR new retail park on a key Shipley site has taken a step closer towards becoming a reality.

Outline plans for the development, on the Airedale Mills site in Salts Mill Road have been given the go ahead.

Cardinal Limited, a Bradford-based commercial interiors company, which in 2016 relocated its production facility from the site to new premises in Battye Street, Laisterdyke, Bradford, following the 2015 Boxing Day floods, announced plans to redevelop the site earlier this year.

The firm says the planning permission will enable it to begin to "plan with more confidence for the future". It's also said to be a positive for the long-term health of the company and security of its workforce.

When the plans were first announced, the firm said it required "significant capital investment" in new machinery and training.

"The funds that will be generated from this development are key to enabling this next phase for our business and employees," Managing Director Tim Considine said.

The land was previously subject to a planning application from Sainsbury’s, which was refused by Bradford Council in 2013.

It was part of a fiercely competitive three-way contest to build a new supermarket in the town. Bradford-based Morrisons won the battle, but later confirmed it was pulling out of the scheme for commercial reasons.

The new development is tipped to include three units to accommodate "either food operators, mainline retailers or those selling bulky non-food items together with a drive thru café".

The plans also show a new plaza area giving pedestrian access to the scheme and a central walkway giving access to the River Aire.

John Ackroyd, Conservation Officer for Bradford Council, said of the application: "It is concluded that the demolition of the existing buildings on site will not have an adverse impact on any proximate heritage assets, or the setting of the World Heritage Site.

"Provided any replacement development employs built form and architecture with sufficient merit, and makes an equal or better contribution to the locality, it is anticipated that there will not be an adverse effect on the setting of the World Heritage Site."

Mr Considine, of Cardinal, said: ‘This is a very important decision that the Council has taken, allowing us to begin to plan with more confidence for the future.

"It is also good news for the long-term health of Cardinal and the security of our workforce as we continue our diversification in to all forms of commercial fit out and manufacture, including our development into ‘off-site’ modular/pod manufacture."

Graham Adams, of development partner Morbaine Limited, added: "We are delighted by the positive determination of our planning application by the Council which is very positive for Shipley and secures the much-needed redevelopment of this important site.

"The consent enables us to speak with potential occupiers with confidence that the scheme will be delivered."

Mr Adams said that demolition of existing buildings is already underway and it's hoped construction will begin next year, with an opening possibly in time for Easter 2020.