Bradford Council is applying to Home Secretary Theresa May to ban a planned march by the English Defence League at the end of this month.

It follows a call by West Yorkshire Chief Constable Sir Norman Bettison for the Council to do so following a detailed review by police into the possibility of disorder in Bradford city centre and the concerns of the community. The EDL plans to hold the march in the city on Saturday, August 28. A counter protest has been organised by Unite Against Fascism.

Last night, Council chief executive Tony Reeves said: “I have received a letter from the Chief Constable asking the Council to seek an order prohibiting the holding of any public procession in Bradford over the bank holiday weekend August 28-30.

“We have considered the Chief Constable’s views carefully and are writing to the Home Secretary to seek her permission to impose such an order.”

But both Mr Reeves and Sir Norman have stressed that if any ban is approved it will not prevent any static demonstrations taking place.

Sir Norman said: “Having carefully considered all the issues arising from any planned or unplanned march by protesters in Bradford on August 28, including the understandable concerns of the community, I have decided to apply to Bradford Council for an order prohibiting the holding of a public procession in Bradford on that day.

“We must, however, be clear in the distinction between the application for a ban to march, and the fundamental right to hold a static protest.

“If the Home Secretary agrees to a ban, it does not prevent static, visible, demonstrations taking place. But, I believe that this would be less disruptive to residents of Bradford, and would enable the force to better manage the operation.

“We will continue to try to talk to all those who plan to demonstrate in Bradford and advise anyone intent on causing trouble to stay away.”

Sir Norman said a carefully planned police operation would be in place to ensure public safety in the event of a static demonstration.

He said: “Assistant Chief Constable Mark Gilmore is in command of what is going to be a complex policing operation. He is working with colleagues in Bradford Council and the local community to ensure that plans are in place to maximise public safety. I ask the people of Bradford to support the policing operation and avoid confrontation on the day.

“Whatever the outcome of the application for a ban, the police’s role on the day will be to enable any peaceful protest to take place but we will not tolerate damage to the city, violence on its streets or any other criminal behaviour.”

Paul Meszaros, of Bradford Together, the organisation responsible for collecting about 16,000 residents’ signatures on a petition submitted to the Home Office last week calling for the ban, said: “We’re really pleased.

“We’ve been running a campaign with the Telegraph & Argus that thousands of Bradfordians have responded to and people have made it absolutely clear that they don’t want the kind of trouble and violence associated with these kinds of events.”

Last night, a Home Office spokesman said: “We will carefully consider any application to ban a march that comes forward from Bradford Council balancing rights to protest against the need to ensure local communities and property are protected.”