Bradford city centre bedsits plan dubbed ‘risky’

Godwin Street in bradford
The proposed bedsits will be popular with young professionals and students, said the developer [LDRS]

Plans to turn an old building in Bradford city centre into 38 bedsits have been called “risky” and “alarming” by the city's Civic Society.

The plans include turning one side of a stretch of Godwin Street into a House of Multiple Occupation (HMO).

The developer said the compact homes, with shared kitchens and dining areas, would provide accommodation for those who “desperately need it”.

However, the society said if Bradford becomes “saturated” with small living spaces, it would have a negative impact on the city.

A decision on the application is expected next month, according to the Local Democracy Reporting Service.

The property is currently vacant office space but management company Jmail Assets said the space is difficult to let commercially due to the “awkward size and shape of the floor plate and lack of modern IT facilities and car parking spaces”.

The “high quality” bedsits would be popular with young professionals and PhD students, it added.

However, the chair of Bradford Civic Society said the rising number of small flats in the city centre could pose a “significant risk” to the vitality of Bradford.

'Physical contribution'

The planning statement, prepared by Jade 3 Architecture, said: “This style of co-living accommodation will meet and fulfil the aspirations of the council.

“There has already been a lot of interest shown in leasing these HMO units by professionals and students which is positive news, especially during these unprecedented and challenging economic times.

“Many city centre large office blocks have already been converted into residential apartments as this is becoming the norm.”

The architecture firm said the tenants of the flats would bring a “physical contribution” to the local economy and make it more social and vibrant.

Si Cunningham, chair of Bradford Civic Society, said: “To be honest it is a bit alarming to see more office to residential conversions of this nature.

"Godwin Street isn’t exactly a pleasant and sleepy backwater either."

Mr Cunningham said there was “no doubt” more houses are needed in Bradford, but said there should be a restriction on the “proliferation of HMOs and other cheap, bedsit-like conversions”.

He added: “We have seen, regrettably, some examples of landlords buying up large properties to convert to HMOs for people, many of whom are vulnerable, from outside Bradford.”

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