A major public consultation is planned for controversial plans to build more than 100 homes north of Otley.

A planning brief for land at Rumplecroft will come under the scrutiny of residents before Leeds City Council chiefs decide whether to approve the scheme.

The 4.9 hectares of land between St David's Road and Meagill Rise have been allocated for housing in the Government Inspector's report into the draft Unitary Development Plan (UDP) for Leeds. An outline application for up to 110 homes was submitted by Taywood Homes Limited in June 1998.

And despite a long-running campaign against the development - led by protest group Residents Against Greenbelt Erosion (RAGE) - town and city councillor Phil Coyne is urging people to make the best of the deal.

"The inspector has clearly identified Otley as a place for housing expansion and I don't believe it would be possible to stop that now," he said. "What is important is to make sure we get the best possible for Otley out of it."

A meeting of Leeds City Council's plans west sub-committee this week considered the brief, which would build on land adjoining the Nidderdale Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB). Members agreed the input of Otley residents was an important factor. Coun Coyne (Lab, Otley and Wharfedale) told them: "We must take the report to the community so it can express its views to help inform our decision."

Two public meetings will form the basis of the consultation, which could go ahead within the next few weeks.

At the first, city council officers will explain the planning brief for people to draw their own conclusions. Coun Coyne said: "They will then come back to a second meeting, having considered it to give their suggestions and ideas."

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