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Design row puts Bradford regeneration on hold

Robinson Architects' £350 million Bradford regeneration scheme has hit major setbacks after developers and councillors failed to reach a compromise over designs.

The Leeds-based practice has submitted proposals for a massive redevelopment near Bradford canal, but negotiations have reached an impasse over the density and height of the scheme.

Bradford City Council condemned the designs as being too intense for the area, and the proposals have been put to an external review panel, which has yet to come to a decision.

A council spokesperson said: 'The density is off the scale, it's greater than any area in central London. The practicalities also weren't there, the spaces between windows were all wrong. It was very Leeds-derivative and didn't reflect the surrounding area.'

Another major stumbling block between developer, Bradford Channel, and the council was the height of the buildings. The site consists of seven-storey listed warehouses, but Bradford Channel is pushing for 20-storey apartment blocks.

One of the blocks has already been reduced to 12-storeys, with the other remaining at 20-storeys. Bradford Channel is currently refusing to go any lower, but the council wants each of the new buildings to be no more than seven storeys.

Harold Robinson, chairman of Magellan Properties, Bradford Channel's parent company, said: 'We believe the scheme we have put forward is right for that area of the city, which is derelict, run down and in need of regeneration.'

The planning application will go in front of the external design review panel in August, with a decision being made by the end of that month, and Bradford Council is hopeful the panel will see their side of the argument.

'Negotiations are still going ahead, but it has been taken out of our hands,' said a council spokesperson. 'Hopefully, the panel will decide what's best for the city, and not for the developers.'

by Richard Vaughan

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