Controversial plans to build 102 houses and a 90-bed care home in the North Beck valley in the Keighley area have been approved.

Public and politicians this week expressed dismay that an appeal by the developers had been granted by the government’s Planning Inspectorate.

The decision to allow building on fields and woodland next to the former Stells site at Holme Mills, between Fell Lane and Braithwaite, was described as a “travesty to democracy and the environment” by local councillor Adrian Farley.

Coshore Holdings applied for outline planning permission for the development in 2016, but following many objections this was rejected by Bradford Council.

Key public concerns included extra traffic, risks to wildlife, and the effect on adjoining ‘Tinker’ countryside used by generations of Keighley people.

Fell Lane scout group feared the loss of their hut, which is used by many community groups, because its site was earmarked for the care home.

MSK Law appealed on behalf of the developers to the government’s Planning Inspectorate, which this month granted outline planning permission.

The inspector believed the public benefit of much-needed new housing and a nursing home outweighed concerns over their impact on the landscape, woodland, buildings and footpaths.

The inspector added: “There would be no material harm to the recreational and ecological value of the Tinker and North Beck river corridor as community assets.”

The inspector attached 27 conditions, covering issues such as access, drainage, materials, landscaping, layout, electric car power points, and protection of wildlife and woodland. The scout hut must remain in place until a replacement is built elsewhere on the site.

A spokesman for MSK Law this week said there was no timescale for a full planning application to be submitted or work to start, due to coronavirus uncertainty.

He added: “The inspector’s decision is there in black and white. It has vindicated the applicant’s approach. The inspector has taken into account all the factors.”

The appeal decision has been slammed by local residents and Bradford councillors who represent Keighley West ward.

The Friends of North Beck Valley this week renewed their warning that the development would badly affect the adjoining Tinker countryside.

Spokesman David Wilkinson slammed “inflexible, uncaring and short-sighted” planning laws that allowed such developments to go ahead.

He said: “It imparts greater value and rights on rich developers to build over our special green areas, whilst tossing aside the values and rights of the poorest in our society.

“Green tranquil areas of nature are being irreversibly sacrificed in the name of so-called much-needed housing. Within Keighley we have numerous brown-field sites lying derelict and crying-out for renovation. Developers always prefer building over the lovely green areas around the edges.”

One of the Keighley West representatives, Cllr Adrian Farley, claimed people would not have objected if development was confined to the brownfield site of Holme Mills.

He said: “It’s about trying to protect what we’ve got for years to come. There are a lot of rare birds, animals and plants in the North Beck corridor.”

Fellow ward councillor Paul Godwin said this would be the third major housing development in Keighley West where a decision of the planning committee had been overridden.

He said: “The key element in its rejection was the loss of amenity for local people. This development offers nothing in return. It is awkwardly positioned, increases the traffic and offers no affordable housing.”

The third Keighley West councillor, Julie Lintern, said she was saddened by the inspector’s decision, and still had strong concerns about access to the development, extra traffic and impact on wildlife.

She said: “Like many residents in the area I have enjoyed many walks to Tinker and enjoyed the peace and tranquility.

“During lockdown residents have discovered the beauty on our doorsteps. I believe having that escape into unspoilt countryside has been beneficial to residents’ mental wellbeing.”

Town councillor Julie Adams, who represents Fell Lane ward, claimed the development would be detrimental to local infrastructure.

She said: “With another 102 dwellings traffic in the area will increase dramatically. We have to look at whether schools can take on potential extra pupils.  

“I am devastated that again the local community have not been listened to, and genuine concerns have fallen on deaf ears!”