Pizza chain Papa John's loses appeal to open new takeaway after Bradford Council argued it was too near a swimming pool that has been closed since 2019

A planning inspector has dismissed an appeal by pizza chain Papa John’s to open a new takeaway in Queensbury.

The old Victorian baths at Queensbury have been shut since 2019 and are uncertain to re-open
The old Victorian baths at Queensbury have been shut since 2019 and are uncertain to re-open

The appeal, to open an outlet off Brighouse Road, was a major test of Bradford Council’s planning policies for fast food businesses, but was one that saw the government inspector side with them.

The council, like many local authorities, is trying to regulate the number of outlets serving unhealthy food opening near schools and youth centres and in areas where similar takeaways are already concentrated.

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Papa John’s had submitted an application to open in Queensbury Court, a former restaurant that has since been divided into three smaller units, earlier this year.

Planning officers said it went against the policy, which prevents new takeaways from opening within 400 metres of a school, park or youth facility, unless they fall within a town or district centre.

The council had pointed out that the unit would be within 400 metres of Littlemoor Park and Queensbury Pool.

Queensbury Court is the former Royal Eastern restaurant, which was redeveloped several years ago. The unit Papa John’s wanted to open is classed as retail in planning terms, and their application was a change of use to takeaway.

The company appealed the council’s decision, and said they had been told the pool would never re-open.

In 2017 Bradford Council revealed plans to shut the village swimming pool as part of a major shake up of leisure services in the district.

Since then there have been discussions to transfer the running of the facility to a local community group.

Dismissing the Papa John’s appeal earlier this month, planning inspector Alison Scott said there was “no evidence” that the pool would never re-open, and that it “has the potential to come back into use as a youth facility.”

The council’s takeaway policy was introduced in 2014, partly in response to concerns that a large number of takeaway businesses were opening in certain areas and the impact on childhood obesity.

It prevented any new takeaway from opening within 400 metres of a facility that would be used regularly by young people. When officers refused this application they said the business would be based just outside the centre of Queensbury.

Mrs Scott said despite the fact that the pizza takeaway would be near other businesses, there was no disputing the fact that it would be based outside the centre of Queensbury.

The company had also argued that while the business would be based within 400 metres of the park, it was over 400 metres from the entrance to the public baths.

But the decision letter says: “There is nothing before me to indicate that the appeal site is beyond 400 metres from Littlemoor Park, irrespective of whether or not it is accessed through a residential housing estate.

“The local swimming pool at Queensbury did appear to be closed at the time of my visit.

“However, there is no information provided by the appellant, evidence from the council, or indeed from the local ward councillors, that the use has permanently ceased.

“Therefore, as a youth facility, I am required to consider its location and proximity to the appeal site as part of my assessment. With no information on the contrary, I consider it has the potential to come back into operation as a youth facility.”