COUNCILLORS have approved plans to build homes on a field in Menston after a lengthy discussion over flood risks on the land.

Plans to build on Bingley Road date back to 2010, and a detailed scheme for the site was agreed by members of the Council’s Regulatory and Appeals Committee yesterday.

The latest application, for 133 houses, had been submitted by Bellway Homes and had attracted numerous objections.

A previous application was refused in 2015 over concerns that the development would lead to flooding on the site and have an adverse impact on habitats and protected species in the area.

And flooding was the major topic of debate at yesterday’s meeting - with committee members hearing details of three separate flooding reports.

Bellway had submitted their own report into flooding and water on the site that suggested the houses could be built without increasing the risk of flooding. Menston Parish Council, which has long opposed plans for housing on the site, had commissioned a separate report that was at odds with Bellway’s.

And Bradford Council had commissioned its own independent flooding report into the site. That report found that the developer’s plans included adequate flood alleviation measures, and this led to planning officers recommending the scheme be approved.

But objectors raised concerns that building on the site, which has a natural spring on part of it, would lead to flooding on both the new homes and in neighbouring houses.

Councillor Jackie Whiteley (Cons, Wharfedale) was one of the objectors, and also questioned the sustainability of the site. She said: “There is a lack of infrastructure. People in the village will be affected by inadequate drainage and sewage. There are train links to Leeds and Bradford, but the Bradford trains are never full, showing there are probably few jobs in Bradford that can pay the mortgages for the houses people in Menston live in. The station car park is also inadequate.

“The lives of people in the village will be unacceptably disrupted by this development.”

Members were told that Bellway would have to offer a large sum of money to improve local infrastructure, including £225,000 that would go to Menston Parish Council to spend on what they deemed suitable in the local area. It would also have to fund highways improvements.

Councillors were told that the scheme was very similar to the one that had been refused in 2015, but that this time much more work had been done to test the possible impact of the housing on water levels on the site.

Councillor Alun Griffiths (Lib Dem, Idle and Thackley) asked: “Are you saying it wasn’t that the previous application wasn’t good enough, it was that no one could show that it was good enough?” Officers said that was the case.

After a debate lasting almost three hours, Chair Councillor David Warburton (Lab, Wyke) said: “We have listened to experts from all sides, and I’m struggling to find any evidence to say we should refuse this.”

The committee then approved the plans.