Major plans for a tower block of student flats behind the Alhambra Theatre and Odeon building have been refused by planners because they would “detract from the character and appearance” of the area.

The 16-storey building was first proposed last year, and although applicant Castlebrook Properties has since reduced its size by several stories, Bradford Council still deemed the building to large for the the city centre conservation area.

The original scheme, planned for the site of the former Castaways nightclub, would have housed 263 students and three shops and cafes. It involved the conversion of a grade II listed warehouse building into a cafe.

After objections from Bradford Council officers the company agreed to reduce its size, and even added an area of public art to the proposals.

But these changes were not enough to satisfy planning officers, who refused the application because of the building’s scale and because residents of the flats would be affected by noise from a neighbouring nightclub.

A third reason for refusal was because the building would “compromise” any future development of the area.

Since the plans were first announced there have been objections from English Heritage, which called the plans “obtrusive and jarring”, and the Council’s heritage officer John Akroyd, who called the proposed building “a monolithic modern structure” that would “reduce the (Alhambra) theatre towers to insignificant urban components”.

The refusal statement said: “The proposed development would detract from the character and appearance of the city centre conservation area by reason of its height, scale and massing.

“It would create an obtrusive feature in the street scene, failing to preserve or enhance the character of the area.”

The application’s transport statement said the Alexandra car park next to the site could be used by parents dropping off and collecting students at the start of each semester – but the car park is itself subject to another planning application.

Bradford College hopes to build a £10 million new technology building on the site, meaning there would be limited parking for the hundreds of students living at Castlebrook’s proposed building. No-one at Castlebrook could be contacted for a comment.