A CITY centre pub dating back to the 1890s can be converted into student flats after a planning application to convert the property was approved.

The Star on Westgate is in the city’s Goitside Conservation Area and has operated as a pub for over 130 years.

Most recently the pub has been vacant, and earlier this Summer Preston based Oakwood Investments submitted a planning application to convert the building into 24 student flats.

Those plans have now been approved by Bradford Council.

Planning officers said that although the loss of such a long standing pub would “diminish” the area’s character, the change would prevent a prominent building from falling derelict.

Officers said it appeared the pub was “no longer a viable business.”

The Star dates back to a time when Bradford was expanding - and many of the original buildings on Westgate were demolished to widen the road.

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The Star was one of the buildings constructed once the road was widened, and has seen very few changes since.

In its lengthy history the three storey pub has been a popular drinking venue in the city centre, with records showing it was used as a meeting place for the Bradford Angling Association in the early 1900s and the The Loyal Burgundy Lodge of Oddfellows.

The planning application said: “The building has fallen vacant and is in need of reuse.

“Without re-occupation the building is at risk of deterioration and presently does not make a positive a contribution as it might if it were reoccupied, in active use and repaired.

“The proposal represents a significant investment in a vacant building which will secure its long-term future as student accommodation.”

When the Telegraph & Argus reported on the planning application, numerous readers criticised the scheme in the comments section. However, a report by planning officers says there was not a single official objection made against the application.

Conservation Office Jon Ackroyd said: “The building by virtue of its historic and social importance as well as architectural merit is identified in the adopted conservation character appraisal as a key unlisted building.

“The Star has been continuously used as a public house since construction until recent times.

“However, it has been closed for some while and it appears it is no longer a viable business.

“The loss of continuity as a public house will cause some loss of character to the conservation area.

“The historic use will cease and the range of businesses active in the area will be diminished.

“This is balanced by the proposal presenting a new sustaining use to a building which currently stands empty and is beginning to show signs of deterioration.”

There would be no dedicated car parking provided, although there would be 20 cycle parking spaces. Planning officers said: “The site benefits from good access to public transport links through bus routes on Westgate and being a 10-15-minute walk from both Bradford Forster Square and Interchange train stations. The site is also just a 10-minute walk from Bradford University Campus. Taking this into consideration, it is clear that car ownership will not be required for this area.”