CAN a garage can be called a garage if it is too small to fit a car inside?

This was the unexpected debate that emerged during a Bradford Council Planning meeting yesterday, where members were told the garages of planned homes in Ilkley were too small for cars.

Last year CFK Developments was granted permission to build 14 homes and a new veterinary surgery on Ashlands Road.

One condition was that before work started, more detailed plans for the site came before the committee.

Yesterday an application for reserved matters for the 14 homes went before the Council’s Regulatory and Appeals Committee, with planning officers recommending they be approved.

One issue in a planning report that was picked up by members was the fact that integrated garages in six of the homes were too narrow to be classed as parking spaces - below than the required 3 metre width.

Highways officers had said there was still adequate parking for residents on the site - despite the small garages.

Councillor Alan Wainwright (Lab, Tong) said: “How can it be described as a garage when you can’t fit a car in it?

"I would suggest that garages should be able to house a vehicle."

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Under current planning law householders are allowed to turn garages into habitable rooms without applying for planning permission. This is known as permitted development rights.

Cllr Wainwright suggested that one condition of approving these plans should be that any permitted development rights are removed from these homes, meaning that anyone wanting to convert the garages would have to apply for planning permission.

He added: "When these conversions happen it can cause congestion on the highways.

"Other than that I'm happy with the scheme."

Highways officers said the garages did not meet standards, but there was still adequate parking for residents at the homes. They said smaller cars should be able to fit into the garages, and the facilities could be used to store bikes or other valuable equipment.

Chair Councillor David Warburton (Lab, Wyke) said: "If it is named a garage it should be a garage."

Highways officer John Roley said: "We are not saying they can't be used as garages, but they are not wide enough for us to consider them parking spaces."

The committee also heard from two objectors, who raised concerns over flooding and the suitability of the site for housing.

Officers pointed out that housing for the site had already been approved, and this latest application was only to look at details of those houses.

The houses will be a mix of four, three and two bed houses.

The committee voted to remove permitted development rights - which would allow future residents to convert the garage space into a new living area without planning permission, from the houses.

The plans were then approved.