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Wednesday, May 22, 2024

Plan for shisha lounge in listed masonic hall is blocked

Plans to turn part of a grand Bradford building into a shisha lounge and restaurant have been blocked.

Council planners said the upper floor of the Connaught Rooms is currently classed as a Masonic Hall, and so a full planning application would be needed to convert it into a shisha bar.

The Grade II listed building on Manningham Lane was built as a Masonic Hall in the 1920s, and is currently used as an events venue.

Earlier this year Sarko Kurda applied for a “certificate of lawfulness” to open a shisha lounge, café and restaurant on the building’s third floor, along with a rooftop terrace.

He argued the current use of the building as an events venue would mean a full planning application was not needed – as shisha bars fell into the same planning use.

But Council planners have now refused to grant this certificate – pointing out the planning permission to use the building as a “restaurant and disco” does not apply to the upper floors.

In 1991 Bradford Council granted permission for the basement first and ground floors to wine bar, restaurant and disco.

Refusing the recent bid for the shisha lounge, planners argued this 33-year-old planning permission only applied to those three floors – and the upper floors were technically still classed as a Masonic Hall.

Referring to the plan approved in 1991, planners said: “This approval does not incorporate the third-floor level of the building and associated external roof terrace, subject of this application.

“The former masonic lodge premises has been in mixed use for a number of years with a historic function room use within the building that has no control over the hours of use, however, there is no record for this use being approved and appears to be unauthorised.

“The rest of the building, upper levels including the third-floor terrace, has an established use as a Masonic Hall which likely falls under use Class F1 or Use Class F2.

“The proposed uses as a lounge, café and restaurant with outdoor seating and smoking area fall into Class E.

“As the existing and proposed uses do not fall under the same use class a change of use will occur and therefore planning permission is required.”

A separate application seeking listed building consent to build a glass shelter on the building’s roof – linked to the planned shisha lounge – has also been submitted. A decision is expected on that application shortly.

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