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Back to the future for Keighley Victorian building
The renovation of a Victorian building in Keighley could lead to the whole block returning to its former glory, hopefully in time for the Tour de France cycle race.
Plans to renovate 30 North Street were given the go ahead by Bradford Council on Wednesday, and last night the council’s Keighley Area Committee heard how the project could kick-start similar improvements.
The building will benefit from the Townscape Heritage Initiative, a £2.7 million project to improve the town’s historic buildings and funded by the Heritage Lottery and Bradford Council.
Tax Assist, based in a rented unit next to 30 North Street, recently bought the building, and plan to move in later this spring. When they do, they will transform the current shop from an “unsympathetic” frontage with UPVC windows to what the building would have looked like when it was built in 1891.
Although not listed, North Street lies in the Keighley Conservation Area. But rather than a shining reminder of the town’s past, the road has been blighted by empty shops, for sale signs and alterations that do little to reflect its heritage.
The road will be particularly significant next summer, when the world watches the Tour De France pass through the town on its Yorkshire leg.
Tax Assist, which will pay for 80 per cent of the renovations while the THI funds the remaining, will turn the building into offices. The council’s heritage officers have given them drawings of what the building originally looked like, and they hope to have the building transformed and ready for business by July.
It would be the third building to benefit from the initiative, following the Keighley Civic Centre and North Street Arcade, and a pot of £1.5 million still remains.
Conservation officer Sue Oakley told last night’s meeting the hope was for other landlords to be inspired by what they see and return their buildings to their Victorian splendour.
She said: “We worked with architects and looked at old plans and old photos. Hopefully when this is finished it will spur on everyone else on the block to do the same.”
Coun Keith Dredge said: “North Street was the commercial centre of Keighley for a very long time so this is a good thing. But we don’t want to just do up the frontages, we need the insides improved as well.”
Mrs Oakley said they would make sure there was no scaffolding on any buildings during the Tour de France race.