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Sunday, April 14, 2024

Inspector dismisses fifth attempt to keep “Chai Village” on city site

Inspector dismisses fifth attempt to keep "Chai Village" on city site

A government planning inspector has described a city centre Chai development as “poorly designed” and claimed it would prove a nuisance to people living nearby.

The fifth attempt to retain the unauthorised Chai Village site on Thornton Road has failed – after a planning appeal was dismissed.

The appeal followed four failed planning applications for the development – which was built in early 2022.

A café, constructed using a shipping container, indoor seating area, large LED screen and car park make up Chai Village, on a former mill site on Thornton Road.

The first application for a café on the site, part of the Goitside Conservation Area, was refused by Bradford Council in late 2021, with officers saying it was “out of keeping” with the much larger buildings that make up the protected area.

After that two other planning applications for the development were refused, with officers raising issues including the impact of traffic of the development and concerns about the large screen on the site.

A fourth retrospective application was submitted last year, but planners said it was too similar to the previously refused schemes, and declined to even consider it.

An appeal against one of the refusals was submitted by Chai Village LTD – effectively taking the matter out of the Council’s hands and leaving a Government appointed planning inspector to decide the fate of the business.

Now that planning inspector has dismissed the appeal, saying the limited public benefits of the café were outweighed by the harm the plans would bring.

Inspector L Wilson said: “The design of the development, including materials such as the decking area and plywood canopy with artificial grass, are of poor quality which do not reflect the character and appearance of the Conservation Area.

“Consequently, the development is poorly designed and fails to preserve or enhance the character or appearance of the area, and causes harm to the character and appearance of the area.

“The appellant has not clearly outlined benefits of the proposal, but I acknowledge that there would be some limited public benefits of the scheme. Nonetheless, the benefits are not sufficient to outweigh the harm.”

Referring to the impact of people living near the site, they added: “The development is also described as a ‘late spot’ within the application form. This would suggest that there could be comings and goings from customers at hours when nearby residents would reasonably expect a degree of peace and quiet when they would wish to sleep.

“The appellant highlights that the screen is used for advertising, with no sound. However, the Council have highlighted that social media posts show late night boxing matches on the LED screen. The appellant has not disputed this being the case.

“The development would not provide acceptable living conditions for nearby residents, with particular reference to noise and disturbance.”

Companies House lists applicants Chai Village LTD as having been dissolved on 30 January.

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