THE site of two care homes has been sold to a housing developer which has pledged £5 million to build 50 new homes and promised dozens of jobs.

The sale, from Bradford Council to David Wilson Homes, has now been completed, but the housing company had already started preliminary works.

The Bluebell Wood development will include a mixture of homes from three-bedroom semi-detached up to four-bedroom detached.

Shirley Manor and Beechwood care homes once stood on the site off Huddersfield Road, Wyke, which was sold by the Council for an undisclosed sum.

Construction will support more than 75 full-time jobs per year and work is expected to be completed in 42 months. David Wilson also said the development as a whole is expected to boost the local economy by £7.5 million.

The land has been allocated for housing for more than 20 years but was difficult to develop due to the slope of the site, the problems of creating an access off Huddersfield Road and the large volume of trees.

In 2011 plans for 98 homes on the site, submitted by the Council, were criticised because of the loss of trees.

At that time the principal asset manager for the Council’s department of regeneration and culture, Belinda Gaynor, said the site surplus to the Council’s requirements and proceeds from the sale would be invested in improving retained properties and services.

The current, approved, plan includes sets the houses in pockets to retain the woodland setting.

Councillor David Robinson (Ind, Wyke), who has long been a supporter of developing the site, said: "The team met local residents and myself to discuss the site and any concerns, and suggestions were taken into account. I can’t praise the David Wilson Homes team enough, and am looking forward to seeing the first homes be built this year.”

Labour ward councillor David Warburton said the site was currently a blight on the area with anti-social behaviour, fly-tipping and even a body dumped on it in recent years.

"I think it's a great development for Wyke," he said, adding that the initial

Ian Ruthven, managing director of David Wilson Homes, said: “We are really looking forward to developing the new site in Wyke – the beautiful woodland setting, which will be maintained within the plans will really set these homes apart. The 50 new homes are needed in the local area, and the development itself will see the creation of 75 new jobs in the area and provide a boost of £7.5m.

"We have worked really closely with Coun Robinson and local residents to ensure that the development is in keeping with the local area, whilst also working closely with engineers to ensure that the plans were viable. David Wilson Homes invested in this project before the sale had been agreed, which we hope shows local residents how dedicated we are to making the site a success.”