A PROPOSAL to turn a city centre building into a modern arts hub has been given a major boost.

Late last year Bradford based Fuse Art Space revealed plans to transform the HR Jackson Building on Darley Street.

The group, currently based on Rawson Square, had been awarded a grant to investigate the viability of moving into the building - which was most recently used as a furniture store.

And now Fuse has revealed that it has been approved as part of a scheme to restore empty city centre buildings to their Victorian glory.

The project has been approved for Stage 1 of a Townscape Heritage Grant.

Top of town buildings first to benefit from Lottery cash

The Lottery funded regeneration scheme provides funding and support for building owners to restore buildings in the Top of Town area of Bradford.

In total £2 million has been allocated to improve buildings in the area.

Fuse’s proposals for the five storey building include creating new gallery spaces, a cafe/bar, a performance space with world-class sound equipment, artist studios, education space, offices, a “micro-cinema,” and accommodation for artists.

The group will now have to provide detailed plans for the building before they move to the next stage of funding.

A spokesman said the inclusion in the heritage scheme will “be a substantial contribution to the capital costs of our project.”

Funding will see the building repaired, with the restoration of any period features and removal of any modern additions.

Richard Middleton, Bradford Council Project Officer for the Townscape Heritage Scheme, said: “Fuse Art Space’s bold ambitions for this fine old building on Darley Street are an excellent opportunity to continue all the positive regeneration work going on in the city.

“Alongside, the National Lottery Heritage Fund supported Bradford City Centre Townscape Heritage Scheme, and new project for the new market on Darley Street, there will be much to admire at the Top of Town.”

The HR Jackson building was constructed in the Victorian era as an upmarket department store, and also has an entrance on Piccadilly.

It is located in the Bradford City Centre Conservation Area, but has struggled to find a new occupier in recent years.

The Townscape Heritage scheme was set up to breathe new life into long neglected city centre buildings.

It is hoped that the scheme will not only bring buildings back into use, but could also help reverse damage done by inappropriate modern additions to Victorian buildings.