A £1.4 million scheme to re-locate Bradford’s school meal production facility has been granted planning permission.

Last year Council bosses approved the allocation of £1.4 million funding to convert and fit out one of its buildings to make it a new Central Production Unit - the facility where staff produce meals for the District’s hundreds of schools.

Although the service is currently focused on other matters due to the Coronavirus pandemic, the planning application that will allow the move to take place was approved this week, almost five months after it was submitted.

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School meals are currently produced in a large unit in Johnson Street, off Leeds Road, but the changes will now see this moved to a smaller building - Unit Five of Mitre Court in Cutler Heights - which the Council also owns and uses as a storage facility.

The planning application, submitted by the Council in October, was for the change of use from this building from storage to food production.

When the funding was approved the Council said moving the facility would make the service more efficient, adding: “It will ensure continuity of service, equality of service and reduce the operating cost of the service in providing school meals.”

The facility will produce both Halal and non-Halal food, and work will be spread out over two storeys.

The works will also include the installation of a new boiler, specialist compressors, refrigerators, and ventilation equipment normally employed in large-scale food production.

The application had said: “The new facility has been designed to provide adequate accommodation for a certain number of both catering and facilities management staff. Independently, the new facility will have its own boiler and compressors room, accessible waste disposal system; and, ultimately, a clearly structured fire escape route mechanism in conjunction with an existing provision on the ground.”

Approving the change of use, planning officers said: “The site is located amongst similar commercial units within an industrial complex with the nearest residential properties to the south with another unit in between. The proposed use is contained within the B2 use class and is therefore an industrial use which can in principle be acceptable.

“The proposed new business would allow new employment and would meet with Governments National Planning Policy Framework aims, where planning decisions should help create the conditions in which businesses can invest, expand and adapt.

“Significant weight should be placed on the need to support economic growth and productivity.”

Conditions of the application include a clause that odour control equipment is installed before the site comes into use.

The Council has submitted a separate application to re-classify 60 square metres of Mitre Court Road, which leads to the unit, from public highway to a limited road.