BRADFORD Council was been accused of standing in the way of small businesses during a planning debate that saw proposals for a new cafe in Shipley thrown out.

Sajid Sadiq had planned to turn part of the former Colin Appleyard car showroom on Otley Road, Shipley, into a dessert parlour.

The building has been empty since the car company re-located to Canal Road.

The application went before Bradford Council's Keighley and Shipley Area Planning Panel yesterday, when members were divided on the proposals.

Highways officers had said the building was based on a busy road. Although the car showroom had parking for six cars in front of it, this was mainly for the display of cars, not for customer parking.

They feared that the high turnover of customers likely to be visiting the business would lead to traffic issues - in particular motorists using a dropped kerb in front of the building to drive onto the pavement, park up, and visit the business.

At the meeting members were shown photos of cars that had done this to park in front of the Old House At Home pub next door to the planned cafe.

Although the applicants had agreed to build a wall around the showroom to prevent cars parking in front of the business, they had drawn the line when asked to pay to raise the kerb. Mr Sadiq told the Telegraph & Argus that he did not think it should be the responsibility of a private business to deal with an existing highways problem.

Mr Sadiq is from the Wibsey area, and had the support of his local Councillors. A letter from Councillor Dave Green, former leader of Bradford Council, was read to the meeting. Referring to Council officers' requests there be no parking at the site, it said: "If this is to be the Council's position on parking at this site then it is self defeating, as almost any business wanting to move here will want parking. It will make it increasingly unlikely the building will be brought back to economic use."

Councillor Vick Jenkins (Lab, Shipley) spoke in favour of the plans, saying: "Towns are generally suffering from a lack of investment. We need to support small businesses, and planning in Shipley has not always backed small developers.

"We don't want to see dereliction at the edge of our town. If we don't allow this then I'm concerned about the future of this building."

Officers said the raising the kerb would cost the business between £2,500 and £3,000.

Councillor Adrian Naylor (Ind, Craven) said: "If cars do park on the pavement it could cause obstructions for people in wheelchairs. I think what highways officers are saying is reasonable."

Councillor Abid Hussain (Lab, Keighley Central) said: "This is an empty building and he wants to bring a business to our district. It will be an asset for Shipley."

Councillor Gerry Barker (Cons, Wharfedale) said: "The fact is people are parking there illegally and it is not our position to encourage that to continue. I support what the highways officer is saying."

Chair Councillor Sinead Engel (Lab, Clayton and Fairweather Green) said: "I don't think its fair that a new business should take a financial hit to pay to fix something that is nothing to do with them."

When it came to the vote four out of the seven members of the panel voted to back officers and refuse the plans.