PROTESTERS were yesterday celebrating a people-power victory after a plan to build hundreds of homes on a "green lung" was thrown out.

But 500 homes will be built elsewhere in the district after two other major applications got the go-ahead.

More than 50 objectors turned out to protest at the plans to build up to 270 homes at Cote Farm, Leeds Road, Thackley.

The protesters - one as young as three - staged a demonstration outside City Hall ahead of the meeting of Bradford Council's Regulatory and Appeals Committee, where Persimmon Homes' plan had been recommended for approval.

Inside the meeting, objectors set out a range of concerns over how the development would harm their area.

Martin Butters, of the Cote Farm Action Group, gave a presentation about a host of problems the area already faced, such as traffic-clogged roads and schools bursting at the seams.

But central to the argument that the Council itself had set aside the land as 'urban green space', and was now only considering the homes plan because it was so short of suitable development land in the district.

MP David Ward (Lib Dem, Bradford East) said the green space was incredibly valuable to the area.

He said: "The Council itself stated this land was crucially important. The words it used were 'a green lung'."

Alistair Flatman, agent for Persimmon Homes, said the design of the development would retain many trees and green areas, and would improve access to them.

He said: "This landscape-led approach has been integral from day one."

The matter was taken to the vote and the committee went against officers' recommendations, refusing the application unanimously.

Panel member, Councillor Anne Hawkesworth (Ind, Ilkley), said: "I still fundamentally believe it is urban green space."

Afterwards, Mr Butters said: "I'm absolutely delighted. The fact this was a unanimous decision means the underlying arguments were just too powerful."

He said the fact practically the whole community had united against the plans showed the strength of feeling locally, and described the decision as "a victory for common sense".

But many of the same campaigners lost their next fight, against a plan for 267 homes on green fields at nearby Simpsons Green, Apperley Road, Apperley Bridge.

The decision came down to the wire, with three councillors voting in favour of the plan and three against.

The chairman, Councillor David Warburton, used his casting vote to grant approval to the Miller Homes plan.

Afterwards, ward councillor Jeanette Sunderland (Lib Dem, Idle and Thackley), who had spoken against both applications, said she was delighted with the victory over Cote Farm but "deeply disappointed that we couldn't have the same result for Simpsons Green".

She said: "It's the same schools we are talking about, it's the same Leeds Road, it's the same problems in terms of infrastructure."

Meanwhile, a plan for 233 homes and 2,160 sq m of commercial floor space in leafy Cullingworth met with little public resistance.

The plan was to build the development on the site of an industrial estate being demolished at Manywells Brow.

Ward councillor Simon Cooke (Con, Bingley Rural) told the panel that at early public meetings about the scheme, he had explained to residents that opposition would probably be futile and it would be more productive to fight for the local facilities a larger village would need.

He said there was an opportunity to fund a new village hall and pre-school, at no cost to the Council, by using £410,000 of the developer's 'section 106' contributions to local amenities.

Cllr Cooke's wife, Kathryn Toledano, said the hall was well used by the villagers but couldn't accommodate everyone who wanted to use it.

She said: "We are currently turning regular and one-off users away."

Mark Johnson, the agent for the developer Barratt David Wilson Homes, said he would have no objection to funding the hall, provided the total 106 contribution by the company did not increase.

The idea won the backing of the panel, which granted planning permission unanimously.

Committee member Councillor Doreen Lee said it was fantastic to see a community come up with a concrete suggestion of how to spend the 106 money.

She said: "Personally, I think it is a wonderful idea. Don't argue, give them the money. It's about time we did more of this sort of thing."