Angry residents have won their battle to prevent an empty Bradford community centre being turned into a restaurant and takeaway after the development was refused planning permission.
More than 90 objection letters, including one from Liberal Democrat MP for Bradford East David Ward, were submitted to Bradford Council in a bid to prevent the plan to convert St John’s Community Centre on Fagley Road into a food outlet. The application was rejected by Bradford Council’s planning department on Friday on the grounds of insufficient parking provision and unacceptable disturbance to nearby homes.
Mr Ward said: “After the strength of feelings that this caused locally, refusal was the only wise and sensible option. The parking issue alone would have caused chaos on what is already a very busy road. It is now time to look at other uses for the building, to try and ensure it makes a full contribution to the local community.”
Plans were submitted in January to change the ground floor of the building into a restaurant and juice bar, with proposed opening hours of 7am to 11pm. This prompted complaints from residents of neighbouring streets, including Rowan Court and Jordan Way, which is situated directly behind the building. They organised a petition against the proposed development, highlighting concerns over parking and traffic congestion, the lack of demand for another takeaway in the area, disturbance from increased noise, smells and litter, and a loss of privacy.
Officers from Highways Development Control at Bradford Council said the site, which has only six car parking spaces, would have needed 50 to satisfy requirements, adding that the proposal was “likely to increase accident potential and prejudice pedestrian and highway safety.”Mohammed Parvez, of Bradford-based company Sphere AD, said the proposal to change the use of the building, which was converted to a community centre in 1999 after the demolition of St Johns United Reform Church, would have created jobs for six full-time and eight part-time staff.
He added: “I am not fully aware of the final decision, so cannot comment any further at this stage.”