OVER £8,000 of taxpayer money will be awarded to a developer after a government inspector claimed Councillors acted “unreasonably” by refusing a major housing scheme.

Earlier this year a planning inspector overturned Bradford Council’s decision to refuse plans to build 102 houses and a 90 bed care home on fields and woodland between Fell Lane and Braithwaite, Keighley.

Applicants Coshore Holdings had appealed that decision - which was made in 2018, and this April it was announced that the appeal had succeeded and the development could go ahead.

At a meeting next week, Councillors will be told that due to that decision the Council has been ordered to pay the developer £8,294 in costs.

Controversial plans for 102 houses and new care home approved on appeal

The application had attracted over 80 objections, including some from local campaign groups.

But when it came before the Council’s Regulatory and Appeals Committee in May 2018, officers recommended the plans for approval.

However, members of the Committee sided with the objectors, refusing the plans for a number of reasons. These included the loss of a “valuable asset for the local community” concerns about highway safety, the impact on a wildlife area and impact on woodland.

The Planning Inspector who decided on the appeal said that the Council’s decision to refuse the plans “constituted unreasonable behaviour by the Local Planning Authority” due to Councillors siding with objectors rather than planning experts in the Council.

Approving the developer’s appeal, Planning Inspector Mike Hayden agreed that the development would cause some harm to the area, but that this would be outweighed by the benefits of housing developed at a time when the area is facing a shortfall of housing.

The developers had made an application for the Council to pay costs of the appeal.

Mr Hayden had said: “The Regulatory and Appeals Committee refused planning permission against the recommendation of their officers, responding instead to objections from the local community, and failed to support the reasons for refusal with evidence.

“The fact that the Regulatory and Appeals Committee reached a different decision to that recommended by their professional officers in this case, was not of itself unreasonable. However it is incumbent on the local planning authority at appeal to produce evidence to substantiate each reason for refusal and not to rely on vague or generalised assertions about a proposal’s impact which are not supported by objective analysis.”

The decision will be discussed by the Regulatory and Appeals Committee on Thursday.