PLANS to transform a historic building with Bronte links into a luxury holiday home and wedding venue have been approved.

Kirklees Council, which owns the former Red House museum in Gomersal, has got the green light to go ahead with its proposals for the site.

The scheme includes a major £600,000 refurbishment of currently-vacant Red House to bring it back into use, and celebrate its Bronte connections.

Dating back to 1660, the Grade II* listed property and its grounds are considered an important heritage asset.

They are associated with Luddite activities and the Taylor family, particularly Mary, a radical feminist and friend of Charlotte Bronte.

Charlotte was a regular guest at the property in the 1830s and gave it a starring role as Briarmains in her novel, Shirley.

Red House operated as a museum from 1970, but falling visitor numbers and rising costs led to its closure in 2016.

The future of the building has since sparked heated debate.

A decision to allow the property to be marketed for private sale prompted a petition from Red House Heritage Group in 2019, which resulted in the council’s cabinet agreeing to explore alternative uses for the site which could maintain it in public hands.

And when the luxury holiday home venture was first mooted, it drew opposition from some Bronte enthusiasts, with one claiming it would "tarnish the purity of the building".

The approved plans include changing the use of the main house and a detached single-storey former cart shed into short-term holiday stays, and the council wants to license the main reception hall for small weddings.

The main building would offer five bedrooms and would be let to one party at a time, and the cart shed would be split into four one-bedroom flats for holiday let.

A report by planning officers, who approved the change of use and listed building consent under delegated powers, states that the council’s own conservation and design department believes the plans will provide a sustainable use for the heritage asset.

"The building has been vacant for several years," it adds.

"The proposed change would provide a sustainable use, helping to secure funding for its future upkeep and preservation. The same goes for the associated cart shed which is to be developed."

Last month, plans were approved for a blue plaque to be installed on the building.

Spen Valley Civic Society had applied for the plaque to honour Mary Taylor.