A BATTLE to build houses on an allotment site has been lost at appeal.

A government planning inspector backed a council decision to refuse permission for 46 homes on land at Silverdale Avenue, in Guiseley.

But some allotment holders who want to sell their land are warning that the fight is far from over and they say it could continue in the High Court.

In rejecting the scheme, Leeds City Council said the loss of the existing allotments and greenspace would have a detrimental impact on the overall supply in an area where there was an existing deficiency.

Now planning inspector Mike Worden has dismissed the Stonebridge Homes appeal, saying the main issue was the effect of the proposed development on the provision of allotments and greenspace in the area.

He said: “The proposal would bring benefits in terms of providing housing which would help, albeit in a limited way given the numbers of houses proposed, to boost housing supply in the area.

"I attached considerable weight to this benefit.”

But he said the development would have a harmful effect on the provision of allotments and greenspace, and the adverse effects of granting planning permission would not be outweighed by the benefits.

The rejection of the application and of the subsequent appeal has came as a blow to some landowners.

Spokesman Brian Firth argued that there was no legislation limiting the disposal of private allotments and he claimed councils had no authority over them.

He said: “If the council are conceding a deficit in allotments for rental in Guiseley they have a statutory obligation to release council land for such purpose. There is no legislation that allows them to use private land to offset that deficit, even if previously used as private allotments. Any attempt to do so is simply land grabbing.”

He added: “One of the options going forward is to challenge the appeal refusal in the High Court. If that course is taken and it is ruled that the land is not protected as claimed by the council, the tax payer could be hit with a very large legal bill.”

A Leeds City Council spokesperson said: “All planning applications are assessed by Leeds City Council in accordance with national and local policy.

“Following an assessment, it was considered by the council that building homes on the current Silverdale allotment site in Guiseley would impact detrimentally on greenspace and allotment provision in the area. No provision was also made through the proposed development to make green space provision.

“Following a review by a planning inspector, who through his own assessment took all comments and views into account, including those of the landowners, he agreed with our view in dismissing the appeal.”

Aireborough Neighbourhood Development Forum chairman Jennifer Kirkby warned: “People need to understand that this is only the dismissal of the planning application for 46 houses made by Stonebridge.

"The whole Coach Road Allotment site is still in the Leeds Site Allocation Plan for a mix of 32 housing units and allotments.

“We have confirmed with Leeds City Council that this remains the case and they are not intending to modify anything in the light of the Inspector’s report on the appeal."