COUNCILLORS have approved plans for a new house, despite their own officers warning them it will harm a Conservation Area and damage protected trees.

5 Park Drive lies in the Heaton Estates Conservation Area, an area of Bradford that is characterised by large homes set in spacious grounds.

But at a meeting of Bradford Council’s Area Planning Panel on Wednesday, members approved a development that Council Conservation officers said would “cause harm to the character of the area.”

A planning application to build a property at the rear of 5 Park Drive was submitted by a Mr Qamar earlier this year.

The application would see a large house, containing five bedrooms, two living rooms, a wet room and a “cinema/play room” built in the rear garden of the property.

Referring to the application, Conservation Officer Jon Ackroyd said: “The proposal would cause harm to the character of the area, with no balancing public benefit. 

“This would permanently and harmfully alter the landscape qualities that the garden contributes to conservation area character.”

Officers had recommended the plan be refused for four reasons, including the harm to the Conservation Area and the potential harm to trees in the rear garden.

At the meeting planning officer Andrew Moxon said: “When it comes to a Conservation Area, the duty of the Council is to enhance or preserve what is there. Anything that doesn’t do that should be refused.”

The most recent appraisal of the Conservation Area says: “These houses, many of which are large detached or semi- detached dwellings built in distinctive Arts and Crafts or Vernacular Revival styles, are characterised by the spaciousness of the grounds in which they are set.”

The agent for the applicant told members that 13 family members currently live in the house at the address, including two grandparents.

The new home was needed to provide more space for these elderly family members, and would include a wet room.

Councillor Mohammed Amran (Lab, Heaton) said the new dwelling would be of benefit to the family, adding: “We have a housing need in the Bradford District.”

He suggested the panel approve the plan.

Councillor Brendan Stubbs (Lib Dem, Eccleshill) said: “I don’t think the applicant has provided us with enough evidence that the harm to the Conservation Area can be set aside. There is no public benefit to this.”

Four Councillors voted to approve the plan, Cllr Amran, Chair of the Panel Councillor Arshad Hussain (Lab, Toller), Councillor Julie Glentworth (Cons, Keighley West) and Councillor Sabiya Khan (Lab, Wibsey).

Three voted against, Cllr Stubbs, Councillor Chris Hayden (Lab, Eccleshill) and Councillor Celia Hickson (Green, Tong).