A “PROUD old building” that has been a church and consulate since it was built in the 1870s could be the latest city centre property to be converted into flats.

Grade II listed Iqbal House on North Parade was, until recently, the home of Bradford’s Pakistani Consulate but was built as a Church Institute.

Arguably one of the most impressive buildings in the city’s Top Of Town area, the building is now subject of a planning application that could see the entire building brought back into use.

The ground floor unit, Stafforce recruitment company, would remain, but the rest of the building would be converted into 14 flats, some of which are duplex apartments, with new office space created in the basement.

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Referring to the basement, the application says: "The last use was an unauthorised cannabis farm, and prior to that a gymnasium/fitness centre.” 

The application says many of the buildings heritage features will be restored, and the work would help reverse some of the “dereliction” that plagues many buildings in the area.

The plans say the applicants have consulted Bradford Council’s Townscape Heritage scheme. The lottery funded project provides support for building owners to restore heritage buildings in the city centre. Buildings on North Parade, Darley Street and Rawson Road and other Top of Town streets are eligible for the support.

The building was designed by Andrews and Pepper, local architects who were also responsible for designing Bradford buildings like Manningham Mills and the Register Office on Manor Row.

Parts of the North Parade building’s interior has been subject to some “odd” alterations in the past - the application says.

Put forward by CRL Architects, the application also calls for a small extension to the rear of the building, built in the 1920s, to be demolished.

Features like stained glass windows will be retained.

The application adds: “The proposal is of benefit to the surrounding area in that it brings in residents to an area that in the past has been akin to a ghost town after businesses have closed for the day.

“In effect, it helps to make the area self policing and brings a proud old building back into use, rather than the dereliction and empty space that currently plague it and others in the nearby area.

“The proposals are the result of a detailed assessment of the building and its origins.

“These are robust and achievable with the assistance of grants which will support the detailed restoration works.

“The desirability of residential accommodation in the city centre is established and the proposals will support the Council’s aim to bring 24/7 activity into the city centre.”

On the application, Bradford Civic Society said: “We welcome the refurbishment of this prominent Bradford building, which appears to be providing much-needed spacious and high-quality accommodation for the city centre.

“Bradford Civic Society is very supportive of the council’s Townscape Heritage project, although we would hope to see the shopfront refurbished at the same time to really enhance North Parade at street level.”

A decision on the application is expected in late June.