An at-risk Grade II-listed mill building in Silsden could soon get a new lease of life as houses – if a developer is willing to take it on.

Waterloo Mill in Howden Road is protected by English Heritage, but a prominent part of it – the Weaving Shed – has been little more than a facade of the original building for several years.

English Heritage has been monitoring the entire Waterloo Mill complex, an important part of Silsden’s manufacturing heritage, amid fears it is gradually deteriorating and could fall into disrepair.

Now Bradford Council has granted planning permission to turn the shed building into five townhouses. Architects behind the plans hope a developer now purchases the building and secures its future. They believe the development could lead to similar regeneration projects in the area.

Plans to refurbish the decaying building date back to 2004, but have only had the backing from English Heritage in recent years.

Architect Edward Park, of Leeds-based Park Designed, said the development was the perfect way of protecting an important feature in the town while providing much-needed housing that did not require the loss of green space.

Waterloo Mills dates back to the golden age of West Yorkshire industry. Built in the 1870s for Charles Hastings and Co, the textile mill includes an engine room with one of the few surviving examples of a vertical steam engine. The site is dominated by a large chimney.

It is currently used as both flats and business space.

The building’s current owners, the Bachelier family, hope the building is now redeveloped, although they are unable to do it themselves.

The approved plan sees an extra floor added to the building, with the original features restored.

Mr Park added: “The owners had a building that was falling down. but still wanted to do something with it.

“We are now looking for someone to take this on. It has full planning approval, so we need a developer to come on board and take things forward. It is an incredible scheme.”