OVER 160 flats on a Bradford site built to be a "utopian estate" will be demolished and replaced with more modern homes.

Accent Housing says the 1970s flats at Ripleyville were inspired by a new discredited urban design technique, which has led to issues with anti-social behaviour and social isolation.

The Shipley based company has submitted an application to flatten the site, off Spring Mill Street off Manchester Road, and build "a place where people choose to live."

Residents of the existing homes are being re-homed and the company says the site has been mothballed in preparation for the redevelopment.

The planning application is for the demolition of the existing properties on the site - 164 one and two bed homes, and the construction of a "high quality residential scheme" of 73 homes.

Ripleyville dates back to the 1860s, and was designed as an industrial model village built for philanthropist Henry William Ripley, manager of the Bowling Dyeworks.

It included almost 200 workmen's cottages, a school, church and allotments, with a rail station following in the 1870s.

By the 1950s the estate had lost some of its charm - with many homes still gas powered and some properties appearing neglected.

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Many of the homes on the site were demolished by the Bradford Corporation in the 70s under its "Bradford Development Plan" - which involved the clearing of a number of Victorian estates.

An area of land between Baird Street and Ripley Street was razed to make way for what the application describes as a "new utopian estate creating a range of larger apartments."

The 1970s homes were built using the Radburn design - a design of housing estates that position homes facing each other, with shared gardens or yards in between and separate car access.

The Radburn design for homes began in America, and soon became popular around the world. In the UK estates like Orchard Park in Hull and swathes of Skelmersdale were built using the design.

But the problems that Accent says have led to the decline of Ripleyville have also been seen in other estates that adopted this design.

The planning application says: "Built in the 1970s, the Ripleyville Estate adopted a Radburn Layout where pedestrian and car movements were separated.

"It is often referred to as an urban design layout that it typified by failure because of its laneways and interconnected green squares being used as common entries and exists to houses - helping to isolate communities and encourage crime, with roads and car courts poorly surveilled."

The application claims that incidents of anti-social behaviour and crime on and around the site have "damaged the reputation of the area."

It says some estates that followed the Radburn layout have been reconfigured, but suggests it would be impossible to do this for Ripleyville without completely rebuilding the site.

Accent says the plan to redevelop the estate with high quality family homes had been developed over a number of years, and that "residents have been re-housed across the city, and the estate has been mothballed in readiness for demolition and comprehensive redevelopment."

Everyone one the site will have been "decanted" to other homes by December - according to the application.

The new houses would create a "vibrant and sustainable community at Ripleyville, providing 73 new properties, all of which will be available for affordable rent."

There will be nine one bed flats, five two-bed flats, 10 two-bed homes, 37 three-bed houses and six homes with four or more bedrooms.

Referring to the design of the new estate - which developers hope will avoid the pitfalls of the Radburn design, the application says: "New streets have been designed as a shared surface which prioritises pedestrians and cyclists, incorporates rain gardens and landscape features."

The roads would be typical of other estates, linking Spring Mill Street and Bowling Old Lane rather than leading to dead ends within the site.

There would also be a community garden on land at the corner of Baird Street and Spring Mill Street.

The application says that Accent began to re-locate residents in October 2020, and as of last month there were just 14 flats occupied, with the site expected to be completely vacated by the end of the year.

The company contacted residents about the different options for the site's future, and that the majority of residents who responded said they were in favour of being relocated and the site demolished.

A decision on the application is expected in December.