PLANS to redevelop a derelict site in Birkby have cleared the first hurdle.
Kirklees Council has granted outline planning permission to demolish the old Excelsior Works warehouse on St John’s Road and build an apartment block.
The proposals are to retain part of the Victorian stone building’s facade and build 54 one and two-bedroom apartments.
Greenhead councillor Mehboob Khan, whose ward includes Birkby, supported the application.
The site has been blighted by problems. Tiles have been ripped off the roof of the buildings and lead and cable are said to have been stolen.
The buildings are also said to have been used by squatters and drug addicts.
Clr Khan said: “I supported the planning application because I was concerned about the derelict condition of the building and Birkby residents had been in touch wanting to see the building restored because it’s on a main road into the area and it brings down the tone.”
Mr Khan said he hoped work would start soon, but believed the current economic climate could delay the scheme.
“I wonder if, in the present conditions, the applicant will be able to commence works.
“We would be delighted for it to happen as soon as possible.
“The granting of outline permission is a step in the right direction and we hope that progress can now be made in bringing the building back into use.”
A doctor from Dewsbury is behind the plan.
The application said the housing scheme would provide good quality housing and remove the “undesirable” warehouse.
It said the apartment accommodation would be ideal for people looking to downsize or for first-time buyers.
The applicant added: “The proposed residential development will create a significant improvement for the local area in terms of visual improvement.”
Permission had previously been granted for a part-residential scheme on the site.
The agent for the new scheme, Al Samarraie of Bradford-based Archi-Structure, said his client was looking at the project as an investment opportunity.
He said it could be some time before work started.
He said: “We may have to wait for a few months before we do anything.
“The thing in a climate like this is that, even if things are bad when you start building, hopefully by the time you have finished the market has picked up again.”
Permission for the plan has been granted subject to more than 20 conditions.