The leader of Bradford Council has welcomed the approval of a plan to build new custody cells on the site of Bradford and Keighley Magistrates' Court.

Planning permission has now been granted for the modern custody suite, which paves the way for a key £4.5m city centre redevelopment to go ahead.

Bradford Council planners gave the green light for the scheme this week.

It means that once it is built, the old police station at The Tyrls can be demolished, making way for a new office block to be built.

Councillor David Green said: "It is very positive news. This is the next stage in the ongoing work to regenerate the city centre. It will allow us to demolish the remaining part of the old police station and prepare it for a development site.

"It has always been our intention to use the police station as an employment creation opportunity and moving the cells is the first part of that plan."

The Tyrls building has been empty since the police left it in 2004, but the cells are still used by Bradford and Keighley Magistrates' Court, connected by an underground tunnel.

The new custody suite will be built at the back of the court, at a cost of £4.5m, met by the Homes and Communities Agency and the Council's regional growth fund.

It was aimed that building work would begin later in the summer and be completed by next February, allowing the old police station to be knocked down and free up 75,000 sq ft of office space.

Coun Green said: "It will take some time to build the cells, clearly there is a much more onerous set of building rules and it has to be a secure area.

"As soon as the custody suite is built we hope to move to the next stage of demolishing the old police station. I am hoping it will start in the next few months."

An HM Courts & Tribunals Service spokesman said: "We welcome this scheme which will provide Bradford Magistrates' Court with modern, on-site cell accommodation. The building works are expected to cause minimal disruption to court business."

The spokesman added that the work was estimated to start at the beginning of August this year and to finish in March 2015.

A Council report into the scheme declared: "The Tyrls building occupies a key site adjacent to City Park and its demolition and future development as grade A office accommodation will contribute to the vitality of the city centre."