A CITY centre mill could be demolished and replaced with a new £13 million 'Future Technologies Centre' (FTC). 

Bradford College is planning to replace Junction Mill on Thornton Road with a new building where young people could learn skills needed for industries including electric vehicles and 3D printing.

A planning application for the four-storey building follows an announcement that the college would get £13m of funding from the Department for Education as part of the Further Education Capital Transformation Fund.

If approved, the Thornton Road facility will provide a new home for the college’s Automotive and Digital Engineering Department. The department will move from Bowling Back Lane to the new building.

The college says the building will likely open in 2025 and as many as 650 students could be enrolled at the centre.

Bradford College’s main campus is on Great Horton Road, and many of the older buildings in its estate shut after the opening of the £36m David Hockney Building in 2014.

The planning application says the development would create 1,950 square metres of new teaching and learning space in the city centre.

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Junction Mill on Thornton RoadJunction Mill on Thornton Road (Image: newsquest)

The mill is part of Bradford’s Goitside Conservation Area, but the college claims the benefits of the new facility will outweigh the loss of the former mill building.

The application says: “The FTC will be the college’s new home for its automotive and digital engineering department, accommodating cutting-edge industry-relevant facilities.

“It will respond to the emerging skills needs of the automotive and digital engineering industries such as electric/hybrid vehicles, advanced manufacturing and digital/3D design.

“This will represent an extremely high-level offering in terms of quality of teaching space, quality of facilities, and quality of the skills that students will learn, representing a substantial social and economic benefit to the city.”

Referring to the loss of the mill, the application adds: “While the loss of the existing former mill building will cause a certain degree of harm, the asset is of ‘low significance’, and the proposals have been found to preserve the setting of the Conservation Area and other associated heritage assets.”

It says the existing building is in “poor condition” and likely contains asbestos.

It adds: “Even if it were financially viable to do so, the space that it would be possible to create through utilisation of the existing building would not be suitable for the college’s needs or the particular requirements of the new teaching accommodation.”

A decision on the application is expected in February.