PLANS to transform redundant land at Esholt waste water treatment works are facing opposition from councillors who do not want to see the area "surrendered lightly."

If the Yorkshire Water application is given the green light, it would see the area become one of the most sustainable industrial and residential developments in the country.

The land has been earmarked for a scheme that would include both 150 new homes and 100,000m2 of sustainable work spaces.

It would also focus on industries that can make the most of heat, power and water generated by the treatment works.

However, councillors in Idle and Thackley have recently carried out their own consultation on the idea of turning the area into a country park.

Cllr Jeanette Sunderland said she objects to the plans in favour of a country park because of the benefits it could bring to the area.

She said: "The application must be seen an part of a greater plan to create a country park across the land between Bradford and Leeds which has the advantage of a railway line, river and canal and an existing network of footpaths and bridleways which provide off road access to both the Aire and Wharfe Valleys.

"Any form of growth, whether business or housing must be matched by and demonstrate greater protection and improvement of green spaces, improvements to air quality, increased biodiversity and improvements to flood resilience and water quality of both the river and canal as well as greater public access.

"This can be done by strategically designating the area as a country park which would lead to in the longer term the area being accredited by Natural England as a country park with a formal management structure."

Cllr Sunderland says she would also like to see the height of buildings limited and encourage eco-friendly businesses to move there.

Paul Carter, Head of Corporate Affairs at Yorkshire Water, said the company worked closely with the community and councillors to shape plans for the site before submitting the planning application.

He said: "Our ambition is for the Esholt development to be a world leader in sustainable design. Alongside cutting edge water and energy sustainability, we’ve already built in environmental improvements such as public green spaces, wildlife areas and increased flood resilience into our plans.

"We fully support the outcomes that Councillor Sunderland is looking to achieve and we are certain that by working positively together we can ensure that our development acts as a catalyst for action which brings much wider benefits to the local area."

Cllr Alex Ross-Shaw, Portfolio Holder for Regeneration, Planning and Transport said: “We’re happy to discuss any ideas with local councillors but it’s important to get key stakeholders like Yorkshire Water to the table as well.

“Their application is for a redevelopment of their treatment site to include eco- business and housing uses that are nationally recognised as exceptional and of course we welcome that ambition. Issues around flood risk, biodiversity and open spaces will all need to be addressed through the application process and our Core Strategy and emerging Housing Design Guide set high standards in all these areas and we would expect that to be followed.”