A leading Bradford councillor told a public inquiry “Bingley is full” and that up to 440 new homes would have a devastating impact on the area’s already-congested transport network.

Councillor David Heseltine, who is chairman of the Shipley Area Planning Panel which refused permission for a huge development in Sty Lane, Micklethwaite, said the Aire Valley would bear the brunt of potentially thousands of vehicles if hundreds of new homes were built.

He was giving evidence to a public inquiry at City Hall, Bradford, to hear an appeal by developers Bellway and Redrow, who want to build between 420 and 440 homes on green fields near the Leeds-Liverpool Canal.

Government inspector Richard Clegg will decide whether to allow the housing estate, which will have its main access by a new swing bridge over the canal, following the inquiry.

Giving evidence yesterday, Coun Heseltine (Con, Bingley) said: “We have to get to a point where we look at the local infrastructure and say that the roads can’t cope, the schools are full, the trains are overcrowded and that Bingley is full.”

Coun Heseltine conceded that the Bingley bypass had cut the number of vehicles using Keighley Road from 28,300 every day before it was opened in 2003 to 14,000 in 2008, according to Highways Agency figures.

However, in the same period, traffic in Bingley Road, Nab Wood had risen from 28,100 to 35,600 vehicle journeys each day – putting greater pressure on Saltaire Roundabout.

Rural roads such as Micklethwaite Lane, Otley Road and Glovershaw Lane had also seen rises in traffic. The rail network is also badly overcrowded, he said.

Andrew Williamson, for the developers, said Bingley had been earmarked for development in the Council’s latest draft planning policies.

Coun Heseltine said: “We have to look at the bigger picture.”

Earlier in the hearing, Councillor Michael Ellis (Con, Bingley Rural), a Shipley Area Planning Panel member who had voted against the proposed scheme, was asked by Mr Williamson what specifically he thought officers had “got wrong”.

Coun Ellis said he believed a new swing bridge as the main entrance to the site would not be able to cope with the amount of traffic using it.

The public inquiry is expected to continue on Monday.