Artisan Real Estate unveil ambitious plans for 289 new homes - plus offices, cafe and riverside park

A spectacular vision to transform a vacant office block on the edge of the Salts Mill World Heritage Site in Saltaire, Shipley into a vibrant residential quarter and riverside park is a step closer to reality following the submission of a major planning application to Bradford Council.

Niche developer Artisan Real Estate has unveiled ambitious proposals for the 11-acre site, sandwiched between the River Aire and the Leeds & Liverpool Canal, which was formerly home to an HMRC office complex which closed in October 2021.

Artisan’s plans for its Saltire Riverside development include 289 new homes, more than 5,000 sq. ft. of small commercial office space designed for flexible working and a café facing on to a new ‘pocket’ park and piazza. A sizeable riverside park will seamlessly link the development to the River Aire, providing woodland, grasslands and lawns to act as a natural flood water storage area. Walkways provide direct access to Saltaire Rail Station and the canal towpath, with easy pedestrian and cycle links to nearby Shipley.

The proposal, developed with Yorkshire-based architects Axis Architecture, is the result of a more than 12-months of design planning, underpinned by a comprehensive public consultation programme - including two design workshops with local stakeholders and three major public events.

Artisan Real Estate has a strong track record in delivering complex residential and mixed-use regeneration projects in sensitive urban and city-centre environments – including the award-winning New Waverley in the heart of Edinburgh’s Old Town and the transformation of the historic Everard’s Printworks in Bristol’s Old City. Welcoming the Saltire Riverside planning submission, James Bulmer, Development Director for Leeds-based Artisan North said: “Our proposals for Saltire Riverside herald another significant addition to Artisan’s enviable list of transformational regeneration projects in highly desirable regional locations across the UK.

“Progressing such a large development on the very edge of a UNESCO World Heritage site brings its own set of challenges and responsibilities, and we have taken time to understand and reflect the unique historical contexts of the Salts Mill location. We have spent considerable time working closely with local residents and groups to ensure our plans meet the need, wants and demands of this unique location.”

He added: “We want this to be a modern interpretation of neighbouring Saltaire, bringing much needed sustainable family housing in an accessible, well connected and environmentally responsible setting – with the added advantage of low energy costs and exemplarily green credentials. This is a hugely exciting development that will spectacularly open up a large riverside area that has effectively been closed to the public since the 1970s when the HMRC complex was built. Our proposals will bring excitement, interest and investment to the area and provide a natural, contemporary extension of the existing Saltaire footprint.”

Artisan’s proposed scheme will remove the existing five-storey HMRC building which consists of two large hexagonal office blocks, with a start on site forecast for 2023, dependent on necessary planning permissions. Prior to the HMRC development, the site was used as occasional storage shed area, allotments and grazing land for canal ponies.

Saltaire Village is named after Sir Titus Salt who built a textile mill known as Salts Mill and the supporting village overlooking the River Aire in the second half of the 19th century. Designed by architects, Lockwood and Mawson, Saltaire has beautiful Italianate architecture and a rich history and was designated a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 2001. Saltaire followed in the footsteps of other model settlements in providing a relatively healthy environment for workers to reside and work. The village is considered an outstanding example of mid-19th century philanthropic paternalism and had a profound influence on developments in industrial social welfare and urban planning in the United Kingdom and beyond.