BRADFORD’S Civic Society has drawn up a list of buildings they feel urgently need to be regenerated before they are lost forever.

The Telegraph & Argus asked the group, which champions Bradford’s heritage, to identify 10 buildings they hoped to see brought back to life in 2018.

Their list includes a former library, a brutalist skyscraper and a street of derelict Victorian buildings, and the group hopes they can “inspire” developers and building owners.

Bradford Council has said that although it has little power to decide the future of buildings it does not own, it is offering to work with owners. It is hoped that the upcoming Townscape Heritage Scheme, to restore historic buildings, will lead to many city centre properties being regenerated in the near future.

Society chairman Si Cunningham said: “It’s never an easy task to pick out buildings in need of urgent attention when there are so many worthy contenders in Bradford, but we’ve highlighted the ones we think have the biggest potential to act as a catalyst for wider regeneration.

“Some sites, such as Rawson Place, look set for a transformation in the very near future. But others, like High Point, remain unloved blots on the landscape and don’t offer up any easy or obvious solutions for their transformations. The civic society have had so many messages about that particular brutalist landmark that we’re planning to host a public debate about its future in February.

“We know that there’s no magic wand for bringing many of these buildings back into use, but by identifying at-risk buildings and encouraging conversations about their future usage, we can perhaps inspire developers, landlords and others to take a closer look at the district’s built environment and be a bit more imaginative with their plans.”

The group were asked to identify buildings that have no immediate regeneration plans, ruling out buildings like the Odeon, which is set to be turned into a music venue.

Alan Hall, vice chair of Bradford Civic Society, told the T&A the reasons behind the society’s choices:

l Rawson Place - a row of heritage buildings that have suffered from years of neglect.

“Although this is by far Bradford city centre’s most ‘at risk’ street, there are glimmers of hope. Currently the buildings - many of which are fine examples of Victorian architecture - look like they’re on the verge of collapse. However, the Townscape Heritage Lottery project could make a significant improvement to this row of dereliction, so we have high hopes for its future.”

l Fountain Hall on Fountain Street.

“Built in the mid-19th century and originally a Quaker Meeting House, all that really remains of this semi-derelict building is its Grade II-listed façade. In the 20th century it became a function suite belonging to Busby’s department store, which stood nearby on Manningham Lane. If this area is to become more of a family neighbourhood, Fountain Hall could become imaginatively brought back to life as a community centre, perhaps with an independent cinema and event space.”

l High Point on Westgate, one of the city’s most recognisable buildings. Plans to turn the former YBS building into a hotel have never come to fruition.

“Whether you love it or hate it, High Point isn’t doing Bradford any favours stood empty. Depending on your tastes, it’s a significant example of brutalist architecture and we should seriously consider preserving it rather than demolishing or covering in cheap cladding. Really, it’s Bradford’s only skyscraper and was built to a high spec. A rejuvenated and illuminated High Point could become a symbol of hope on Bradford’s skyline.”

l Carnegie Library, Shipley. Plans to move this library, brick by brick, to a new location as part of a supermarket development recently fell through.

“Bradfordians will be more used to seeing this building derelict than full of life - that’s how long it’s been abandoned. With new family housing being built nearby, we’d like to see Carnegie Library reborn - perhaps as apartments aimed at commuters. Unfortunately, with a busy junction right outside, it’s not the most attractive location. We can only hope improvements to Shipley’s road network might change the fortunes of the Carnegie in future.”

l 39-40 Bank Street - a former YMCA shop in the city centre. Although the upper floors are used, the ground floor unit has steel doors chained shut.

“This building occupies a prime location which is overlooked by two magnificent Victorian buildings – the Wool Exchange and the former Bradford Commercial Bank. However it’s been empty and exposed to vandalism for far too long now. A rejuvenated 39-40 Bank Street would complement them very well and enhance the public realm improvements already carried out in this area. It’s amazing it hasn’t been snapped up as a restaurant or cafe.”

l Upper floors of the Westgate Buildings, opposite Drewton Street.

“At street level this finely proportioned building is currently home to a series of furniture/electrical shops and one food retailer, but much of the upper floor area looks to be unused to the point of dereliction. As a key gateway to the city centre, the building is crying out for restoration to reveal its full architectural glory.”

l William Hicks building - a boarded up Victorian building at the bottom of Piccadilly.

“There are plenty of buildings along Piccadilly which need care and attention, but this building, which was the headquarters of the History and Scientific Institute really does need to be reclaimed and given an appropriate use. At the moment it has trees growing out of it and looks as if it might fall down, such is its decayed state.”

l Low Mill, Keighley - Yorkshire’s earliest surviving cotton mill that has been derelict for years and was recently put on the market.

l Priestthorpe Building, Bingley - a crumbling former school building that has stood empty since 2002. Its owners Bradford Council are currently accepting offers for the building.

l Feversham Street First School - a Victorian schoolhouse that was last year named in the Top Ten Endangered Buildings by the Victorian Society.

Councillor Alex Ross-Shaw, Bradford Council’s Executive Member for Regeneration, Planning and Transport, said: “The district and in particular the city centre has many fine heritage buildings which have been sympathetically restored and put to excellent new uses, for example The Wool Exchange, Eastbrook Hall, and buildings on North Parade.

“We are limited in what we can do with buildings that are not owned by the council, but are in the hands of private companies. However, we are continually looking at ways we can support building owners in restoring and improving heritage properties.

“For instance, we are working hard on our second round submission of the Townscape Heritage Scheme, having delivered a successful scheme in Keighley and, to breathe new life in to the Top of Town area of the city which includes Rawson Place, Darley Street, Northgate, Piccadilly, Upper Piccadilly, Duke Street and James Street.

“We have already made contact with a number of property owners in the area to talk about their ambitions for the area, what the grants could achieve, and how the council could support their projects.

“Regeneration never stops, but it can take some time.

“As Bradford’s economy continues to grow we should see some of these buildings brought back into use or restored as the investment becomes more viable. We stand ready to support any building owner who is looking to restore their property.”