THE OWNER of a fire-hit derelict former pub has said the fire has put back his plans to convert it into flats.

But Younis Choudhry vowed to will press on with the plans.

Firefighters were called to the derelict Mowbray Arms on Lily Street, Manningham, on Thursday night.

When fire crews arrived at 7.10pm smoke was coming out of the windows and a hose reel was used to put the fire out.

An upstairs room was badly damaged at the building.

Mr Choudhry confirmed that the upstairs of the building had been badly damaged.

He said: "It has put us back to the drawing board.

"The plans were ready to go. It is disappointing.

"We had the finance in place. Hopefully we will get it sorted."

A fire service spokesman said it was believed the fire was caused by someone messing about.

A local resident said the building had been empty for nearly two decades and had been subject to numerous anti-social behaviour, flytipping and fires.

He said it was a real eyesore and the situation was very frustrating for all the local residents.

Mr Choudhry, the owner of Regal Foods, was granted planning permission for the site in November 2017.

The proposal would see a side extension added to the crumbling building, which was to be divided into seven flats over two floors.

The council received a petition signed by 56 people supporting the plans, and another petition signed by 44 people objecting to the plans.

A report by planning officers presented to the planning committee admitted that some of the flats will only have a floor space of 30 square metres.

The government Government’s Technical Standards into housing recommend a minimum of 37sqm for a single person flat.

But the Council report added: “These standards have not been adopted by the Council and cannot therefore be insisted upon.

“Whilst the accommodation is clearly modest in scale, the layouts demonstrate the available living space will be adequate with all habitable rooms also benefitting from good access to natural light and outlook. The proposal also has associated environmental benefits bringing the building and site back into use.”

Mr Choudhry said he had been trying to develop the site for years and now hoped to get the project completed as soon as possible.

Plans to turn the Mowbray Arms into 18 bedsits, which it was claimed could pose a danger to schoolchildren and elderly people, were refused in 2006.

A Bradford Council planning committee said the development would cause traffic problems for residents and security problems for the adjoining Westbourne Primary School.