A WAR of words has erupted after plans to turn a derelict Bingley building into a fish and chip restaurant and takeaway were knocked back.

Bradford Council’s Keighley area planning panel last week refused an application for the refurbishment of the long empty Station Master’s House. The decision, which went against officer recommendation for approval, has since been branded “idiotic” and “nonsensical”.

The property, at the junction of Wellington Street and Park Road, had been standing empty since the 1990s until it was bought by Bingley Property Holdings (BPH) last autumn.

BPH were applicants for the site along with Matt and Jo Hogg, who run the Old Brown Cow pub.

A number of objections to the plans were received including from Bingley Town Council, which asked for refusal on the grounds of a lack of adequate parking, concerns about waste management and increased littering. They also said there was an abundance of fast food venues in the town.

The concerns were not shared with planning and highways officers, and there had also been a number of letters of support.

After the decision banners were placed on the building’s scaffolding saying “Project Stopped by Labour Town Councillors.”

Bingley historian Allan Mirfield branded the decision “nonsensical” and MP Philip Davies responded to Mr Mirfield stating: “I completely agree with you - it is a (yet another) idiotic decision by Bradford Council.”

The banners have since been taken down.

However a statement from the town’s Labour councillors pointed out that the town council can only make suggestions on planning applications, not the final decision. They also questioned how work on the project could be “stopped” when it never had permission to be started.

David Heseltine (Cons, Bingley) is co-director of BPH and after the decision said: “BPH Ltd are disappointed that making good a local eyesore and creating 12-15 jobs in the proposed restaurant is held in such contempt by Bingley Town Council.”

Andrew Fenton, co-director, told the Telegraph & Argus that if the plans had been approved, the restaurant would likely have been ready to open by mid May.

He said all work done on the building had been legal, and he was so angry with the planning decision he was considering leaving the building empty.

Mrs Hogg said: “We were really confident it would be approved, everyone we spoke to had said it was a great idea. Since it has been refused a lot of people on social media have been really supportive to our plans.” She said they were considering an appeal or possible future application.

A spokesman for the Town Council said: "Bingley Town Council made comments on the application at its December planning committee meeting on December 12.  The comments were based on the information provided in the planning application. 

"Bradford District Council has decided to refuse the application because of its concerns about highways issues.

"Similar comments were made by Bingley Town Council on the recent application for Domino’s Pizza at the corner of Park Road and Main Street but on that occasion Bradford Council approved planning permission."