A PROMINENT city centre building which was destroyed in a massive blaze four years ago will soon be refurbished and opened as a pizza cafe.

The former Natasha school uniform shop at 37 Westgate was engulfed by fire in May 2010, and has remained a boarded up shell ever since.

Sid Hussain, who runs Bella Pizza in Bracewell Avenue in Allerton, has now been granted planning permission to refurbish the building and turn it into a second outlet of his franchise.

And he hopes to secure funding from Bradford Council's Growth Zone fund to help set up the business.

When the fire first broke out in the three storey building, in the city centre conservation area, it took 78 firemen, 15 fire engines and five special appliances several hours to extinguish the blaze and stop it spreading to other businesses.

As well as extensive damage to the ground floor, the fire left the first and second floors heavily smoke damaged and a large hole in the building's roof.

The building, described as being of "notable character and appearance" will be fully repaired as part of the proposal.

Approving the application, Council planning officers said: "It is considered a sympathetic scheme which reflects the character of the building and will improve the appearance of the conservation area. Weight is also given to the benefits of bringing this impressive building back into an active use.

"The proposal represents an opportunity to bring the building back into use, while restoring its character and in turn improving that of the immediate locality."

Mr Hussain said he hoped to start refurbishment work on the building next month.

He added: "I want to try to make it beautiful, make it an upmarket pizza place, like a diner. We'll have a cafe area in there too.

"I've got the business in Allerton and was thinking of opening another one. I was thinking about Leeds, but I thought that I'd rather invest in Bradford."

He said the shop will open from 11am to 11pm during the week, but he hopes for later opening hours on Friday and Saturday.

Although the number of jobs created has yet to be decided, he says it will be at least two shifts worth of staff.