OBJECTORS to a development on the site of a former pub were ordered to leave a planning meeting after they began shouting at planning officers and calling them liars.

The application to build two shops with six apartments above on the site of the Junction Hotel on Leeds Road, Thornbury, went before the Bradford Area Planning Panel yesterday.

The plans had been recommended for approval, despite having attracted a number of objections from people living nearby.

At the City Hall planning meeting, objectors regularly interrupted the discussion while councillors and officers were talking.

At one point the heckling got so bad the Chair, Councillor Alan Wainwright (Lab, Tong) took the rare decision to hold the rest of the meeting in a closed session.

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Planning meetings are held in public, but are not public meetings, and at the start of meetings anyone in attendance is told that it is down to the discretion of the chair who is allowed to speak.

Objectors are normally allowed to speak for five minutes and answer questions from Councillors, but not take part in the debate.

The pub was demolished in 2012, and proposals to build two new shops on the prominent piece of land were approved in 2014. But the development didn’t go ahead and new plans to build two shops with six apartments above them were refused in 2017.

The latest plan, by Ammar Ali was submitted last year. Planning officers recommended it be approved as the building was now more “modest” than the refused plan. Highways officers said access issues that led to the original plans being refused had also been dealt with in the new plans.

There would be 10 parking spaces for the shops and six for the flats.

Although there have been no details of what shops would open in the units, a condition of the application is they only have opening hours between 8am and 10pm.

One of the objectors, a Mr Mahmood, spoke against the plans, raising concerns on how the plans would affect parking for people living near the site.

He told the panel that the developer had been “playing games” adding: “They only want to make money.”

Other Councillors said the plans should be refused for highway safety reasons, but officers said these fears were unfounded, and cars were already using the site as a car park.

Officers said issues such as access to the land by neighbours were a civil ones, and not planning matters.

Cllr Wainwright said: “I haven’t heard any valid reason why this plan should be refused.”

Objectors had interrupted the debate several times, each time being warned that if they kept interrupting they would be removed from the meeting. When it appeared the plans would be approved, two of the objectors began shouting at the committee and officers at the same time. Cllr Wainwright said: “You keep interrupting and we’re trying to get on with business.”

The objectors shouted back “But you’re telling lies.”

Cllr Wainwright then said due to the constant interruptions, the rest of the meeting would be held in a closed session.

The plans were approved on the condition that the retail develop remain just two shops. The panel also called for the developers to further consult with residents over car parking arrangements on the site.