PLANS to turn a pub into shops and flats have been refused after Councillors raised concerns about trees on the site being chopped down.

Proposals for the Hare and Hounds on Toller Lane would have seen the pub’s ground floor converted into three shops – including a convenience store, with its upper floors turned into flats.

Four townhouses would have been built on the large car park area on the same site.

The plans, by Dawatt Enterprise LTD, went before Bradford Council’s Area Planning Panel on Wednesday, with officers recommending Councillors approve the scheme.

But members of the committee raised concerns about the development – ultimately refusing the application over fears that the recent removal of trees from the site would fall foul of biodiversity rules.

Peter Clark was one of the objectors who spoke at the meeting. He said the Hare and Hounds was the last pub in BD9, and for this reason should be retained as a pub.

He said: “As pub numbers are declining, is it not incumbent on the Council to preserve our traditional local pubs? I know we need houses, but not at the expense of community and culture.”

Martin Webster, agent for the applicants, said: “At the moment it is a bit of an eyesore, what we’re bringing to the table is the rejuvenation of this site.”

Councillor Mohammed Amran (Lab, Heaton) said: “This is an eyesore that has been created by the new owners by chopping every single tree down and not looking after the site.”

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: The Hare and Hounds siteThe Hare and Hounds site (Image: T&A)

He said the pub never created any problems, and told the panel he feared the extra traffic brought by the new shops could lead to highways issues on Toller Lane.

Chair of the panel Councillor Arshad Hussain (Lab, Toller) said: “These three shops could be really busy. If it is something like a Tesco Express the amount of traffic generated could be huge.”

Highways officers said they did not believe the shops would cause any major traffic issues, and members were advised refusing the plans for such reasons would not hold up at any appeal.

But legal Advisor Bob Power told members that the fact a number of trees had been removed from the site could mean the development fell foul of another aspect of planning.

Current planning rules require all new developments to lead to a 10 per cent increase in biodiversity on the site – not a loss.

Planners said that the removal of trees, and the lack of any detail on how biodiversity would be boosted in their absence, would be enough to refuse the plans.

Members voted to refuse the plans as they “failed to demonstrate that a net gain of biodiversity can be achieved.”