A bid to make a controversial Bradford shisha lounge designed as a mock castle ‘entirely legitimate” has suffered a setback after the refusal of planning permission.
Earlier this year the Telegraph & Argus reported how Mohammed Shabir had taken over the Al Qaza Lounge, a former warehouse building on Mortimer Street, off Thornton Road.
The business had been running without planning permission for several years, but Mr Shabir submitted a retrospective planning application that would allow the lounge to stay open.
However the application has now been refused by Bradford Council planners, with the “unsympathetic and incongruous” mock-castle facade and a lack of off-street parking to blame.
In a report, planning officer Matthew Aveyard, states: “The applicant has changed the appearance of the frontage along Mortimer Street by adding a castle design.
“The design looks alien to the street scene and whilst the area is made up of commercial premises the appearance of the development is considered to cause visual harm to the appearance of the street scene. The crenellations and mock castle facade are considered to be unacceptable in terms of design.”
He said that while no off-street parking is provided as part of the application, parking has been proposed at three nearby businesses which would be closed in the evening, when the shisha lounge opens.
Mr Aveyard continued: “While the off-street parking proposed is a way of overcoming the previous reasons for refusal there is no way of ensuring parking would take place in the designated parking spaces as it is unlikely patrons would park there when there is on-street parking available outside the premises and in and around the local streets which is where the parking already occurs.”
In October, 2012, then manager Ajaz Ali was fined £1,000 for allowing smoking on the premises, and in November Bradford Council began enforcement action against the business due to it not having the correct planning permission in place.
Since 2009 several applications for the building, to turn it into a wedding hall, restaurant and shisha bar, have been refused by the Council, leading to last year’s enforcement notice being issued.
Mr Shabir’s application said work on the lounge, which includes a courtyard area, was fully completed in 2012.
It said: “The current development was undertaken without prior planning consent. However the facility is now under new management and there is a strong desire to resolve the issues that have been previously raised.
“As a quality establishment, the operators are keen to ensure the cafe is entirely legitimate, compliant and fulfils all obligations as set out in smoking legislation.”