The New Collaborative Learning Trust hopes to open New College Bradford in September 2019.
Bradford Council has approved a £19 million scheme to build a sixth form college in the city centre.
New College Bradford, which will eventually have 1,200 students, will be built on the former site of Britannia Mills, off Portland Street and next to Trafalgar House Police Headquarters.
The college is due to open next September, and building work can now start after the plans were approved by the Council’s Regulatory and Appeals Committee yesterday.
The site is allocated as a leisure site, and was originally purchased by the Council as the location of a possible leisure centre and swimming pool. But those plans fell through, and the site was sold on to the Education Funding Agency to make way for the new school.
The committee was told that no private developers had come forward to build a pool on the site, and so it was acceptable to build the school – despite the leisure site designation.
The plans had been submitted by the New Collaborative Learning Trust, which runs New College Pontefract.
West Yorkshire Police had raised concerns about the plans, saying people dropping students off might park in front of the police station, blocking officers in. Planning officer Malcolm Joy said: “If police see people parking there they can ask them to move, as they will be parking illegally.”
He added: “The need has been identified for a city centre college. A lot of schools are closing their sixth forms. There are very few other sites in the city centre that could be used for this. This site is just five minutes’ walk from the Interchange.”
He said the nearest site suitable for a new school would be Thornton Road, but that was further out of the centre.
Members unanimously approved the plans.
The college will start with 500 students, and after three years will accommodate 1,200 pupils and around 110 full-time and 30 part-time staff.
The building will be five-stories tall, and the development will also include a new outdoor social space, landscaping and parking for 71 cars and 60 cycles.
There will also be an activity centre with a gym, a four-court sports hall and dance, drama and music studios.
Work to prepare the site for building has already begun.