Councillors have hailed the “wonderful” news that an eyesore site near Otley town centre is to be turned into a home for the elderly.
The Diocese of Bradford has confirmed the plan for the old All Saints Middle School annexe and its grounds, off Bridge Street.
Councillors had publicly challenged the Diocese earlier this year to either crack on with a redevelopment or demolish the building and clear the land, which has remained unused for years.
The Archdeacon of Bradford, the Ven Dr David Lee, has now told the Gazette & Observer that things are finally moving forward.
He said: “The Diocese of Bradford is delighted that we have been able to identify a new use for this site after a number of promising possibilities did not materialise.
“The plan is to create a residential home, which is near the river for relaxation and also near the town centre.
“This is an excellent project and the Diocese is 100 per cent behind it.”
Ward and town Councillor Colin Campbell said: “I welcome the news that something is at last about to be done with this major site.
“It has been an eyesore for a number of years and despite complaints from councillors and residents nothing has happened to improve it.
“I would hope that work can progress swiftly to bring forward a plan for the area which will reflect its important riverside position, produce a building we can be proud of, and clean up the site.”
The Town Council’s Environment and Tourism committee chairman, Councillor Lawrence Ross, said: “It’s wonderful that something’s going to be done because it’s currently a bit of an eyesore in the centre of Otley.
“There’s obviously a local demand for senior residential accommodation and I think the location is fine, it would allow the residents to still be part of the community and enjoy a wander around the shops and the park, rather than be away on the edges of the town.
“I can’t see any real problems, it would be a good use of the land and these kinds of places don’t normally attract much traffic.
“Together with the proposed development at Garnett’s this, if it’s done sympathetically, will add to the attractiveness of the town.
“I just hope it gets done quickly.”