Leeming residents are refusing to allow a housing developer to take a bulldozer on to land next to their homes.

The householders in Denholme Lane object to plans by Bradford-based Victor Homes to build five houses on a small site overlooking Leeming Reservoir.

They refused to move their parked cars when workmen arrived last week with a bulldozer to carry out test digging on the land, which is in Oxenhope Conservation Area.

Kath Clements, whose home overlooks the land, said the workmen would have had to demolish a wall to gain access to the steep site.

She is angry that Bradford Council planning officers said they cannot ban Victor Homes from carrying out the tests.

She said: "Once they get the bulldozer in they're going to spoil anything that's in there. It shouldn't be built on because it's pretty - almost like a nature reserve."

Worth Valley councillor Kris Hopkins is backing the residents' fight to stop planning permission being given for the houses and an access road. He called Victor's decision to send in a bulldozer "sinister" and accused planners of playing into developers' hands.

He said: "If the developers destroy the conservation area before the planning meeting they will be hoping environmental and conservation considerations will be invalidated."

He said if the Council supported the Oxenhope Village Design Statement it should stop the destruction of such a "treasured" area.

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