HUGELY controversial plans to demolish a Shipley pub are likely to be approved later this week.

Bradford Council’s plans to knock down the vacant Branch pub on Bradford Road in Shipley as part of a major traffic improvement scheme have attracted scores of objections since they were first announced earlier this year.

On Wednesday an application to demolish the building will go before the council’s Keighley and Shipley Area Planning Panel, whose members have been advised to approve the works.

A report to the panel says almost 90 people have objected to the application, although a Change.Org petition calling for the scheme to be dropped is still live.

The long-empty pub was recently bought by the council with a view to demolishing it as part of a £42 million road improvement project involving Bradford Road and Canal Road, to be funded by the West Yorkshire Combined Authority.

The pub is thought to date back to at least 1850.

Among the objectors was Shipley councillor Kevin Warnes (Green) who called on the council to halt the scheme to ensure proper studies are undertaken on feasibility and the impact of junction improvements.

A report going to the panel sums up objections, including that it would mean the loss of “a historic landmark”, that more public consultation should have been done, and that there was no evidence that the roadworks would improve air quality in a highly-polluted area.


A report by heritage officers said the pub was “an established feature defining the junction between the turnpike road and the Otley Road, and an attractive building displaying local distinctiveness through materials and architecture”.

However, the report being present to the panel points out that the pub is neither listed, nor in a conservation area.

It adds: “The closure and demolition of public houses and the community facility they provide can become an emotive issue with local residents due to past use and attachments.

“In addition, it is known that The Branch has been closed and disused for many years, having been on the market and presumably having failed to attract interest from another public house operator.

“The public house here is also not nominated as an Asset of Community Value, despite its long vacancy.”

It said arguments against the wider road improvement schemes would be for “another time.”

The panel will meet in Keighley Town Hall at 10am on Wednesday.