A LONG empty site in Bingley is finally on the verge of being re-developed after plans for a retirement village were approved.

The former auction mart site on the outskirts of the town centre has been vacant for over 20 years, and last year retirement home provider McCarthy and Stone revealed plans to redevelop the site, building 104 flats along with communal facilities like a lounge, hobbies room, restaurant and landscaped gardens.

Now, almost a year after the planning application was submitted, Bradford Council has finally approved the development.

A spokesman for the company said they looked forward to “bringing the site in the heart of Bingley back to life” and would be using local construction companies.

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The site is on Keighley Road and measures 4.15 acres. The site was cleared of its remaining buildings, which had become a target for vandalism, two years ago.

McCarthy and Stone provides housing for people over 60, and say the average age of their residents is 79.

As well as 45 retirement apartments, the site will also be an Extra Care scheme made up of 59 apartments, which include providing care and one hot meal a day as part of the service charge.

The former cattle market has stood empty since 1995, and the regeneration of the site has been a major priority for the area’s regeneration since, with several schemes falling by the wayside.

Four planning applications for the site had been refused since 1999, most recent supermarket chain Lidl’s plan to build a new store on the site in 2016. Bradford Council felt that supermarket plan would harm the development of the town centre.

Lidl has since built a new store on the former site of the Bradford and Bingley building.

The retirement village development will be made up of two, four-storey, L shaped buildings.

When the company submitted the application, they said the development would provide a significant boost to Bingley town centre.

They said: “The proposed site is located within easy travel distance of the local village shops and facilities and this creates the potential to contribute to retail expenditure within the local community, shops and businesses.

“Residents will still be independent in their lifestyles and hence reliance on local amenities for shopping, banking, hairdressing and the post office for instance will be crucial.”

After the plans were approved, a spokesman for Bingley Town Council said: “It’s good to see progress being made with unused and derelict sites and the council welcomes investment in our town that benefits the community.”

A McCarthy and Stone spokesman said.“We are very pleased to have gained permission to bring this site in the heart of Bingley back to life.

“We will be looking to use local companies for the construction wherever possible.”

One of the conditions of the application is that the developer install a number of electric vehicle charging points at the site.

Another is that McCarthy and Stone make a £245,000 affordable housing contribution to Bradford Council.