A controversial housing development in Bradford which will lead to the loss of woodland has been backed in principle by councillors.

Nearly 400 trees are set to be lost under plans for up to 108 houses at Shirley Manor, a mixed brownfield and greenfield site off Huddersfield Road, in Wyke.

Members of Bradford Area Planning Panel granted the scheme outline planning permission at a meeting yesterday, despite objections from residents, the Woodland Trust and Bradford South MP, Gerry Sutcliffe.

But further consultation will be carried out because “significant” changes were made to the layout of the development.

Beckwith Design Associates (BDA), agents for landowner Bradford Council, drew up new plans which pinpointed eight pockets of land for development, taking into account the quality and number of trees.

Bradford Council’s tree officer has worked at the site with BDA and removed his objection to the revised plans, for between 89 and 108 homes to be built between areas of trees.

More trees will also be planted in areas where rubbish has been dumped.

Bert Barrand, of High Trees, which backs on to the site, said: “The latest proposals address some concerns with regards to ecology issues but the density of dwellings remains a concern.”

He told the planning panel that Mr Sutcliffe had called the proposed number of homes “excessive” and that the area needed a “more modest” development, which would leave the majority of trees intact.

But Councillor David Warburton (Lab, Wyke) told the committee the woodland had fallen into disrepair and decay and had become a “blight” on the area over the past two decades.

He said: “We councillors have been pushing for this site to be re-developed and pushing officers to come up with a scheme that is appropriate bearing in mind the difficult parts of the site.

“There is a major demand for housing across the district and I think the planners have done a brilliant job with this scheme.”

BDA managing director Tony Lupton, said the area had been earmarked for housing by the Council.

Peter Walker, of Wyke Local History Group, welcomed the proposals to plant more trees in areas where rubbish had been dumped and said he was satisfied some of the larger trees would be kept.

But he added: “I’m still not happy so many are being destroyed.”

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