A BRADFORD housing development designed to be a “utopian” estate is being pulled down to make way for more modern homes.

It is the second time the Ripleyville estate has been flattened to make way for new housing.

Demolition work is well underway on the collection of 1970s homes off Bowling Old Lane, and once the site is cleared Accent Housing will build 73 homes in their place.

Today, representatives from Accent Housing gave a tour of the site, and spoke of how this latest Ripleyville redevelopment would improve on the last.

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Demolition of the Ripleyville estateDemolition of the Ripleyville estate (Image: Newsquest)

Ripleyville began life in the 1860s 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.

In the mid-1900s Ripleyville was beginning to show its age, and in the 1970s the homes were demolished by the Bradford Corporation under its “Bradford Development Plan.”

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Work at the estateWork at the estate (Image: newsquest)

It was replaced by a development of over 160 flats that kept the Ripleyville name.

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

Former residents talk of life on Bradford's Ripleyville

Although the design was meant to create a “utopian” community of shared courtyards – it led to social isolation, crime and anti-social behaviour.

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: The Ripleyville demolitionThe Ripleyville demolition (Image: newsquest)

In 2021, Accent housing announced that it planned to create a third iteration of Ripleyville, re-housing the remaining residents and flattening the site to make way for more modern, eco-friendly homes.

Work on the site is now well underway – with construction equipment gradually razing the empty flats to the ground.

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: The Ripleyville DemolitionThe Ripleyville Demolition (Image: newsquest)

At a tour of the site, Sarah Ireland, Executive Director of Development and Growth at Accent, described the plans as a “really important development.”

She said: “When the Victorian villas were built, they were built to the highest standards. They lasted 80 to 90 years. We hope these homes last just as long.

“These will be fantastic homes built with long term sustainability in mind.”

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Sarah Ireland at the Ripleyville estateSarah Ireland at the Ripleyville estate (Image: newsquest)

Environmental measures will lead to low running costs – she said, and heat pumps could be added to the properties in the future.

Although the homes built in the 70s seemed state of the art at the time, their deficiencies became clear as time progressed. Before the buildings were demolished some flats were plagued with damp.

The new buildings would mainly be family homes, with gardens and parking areas.