The boss of a Bradford steak house has won a planning battle which could have forced him to shut the diner with the loss of 20 jobs.
But Qaisar Aziz, who co-owns Hanqs Diner in Rooley Avenue with Navinder Hare, said that, despite his victory over the positioning of two extraction flues, Bradford Council was still insisting on taking him to court next week.
He said even though he now has the go-ahead to relocate the flues from the west-facing slope of the roof to the north, the Council was continuing with a bid to get him prosecuted.
“They've said it's in the public interest but I'm saying it's to the cost of the public purse. It's pointless because we've won the appeal now,” he said.
The Council had issued an enforcement notice because it wanted the flues that had been moved to a new position removed. The Council said they were visually intrusive, could cause odour problems for nearby residents and that planning permission was never given for them – points refuted by Mr Aziz.
Now Planning Inspector John Whalley, from The Planning Inspectorate, has said the refusal should be overturned, and granted permission with some conditions.
He said in his report: “I would expect manufacturers of modern fume extractor equipment to be aware of the need to ensure that high standards were achieved. But by applying suitable planning conditions to a permission to move the extractors to the north facing roof at Hanq’s Diner, I consider the worries expressed by the Council and a resident living opposite should be satisfactorily addressed.”
Legal proceedings over the enforcement action had been put on hold until the appeal ended, but the court hearing is still fixed for Wednesday.
“I’m just gobsmacked it’s still going ahead. There’s no point now. We are having meetings with the Council to show them original paperwork which we say shows we did not need planning permission in the first place,” said Mr Aziz.
Mr Aziz said the diner already had permission for the flues when it was running as a Little Chef.
He said that issues of noise and being next to a residential area were looked at 20 or so years ago when permission was first granted.
The appeal decision comes with some conditions, including the flues have to be sound-insulated and mounted in a certain way when they are re-positioned and that a plan to control the output of fumes and smells will have to be approved by Bradford planners first and must be maintained following the manufacturer's instructions.
A spokesman for Bradford Council said: “It would not be appropriate to comment on matters which are subject to ongoing legal proceedings.”