Extensive drilling is underway in green fields where developers want to build 270 new homes in Thackley as they search for any potential underground features including old mine shafts.

Nigel Ince lives beside an entrance to the Cote Farm site and told how massive machines moved onto the site without warning earlier this week.

"It sounded like a Tiger Tank was rolling up the track which runs right beside my house.

"The machines went onto the field and it was mayhem as they started drilling near my house, which is the closest property to the fields," said Mr Ince, who works in the construction industry.

"I've nothing against the contractors, who are just on site doing their job.

"And I doubt if there is any legal obligation, but it would have been nice if we'd had a bit of warning.

"It could have been handled better, nobody knew anything about it " said Mr Ince 46, who bought his family home with wife Jane when it was built in 2001.

"The machinery is moving away from my house now to drill all over the site.

"And I hope they find mine shafts, which might stop the whole thing going ahead."

Campaigner Isobel Burgess opposes the Persimmon Homes development and said she understood developers were carrying out necessary tests to discover the make-up of ground below the grassy fields which are classed as "urban greenspace."

"They are drilling bore holes to take soil samples similar to what they did ages ago when it was so wet and muddy," Miss Burgess said.

"There was mining in this area and they probably have to find out to include any details like that in the deeds of any properties that might be built.

"This is just dragging on and on, we don't have any date for when Bradford Council planners will make a decision on the application and it's been going on for nearly a year now."

Wayne Gradwell, managing director at Persimmon Homes West Yorkshire, confirmed that ground investigations are taking place at the Cote Farm site.

He said: “As part of our due diligence and with the permission of the landowner we are currently undertaking land investigations at the Cote Farm site. This will help us to gain a clearer understanding of the ground.

“The summer months provide the best opportunity to do complete such works minimising disruption for existing residents.”