A LOCAL college is set to expand into a neighbouring old mill building as its improvement plans receive the go-ahead.

Yorkshire Children’s Centre applied to convert Grove Mill in Heckmondwike, which is on the site of Brian Jackson College, an alternative provision centre.

They want to turn the mill building into additional space for education, training and a gym facility too.Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Brian Jackson College is to expand into neighbouring Grove Mill in HeckmondwikeBrian Jackson College is to expand into neighbouring Grove Mill in Heckmondwike (Image: Yorkshire Children's Centre)

Brian Jackson College works with students who have struggled with mainstream education, supporting those with social, emotional and mental health difficulties.

Based in Kirklees, the college has two sites, one in Heckmondwike and the other in Huddersfield.

According to the last Ofsted report in 2019, the Heckmondwike centre, based at Vision House, High Street, catered for 13 to 18-year-olds and had 41 pupils on the school roll at the time.

A design and access statement accompanying the plans states: “The Mill building has been unoccupied for a number of years, it is currently used by the college to store equipment.

“The proposal will provide a modern learning space for the college’s students, with facilities for traditional education and hands-on learning.

“All works will be within the footprint of the existing Mill, making the building safe and fit for purpose due to the condition of the existing building.”

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Brian Jackson College in HeckmondwikeBrian Jackson College in Heckmondwike (Image: Google Street View)

The plans, which have just been approved by Kirklees Council planners, involve converting the ground floor into a gym with changing facilities and a store, and the first floor will be partitioned to create flexible learning spaces.

These include workshops for construction and vehicles, as well as a teaching kitchen, three classrooms and a breakout area.

The report adds that floor strengthening works will need to be carried out to account for an increased load to the construction and workshop areas.

In addition, new windows and doors will be needed to make the space useable – although these will be of a similar scale to the existing openings.

In reaching a decision, Kirklees planning officers state: “The proposal would provide additional education and training facilities at the college and would be located adjacent to the existing college building, thereby reducing any additional travel needs.”

It adds that the changes are expected to result in an additional 12 pupils and five additional teaching staff during college hours.

The overall site was first developed for textile manufacturing in the middle of the 18th Century.

Grove Mill itself was run by Burnley Brook & Co which stopped trading in the early 1900s.

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