People living on a Manningham street are furious that houses could soon be built on land they say has been used as a community play area for decades.

Five houses could be built on the site at Grosvenor Road, but a petition to block the plans and keep the land as space for the community has so far attracted almost 50 signatures and the support of MP George Galloway.

The land is owned by Yorkshire Housing, although the planning application lodged with Bradford Council is by Firebird Homes – a subsidiary of Manningham Housing.

Yorkshire Housing said the properties, which will be for low-income families, would make “a much better use for the community” of the land.

Ansar Miah, who lives on the street, says the area has been popular with children and elderly people for years, and would be a great loss.

The area, which includes grassed areas and a number of soft play surfaces, had its play equipment removed in 2010, although Mr Miah says residents were told at the time they would be replaced.

He added: “Since then they have left it as a dump land. They took all the play equipment away and now they have put planning in for houses there.

“There was a consultation event, but everyone I know opposed this. There is nowhere for elderly people or children to go. It has always been a park area since I can remember – I think since the late 1980s. That will be lost if these houses are built.

“It will mean that in every housing development with a play area, housing associations would be allowed to build houses there.”

A Yorkshire Housing spokesperson said: “The play area has not been used as such for a number of years. The play equipment was removed in 2010. We have received feedback from local people of the play area becoming a health and safety concern. We knew this space could be put to much better use for the community.”

Firebird Homes’ application says: “The site is at present a dilapidated piece of open space which does not serve the community well.”

It says a nearby open space, off Lumb Lane, would be more suitable for residents.

Firebird Homes was unavailable for further comment.

The Council will decide on the application late next month.