ENGLISH Heritage as been praised for continuing to criticise plans to build modern duplex apartments on a hillside overlooking the canal and conservation area at Simpson Green, Apperley Bridge.

Liberal Democrat leader Councillor Jeanette Sunderland says campaigners are delighted at the stance taken by English Heritage which has consistently objected plans by Miller Homes to build flats as part of development of 267 dwellings.

And members of Bradford Council's planning regulatory and appeals committee are due to decide on the controversial proposal when they meet on Thursday, September 4.

Cllr Sunderland commended English Heritage for not changing its views first expressed in a letter sent to the Council in spring this year.

In a letter about the duplex flats dated March 7 English Heritage stated: "..... the scale, form and detailing of the blocks would be too urban in this sensitive location and would be overly dominant in views of and from the listed buildings as well as along the canal corridor."

And in a further response dated July 2 , following the publication of two photomontages of amended plans submitted by Miller Homes, English Heritage stated: "The amended plans do not appear to address this detrimental impact, in fact the photomontages provided serve to underline our concerns."

The watchdog body then writes that the scheme should be refused or amended to omit or redesign the four storey apartment blocks to reduce the harmful impact on the surrounding heritage assets.

Cllr Sunderland said: "This is a really contentious site. People in Idle and Thackley do not want this development or the one at Cote Farm.

"These flats have limited architectural value in this setting. They have a seriously detrimental impact on the setting of listing buildings and the Conservation area.

"In fact when I first saw the photomontages I thought it looked so bad, someone had made them as a joke.

"I cannot see that any public benefit from this plan could possibly outweigh the the harm being done to the character of the landscape and the Conservation area.

"The photomontages produced by the developer just illustrate the point we and objectors have been making.

"In a conservation area that provides a stunning setting for a number of listed buildings, the canal and the locks the developers are proposing to build what looks like a set of public toilets protruding into the skyline which completely dominate and destroy the landscape.

"The application must be rejected."

No-one from Miller Homes was available for comment, but the firm has previously stated its commitment to high quality and good designs.