PLANS to convert a mill building into flats have been approved - despite the fact that the new homes will be right next to an operational weaving mill.

Skipton Properties’ ambitious plans for Bridgehouse Mills in Haworth were first approved in 2017. Originally the developer planned to build dozens of houses to the rear of the site, and convert the mill and a large building occupied by Wyedean Weaving into flats.

Wyedean would then re-locate to a purpose built factory on the site as part of an agreement with Skipton Properties.

Some of the work has already been carried out - the new factory was built and 63 homes have been constructed and occupied.

But the deal between Wyedean and Skipton Properties fell apart, and the long established company is remaining in its current building.

Despite this, Skipton Properties have pushed ahead with plans to convert the rest of the mill building into flats.

At a meeting of Bradford Council’s Regulatory and Appeals Committee on Thursday, members were asked to approve a slightly different application - for 23 apartments in the mill building.

Housing plan for Haworth mill gutted by fire a decade ago is approved

The mill apartments were originally due to be for over 55 occupancy only, but Skipton had applied to lift this condition.

During the discussion, several people raised concerns that the application would see residential flats right next to a factory that operates well into the night.

Councillor Rebecca Poulsen (Cons, Worth Valley) said: "We'll have industrial use and residential use in one building. that is very unusual and clearly not ideal. It is likely to cause conflicts over noise.

"It would not be right for extra conditions to be imposed on Wyedean."

Richard Irving, representing Wyedean, said the company had "grave reservations" over parking for the flats, access to the site and concerns that the factory could suffer from noise complaints by new residents.

Jo Steele, representing Skipton Properties, said "Planning policy supports new uses for listed buildings. This will allow a listed, restored building to be brought back into use."

Officers told the committee that the plans included extensive measures to prevent noise from the factory being heard by residents of the new flats.

Councillor Alan Wainwright (Lab, Tong) said: “Having worked in industry and on conveyor belts in my early years, I remember it is quite a noisy environment. I wouldn’t want to see a company shut down because people moving into these flats start making noise complaints about a long established business.”

The committee had been advised to approve the plans, and members acknowledged it would be very difficult to refuse these plans when a similar scheme had already been approved.

Councillor Mike Ellis (Cons, Bingley Rural) said he had supported the original application, and was disappointed with the new changes. If I knew this would be the situation I don’t know if I would have supported it as strongly as I did.

“We are having to come to a judgement of a particular planning application. As much as I dislike this in certain ways, I can find no reason in planning law that we can go against the officer recommendation.”

Chair Councillor David Warburton (Lab, Wyke) said: “It is difficult, in that the original plan was for the commercial part of the building to move out to another part of the site.

“However, we are where we are, and the business is staying in that location."

Members then voted to approve the plans.

After the meeting a spokesman for Skipton Properties said: "The 23, one and two bedroom lateral apartments Skipton Properties will create there will breathe new life into a local landmark and feature design details inspired by its industrial heritage. It is anticipated that the first apartments at Bridgehouse Mills will be ready this Winter."