THE final barrier to the long-awaited demolition of the former Bradford and Bingley headquarters has now been lifted.

Bradford Council planning officers have now given approval to the huge project scheduled to take 24 weeks after nature surveys by owner supermarket giant Sainsbury's revealed only one roosting bat had delayed any previous work.

And vitally - that the bat had now left the blighted building in Main Street, Bingley.

Ward Councillor David Heseltine said planners had used delegated powers to approve the demolition application.

"So now it's up to Sainsbury's to roll up their sleeves and get on with it," Cllr Heseltine (Con, Bingley) said.

"They supplied three monitoring surveys which showed that the solitary bat had finally left.

"So now the little blighter has packed its bags and gone on holiday up the Dales, they need to demolish the place before it returns!"

The process will see the towering building covered with scaffolding and stripped of all recyclable materials.

Expert contractors T E Scudder Ltd of Wembley will carry out the demolition and removal of the waste and spoil in covered lorries which will be cleaned to prevent the spread of dirt along town roads.

Sainsbury's application states: "Materials will be used on site to backfill the basement areas where environmentally safe to do so, be processed for sale, or be taken to landfill.

"Restoration of the site will include backfilling the basement areas with crushed materials, leaving the site level and free of any concrete risings and contaminants."

The town's MP Philip Davies (Con, Shipley) has campaigned vigorously for Sainsbury's to take action after it revealed last year that the site would not now become one of its supermarkets.

He helped organise a packed public meeting at All Saints Church where visiting executives felt the force of popular opinion regarding the Main Street eyesore.

Mr Davies said: "I think the meeting helped concentrate Sainsbury's mind on just how strongly people felt about the project.


"And this is good news which means there is no excuse for them to crack on and get it sorted."

Howard Martin, president of Bingley Chamber of Trade, said traders were concerned the site would not be developed to its maximum potential as a business magnet for the town.

"It's not just about demolishing and then levelling the site - it's about getting something that will move Bingley forward, revitalise and regenerate the town," Mr Martin said.

Sainsbury's, which now intends to open a smaller supermarket elsewhere in Main Street, was not available for comment last night about the timing of the demolition.