The University of Bradford has finalised the sale of its business school’s former headquarters to the Greensville Trust and is expected to create up to 100 new jobs. A new chapter in the trust’s history has seen them buy the 14-acre site that includes the three Grade II listed buildings, including the Heaton Mount and Emm Lane buildings.
The sale was secured by commercial real estate firm Avison Young.
A brief history of the site
Heaton Mount was first built in 1886. It was then sold to textile manufacturer John Ambler for £9,750 in the 1890s. Over the years, it has been first a family home and then a school, and in 1955, there was a legal battle to stop Shell Mex and BP Ltd developing the grounds into a filling station.
It was purchased by the University in 1967 to form the headquarters of its expanding business school.
The estate comprises nine buildings, including the Grade II listed Emm Lane Building and adjoining Sir Titus Salt Building, 44,600sq ft (4,144sq m), which includes a lecture theatre, restaurant and atrium. Heaton Mount, 24,200sq ft (2,249sq m), also Grade II listed, includes a 42-bedroom hotel extension, complete with dining and professional kitchen facilities, meeting rooms and adjacent lecture halls, and boasts a civil wedding licence.
Heaton Mount was one of the first houses to be built in the area. Its frontage is 90ft, not counting the large conservatory. Striking features in the façade include extremely large bay windows on either side of the porch, which extend up to the roof and have interior dimensions of 15ft by 7ft, almost forming small rooms in themselves.
Why are they selling?
The site, first acquired by the university in 1967, was sold following the School of Business moving into a modern, more efficient building on the University’s city centre campus in 2019.
The University has said that the decision to sell was part of its continuous goal of improving student experience and a commitment to sustainability and accessibility. The move will also reduce general running and maintenance costs of the Emm Lane site.
Stuart McKinnon-Evans, chief finance officer at the University, said:
“We are very pleased the Trust is taking over this site. The work they do complements the University’s own efforts to benefit the community.
“We think they will be a great addition to the city and the district, and we look forward to working with them to improve opportunities for people in Bradford.”
What is the Greensville Trust?
The Greensville Trust is an Islamic community group that is currently headquartered in Liverpool. It intends to convert the site for mixed purposes, including community use, adult education, a primary school, nursery care, and leisure and function spaces.
The trust also runs educational and outreach programmes, including GCSE booster classes to help young people raise attainment levels, food banks, outreach to prisons (including deradicalisation projects) and employment workshops.
The trust’s values includes promoting peace, freedom, social progress and equal rights and human dignity – as enshrined in the Charter of the United Nations.
The trust also hopes the work in Bradford will address important challenges around health inequalities, deprivation, and crime. It will work with local NHS and health providers to offer an affordable gym to help reduce health inequalities.
It also aims to work with the local council and police to tackle antisocial behaviour, by offering apprentice and new business start-up opportunities, encouraging more people into education, and offering bespoke physical activities.
In addition, there will be open days, organised visits to mosques, and trips to arts and cultural events beyond the region.
Reaction from the chair of the trust
Trust chairperson Mohammed Amer Siddiq said they hoped to create around 100 jobs in the coming years.
“Greensville Trust is truly humbled to be granted the responsibility for preserving and further enhancing this prestigious and historic site, as we firmly believe that it will present us with a plethora of opportunities to further our charitable and educational endeavours.
“It is our intention to become an integral part of the wider Bradford community and to maintain positive links with the University.
“We intend to be a good neighbour, partner and anchor organisation within the city of Bradford and by working alongside communities, partners organisations from other faiths and non-faith, public, private and community/voluntary organisations contribute towards nurturing a healthy, happy, culturally and economically vibrant Bradford.
“This exciting acquisition will deliver a range of new amenities which will include education, nursery, skills development, business centre providing valuable business space, hotel, spa and fitness facility, wedding hall, conference centre, mosque/prayer facility, cafe, restaurant and more.
“When fully operational, the trust is hoping to create over 100 employment and apprentice opportunities which the residents and wider Bradford community will benefit greatly from.”