BUSINESS bosses have welcomed Bradford Council's decision to block plans for a restaurant in order to protect an industrial site.

Planning officers have this week refused plans to convert part of the Beehive Works on Edderthorpe Street, off Leeds Road, into a 662 square metre restaurant.

The building in question is in an area of the city that is classed as industrial use.

In refusing the plans, which had been submitted by Roger Lee Planning, officers said changing the use of the building would weaken the area's "primary function as a predominantly industrial and commercial area."

It is the second time this year the Council has refused plans for a restaurant in the building.

The decision was praised by the Bradford Chamber of Commerce, which has recently raised concerns over the shortage of employment space in the district.

Although the application for the restaurant says it would have created 15 full time and 20 part time jobs, planning officers said it would be an unsuitable business for an industrial and commercial area.

In their decision they say only small scale cafes would be allowed in such an area.

They added: "The application proposes an A3 use (restaurants and cafes) on a scale significantly greater than that required to meet the needs of the local workforce and as a consequence it would adversely affect the attraction of the area for its intended purpose and weaken its primary function as a predominantly industrial and commercial area."

Bradford Chamber of Commerce's recent report Creating Space For Future Success says: "A growing number of businesses or their representatives, such as property agents, are saying that there is a shortage of suitable employment land being made available in the Bradford District. The consequences for future economic growth in the District could be quite significant.

"We need to ensure that there is a supply of good quality, well-located sites capable of meeting the needs of the manufacturing and logistics sectors."

Mike Cartwright, chair of the Chamber, said while it was important to encourage new businesses, it was also important to make sure there were enough industrial sites in the city.

He added: “We welcome the bringing forward of more planning applications that support economic growth, the creation of jobs and the improvement of facilities and amenities for local residents; but we also need more sites to become available for industrial and commercial use.

"That is part of the reason for the Chamber’s recent report on the shortage of employment land.

"Therefore, we need the right sites in the right areas, but we also need to help those who are looking for appropriate sites to invest or expand, so that they don’t look beyond Bradford’s borders at alternatives elsewhere.

"On balance, then, we back the Council’s earlier decision but we hope that the applicant and their agent will continue to look for more suitable premises in which to establish their business.”