SENIOR councillors will be asked to approve additional funds to safeguard the planned relocation of Bradford Coroners' Court.

Earlier this month, a planning application was Bradford Council to convert a building on Cater Street in Little Germany into the new court - replacing the existing outdated facility based within Bradford Magistrates' Court.

As well as the change of use for 1 Cater Street to a coroners' court, the application is also to separate the building, constructed in 1862, from a building on Peckover Street - which it is attached to by shared doorways. A report to Bradford Council's decision-making Executive says the existing premises are "not fit for purpose" and do not comply with current Health and Safety and Disability Discrimination Act requirements.

It says: "A coroner's inquest can be a traumatic, distressing and difficult experience for anyone involved and the prescribed standard is to provide a welcoming and safe environment for the bereaved. The existing accommodation does not provide this.

"Additionally: The families and witnesses access HMCO (Her Majesty's Coroner's Office) through the main Magistrates’ Court entrance, where they are required to queue to enter and are searched alongside other Magistrates’ Court attendees.

"The waiting area for HMCO is a corridor with little privacy; there are no meeting rooms available to adjourn for private and confidential conversations.

"The location of the current HMCO, facing City Park, is not commensuratewith the privacy required for grieving families. Noise generated by visitors to City Park can seem inappropriate and distracting to families during inquest proceedings."

It says there is "strong stakeholder support and engagement" for the scheme, with both Calderdale and Kirklees Councils "wholly supportive of the proposals".

On the current timeline, work is expected to begin in March next year, with the relocation taking place in December. The report outlines that the budget of £2.35m approved in July 2018 would be revisited once the project scope was "fully defined" and that "through numerous site surveys and developing understanding of HMCO requirements, there has emerged a more comprehensive list of elements which were excluded from previous cost plans".

The coronial area covers the local authority areas of Bradford, Kirklees and Calderdale.

The report says: "There is no capital contribution from Kirklees Council and Calderdale Council; however, it is anticipated that Kirklees and Calderdale will contribute towards initial set-up revenue costs and increased annual revenue costs. Currently Bradford Council funds HMCO 44.98 per cent, Kirklees Council 37.1 per cent and Calderdale Council 17.92 per cent."

The cost build-up is classed as 'not for publication', so is not detailed in the report, but councillors are recommended "to approve the additional capital funds required to meet the current budget deficit and to authorise the Strategic Director Corporate Resources, in consultation with the Leader, to take all necessary decisions to implement the decision".

The meeting will take place on Tuesday, October 6, from 10.30am.