A VICTORIAN railway station in the Shipley area can be converted into flats after an application to re-develop the site was approved.

The former Shipley and Windhill Station, off Leeds Road, was once the terminus for a rail line that carried passengers between Laisterdyke, Eccleshill, Idle and Thackley and Shipley.

The station, near the Leeds Liverpool Canal, was built in the 1870s and shut in the 1930s. It is only a short distance from the current Shipley Rail Station, at the opposite side of Leeds Road.

In early 2019 a planning application to convert the station building into 13 apartments was submitted to Bradford Council by Hart Woods Development.

The application also called for outline permission to build new housing on the neighbouring land.

Now, the plans have been approved by planning officers.

Proposals to develop the prominent site date back several years - in 2016 a plan to build up to 60 flats on the site was submitted to the Council, and would most likely have led to the demolition of the station building.

But those plans were withdrawn later that year.

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The new plans retain the station building, which is not listed but is in the Leeds Liverpool Canal Conservation Area, and will see it converted into housing.

Detailed plans for the rest of the site will be submitted at a later date, and the application shows how a development of either new build apartments or townhouses could be built near the station.

Access to the site is currently via both Dock Lane and a busy stretch of Leeds Road. The Leeds Road entrance will be fully blocked off to traffic as part of the application, with access for pedestrians and cyclists only.

A Council Heritage officer said: “The station buildings employ an unusual architectural style which was consistent with stations at Thackley and Idle.

“It is a key unlisted building, and hence an undesignated heritage asset in the Conservation Area.

“The former station building remains in relatively good condition with much of its original fenestration. It is welcomed that conversion of the building is now promoted. The alterations proposed are relatively minor and changes are considered thoughtful and fully recognise the character of the building.”

Planning officers said: “It provides the opportunity to provide a more attractive frontage onto Leeds Road and enhance the setting of the Leeds and Liverpool Canal Conservation Area and the Saltaire World Heritage Site.

“The external alterations proposed to the old station building are minimal and therefore the impact on the visual character and appearance of the streetscene and wider locality will be minimal at this stage.

“The scheme provides a residential scheme on an unallocated previously developed site.”

Officers said that because the scheme re-used an existing empty building, the developer would not be required to provide affordable housing as part of the 13 apartment plan. However, the more detailed plans for the new build section of the development, when they are submitted, will likely need to include affordable housing, according to the officer’s report.

Although passenger service on the line ceased in 1931, and the station closed, goods traffic continued on the whole line until 1964 and as far as Idle until 1968.