A BID to build a larger number of houses on a former railway cutting in Heckmondwike has been lost on appeal.

The proposals for 96 homes on the controversial site off Walkley Terrace and Brunswick Street in Heckmondwike were turned down by Kirklees Council planners more than a year ago.

In the meantime an alternative proposal for up to 74 homes on the same site by same applicant has been approved.

But following submission of the reduced scheme, Ernest Gordon Ltd, appealed to the planning inspectorate over the earlier knock-back.

The hybrid application sought full permission to landfill the site and outline permission to then develop 96 two to five-bedroom homes there.

There were a total of 181 local objections to that scheme, which would require 138,000 tonnes of material to infill the railway cutting and would take more than two years to complete.

A decision has now been published by planning inspector Caroline Mulloy amid concerns over the temporary access off Walkley Terrace which would be needed to infill the cutting before building work can begin.

Ms Mulloy states: "I have concluded that the proposal would result in significant harm to highway safety and the living conditions of surrounding occupiers.

"I am also unable to conclude that the proposal would not have a harmful effect on the ecology of the site; air quality or that the principle of development is acceptable in terms of flooding and that the proposal wold not increase the risk of flooding elsewhere.

"Consequently, the proposal would result in significant harm and conflict with the development plan as a whole."

She explained that the developer estimated the landfill operation would need to run five days a week outside peak hours and result in around 18 deliveries a day, taking approximately 114 weeks to fill. Walkley Terrace is a relatively steep residential cul-de-sac with cars parking either side of the road, she added.

She did state, however, that while the proposed development would increase the supply of both market and affordable housing and help support the local economy - but that "the substantial adverse impacts" of granting planning permission outweighed these benefits.

The scheme that was approved on the 6.6 acre site involves remodelling the land by cutting away some areas and placing soil in the bottom of the cutting to provide an area where up to 74 houses can be built.

Plans to transform the cutting, long considered one of the town’s few remaining wildlife havens, were opposed by scores of local residents, with 155 objections.

Concerns included a loss of privacy for nearby homes, increased traffic and local services being unable to cope with extra demand.

The plans also include a children’s play area and electric car charging points.

A report to the planning committee stated: “To facilitate the construction of the dwellings, a significant cut and fill operation would be required.

“The applicant has indicated that this would take in the region of a number of weeks.”

Details of the exact number of houses to be built and the layout will need to be submitted to the Council.