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Ilkley Art Trail chiefs' call to fight closure of studio
Organisers of Ilkley Art Trail have condemned plans to close art studios and urged the public to oppose them.
The plea appeared in their latest newsletter after a planning application to turn the present artists’ studios, in Back Nelson Road, into houses was submitted.
They are encouraging the public to submit objections.
Lorna Bird, one of the organisers of the art trail, stated: “It would be a very sad day for Ilkley if it were to lose the artists’ studios at Back Nelson Road.
“Unlike other towns our size, Ilkley has no supported workshops dedicated to artist studios, except these spaces, privately acquired by the artists.
“They are used by painters, screen printers, ceramic sculptors and a glass worker, in one fascinating block. It would be a great and wasteful diminution in what Ilkley has to offer the visitor to lose these spaces for other usage, far less contributory to the community.”
There have been a number of comments posted by members of the public on the planning application, on Bradford Council website, raising concerns including fear that it will affect the character of the conservation area, and issues of parking and traffic. At present artists and craftsmen occupy the two units.
The applicant behind the plan, Mike Hanson, of Town & Country Properties (Wharfedale) Ltd, says the conversion would give the properties a new lease of life, reduce traffic congestion on Nelson Road, and improve present access and parking dilemmas.
He said: “We have applied to convert these historically and culturally-significant buildings and give them a new lease of life.
“Their present use is contributing to the deterioration of the area, with increased traffic. They are commercially unviable and left in their present use would deteriorate further.
“There is a defined need for first-time-buyer housing in the town. This development provides an opportunity to provide further much-needed housing to the community in a sustainable location.”
The company intended to make features of the character of the buildings, he added.
Ilkley Parish Council’s Plans Committee recommended approval of the scheme to Bradford Council. The estimated deadline for the result of the planning application will be announced on January 28.