RESIDENTS living close to the site of a proposed new factory have vowed to fight plans 'to the bitter end' - despite expected alterations to the scheme.

People living on Wharfedale Drive have got together and are organising a petition against the plan by Spooner Industries Limited. They are trying to mobilise more residents living around the Mayfield Road plot, claiming no-one is listening to their concerns.

Spooners, which manufactures industrial dryers and ovens, hopes to build the new factory next to the site it currently leases on Railway Road.

Although the company consulted with people living around the Mayfield Road site, it was revealed last week that it had overlooked households on Wharfedale Drive, standing on the southern side of the railway line. Spooners has since apologised for this, and says it is reworking its plans.

But Wharfedale Drive people are afraid the building will blight the lives of those living around it.

"We are faced with a monster of a building being built at the end of our gardens," a joint statement from Wharfedale Drive residents said. "We fear that this will destroy our family lives. We fear that once others fully realise what is planned they will understand that this factory may well blight the lives of all those who live in the vicinity of it.

"We fear that, if given the go-ahead, the nature of Ilkley will be changed forever."

As well as blocking out the view from their homes, they are worried that the factory will be noisy, and could feature round-the-clock working. Although Spooners managing director, Michael Brook, last week gave assurances that there would only be 24-hour working when the company is behind schedule for finishing one of its orders, it is feared the factory could one day be sold to a company which would have round-the-clock working all week.

The statement from residents said: "Our futures are at stake. The future of Ilkley's outlook is at stake. We will fight them to the bitter end."

In a bid to prevent Bradford Council agreeing to the new factory, they are calling on Ilkley Parish Council's plans committee to oppose the scheme, and are asking Ilkley Design Statement Group to think again after sending a letter in support of the plan.

They are also challenging the official land designation of the site, claiming Spooners is heavy industry, and not suitable for the land.

Wharfedale Drive resident, Peter Graham, said: "It's totally out of place in the middle of Ilkley."

A consultant working for one family has asked the parish council defer any recommendation until it had studied new plans.

Coun Brown spoke out against fears that she was compromising her role as parish plans chairman, because of her role as secretary in the design statement group.

She said: "When it comes to being chairman of planning, I put forward the facts as presented to me by the plans in front of us and the national planning policies that need to be considered in relation to the plan, but don't put forward a personal opinion."

She said parish councillors are awaiting the revised plans, and would also like to arrange a site visit to the current Spooners factory, to help them understand what type of work is being carried out.

Parish councillors praised some aspects of the proposed factory when they first studied the design, but later said they were looking again at plans as a result of objections.

Coun Brown said the parish council is also drawing up a document outlining the role of its plans committee, explaining that it makes comments on plans but does not have the power to make decisions. Plans are determined by Bradford Council planners, following a recommendation by Bradford's own officers.