SOUTH Craven School will struggle to cope if the amount of proposed housing in Silsden goes ahead, a resident has warned.

Lance Peake, speaking at the public inquiry into Bradford Council's unitary development plan, told planning inspector Cliff Hughes that the 1,400 homes planned for the town would unfairly increase pressure on the Cross Hills school.

Although under the remit of North Yorkshire County Council, the school also takes children from Silsden, which falls under Bradford Council.

Mr Peake said that local parents preferred to send their children to South Craven, rather than schools in Keighley.

He suggested that a secondary school should be built in Silsden to cater for the influx of families proposed in the UDP - the council's planning blueprint for the next 15 years.

"There is an immediate need for a secondary school in Silsden," he argued.

Mr Hughes said that North Yorkshire had objected to the plan, but the purpose of the public inquiry was not to "re-plan Silsden".

He said the same of a suggestion by Mr Peake that the proposed bypass should be re-aligned so it ran via Riddlesden.

Mr Peake appeared at the inquiry last Thursday to object to the proposed bypass and the safeguarding of land at Woodside Road. He would like to see this land re-allocated for recreational use and open space.

"There has been an erosion of amenity land in Silsden. The last time recreation land was constructed in Silsden was 1935. There is no allowance for amenity land in these new estates," he said.

But Bradford's group planning manager Dave Preece said that it was the council's policy that the developers of the housing sites provided amenity land either within or close to the sites, or gave a sum of money towards existing recreational land.

He said the council's budget meant that the emphasis was on enhancing existing sites, rather than creating new ones.

The land at Woodside Road is safeguarded until at least 2014, but Mr Peake said any future development would create problems due to the narrowness of the access route and the inadequacy of the Elliott Street and Kirkgate junction, which would not be able to cater for extra cars.

Other representations came from Silsden town councillors Lawrence Walton and Mike Elsmore.

Their opposition to the proposed bypass covered three issues: whether the road would increase flooding in the town; whether it would affect the appearance and character of the canal conservation area and the possibility of harm to public enjoyment of footpaths.

Coun Elsmore said it seemed flooding was becoming more frequent in the area.

"One thing that is absolutely certain is a flood plain will flood, and the road crosses into the flood plain," he added.

But Anthony Poole, the council's drainage manager, said the bypass would be designed design to allow the water to pass underneath it.

Coun Walton said there had been a lack of information about the road, making it difficult to assess its potential impact.

He was reassured that the road would have to be completed before any of the new houses were occupied, and construction traffic would be expected to use the new road while it was being built, rather than going through the town.

Coun Walton also expressed concern about the public footpaths which would cross the new bypass, and the environmental impact of the road.

Mr Preece said that this would all be covered at the planning application stage.

Coun Walton then asked whether the road would include roundabouts and what speed limit would operate.

However Mr Hughes responded that the inquiry was to establish the principle of the road, and not the details.

Coun Walton replied: "What I am trying to prove is that this hasn't been thought about. They just think 'we'll shove a road here, and build a load of houses there'."

The planning inquiry will consider 7,000 objections and deliver its conclusions at the end of the year. All sessions are held in public at the Victoria Hall, Saltaire.