DEMOLITION work on one of Shipley’s oldest buildings has been halted after it emerged the work was being done without permission.

Oddfellows Hall pub, on Otley Road, has been empty since 2013. Its owners recently installed scaffolding around the building and started demolishing manually, starting with its roof.

But Bradford Council has now ordered the work to stop, as no permission has been granted for the demolition. The Council says the work had started due to a “misunderstanding” by the agents of the pub’s owners, Red Box Asset Management.

The owners have since submitted a planning application for the building’s demolition, and a final decision will likely now be made by a planing panel later in the summer.

They eventually plan to build a residential development on the site.

The pub, near the junction of Otley Road and Valley Road, dates back to 1840, and is one of the oldest buildings in Shipley.

Workers began demolition of the building late last month, but after Shipley Councillor Kevin Warnes contacted Bradford Council’s planning office, a notice to halt the works was issued.

Last year new national legislation was introduced that required anyone wanting to demolish a pub to apply for planning permission first.

A Bradford Council spokesperson said: “Due to a misunderstanding of Town & Country Planning (general permitted development order) legislation which was changed in May 2017, the agents at Oddfellows Pub in Shipley did not realise that a planning application was necessary to undertake demolition.

“They have since confirmed to us that all demolition work has now stopped while the Council consider their application.”

Cllr Warnes has objected to the Oddfellows Hall plans, saying: “The loss of this building, in these circumstances, will degrade the heritage of the area and undermine the amenity of nearby residents.”

People have until July 23 to comment on the plans, and a decision is expected in late August.

In 2014 a planning application to turn the ground floor of the building into a restaurant for 66 diners, with offices on the first, second and third floors, and for a three storey expansion to the building to be built, was refused by the Council.

Planning officers said there were just 14 parking spaces at the pub, but the restaurant and office use would require at least 50 parking spaces.

Phil Bakes, agent for the owners, said: "The pub has been empty for many years, and has structural defects, which were apparent even when the pub was trading.

"Since its closure, and despite efforts to secure the building, it has been the subject of regular attempts to gain entry, resulting in significant damage, vandalism as well as anti social behaviour.

"The site has been visited by the Police on a number of occasions, and so to resolve the issue, it was decided to demolish the building to make the site safe and prevent possible injury to persons entering the building.

"The rules removing permitted development rights for public houses were changed last year, and as soon as we were made aware of this we sought to rectify the situation, and a formal Planning Application has now been lodged.

"We are in the process of producing designs for a scheme to breathe new life into this important site, and will be looking to submit a new application within the coming weeks."

Last month the Bradford Council granted permission for the nearby Branch Pub to be demolished to make way for a highway improvement scheme.