DELIGHT greeted this week’s rejection of plans to build up to 102 houses and a 90-bed nursing home in a Keighley beauty spot.

Campaigners said they were “thrilled” with the news that construction would not be allowed on the former site of Holme Mills and surrounding fields and woodland.

Local residents, backed by ward councillor Cath Bacon, had feared the development would ruin greenfield land and a wildlife corridor alongside the North Beck.

Campaigners, including the Braithwaite and North Dean Action Group (BANDAG), had called on Bradford councillors to reject the application despite it being recommended for approval by officers.

The council’s planning committee this week sided with objectors after hearing speeches from Cllr Bacon and Friends of North Beck Valley spokesman David Wilkinson.

The site on Holme Mill Lane, off Fell Lane, is situated partly on a greenfield site and a wildlife corridor. The nursing home would have been built on a brownfield site. The plans also included the removal and re-siting of Fell Lane Scout hut.

Cllr Bacon said: “I spoke at the meeting about the lack of affordable housing and the fact that this would be built in a zero Community Infrastructure Levy area so wouldn’t be offset by any contribution towards schools or transport or other services.

“The panel considered all this and came back with a unanimous decision to overturn the application, so we’re thrilled.”

In her speech, Cllr Bacon had described the North Beck Valley as the “lungs of Keighley” and said the proposed housing site had a diverse ecological system of plants and animals, including bats, voles, curlews, deer and heron.

She claimed a new housing estate would generate an 200 extra cars on the already-busy Fell Lane, as well as putting pressure on local primary schools and doctors.

Mr Wilkinson told the planning committee that the North Beck valley, known to residents as ‘Tinker’, was Keighley’s number one beauty spot, with a river, bridge, waterfall and woodland bluebell walks. He claimed that a dense new housing estate would harm the character of the area’s “calm feeling of countryside peace and tranquillity”.

A spokesman for BANDAG – which campaigns against building on greenfield land – called for the Holme Mill site to be redesignated from brownfield to conservation area on the grounds of its industrial heritage.

The group claimed the application did not meet with the council’s Core Strategy, which governs housing development across the district.

Planning officers said the applicant was willing to comply with a Section 106 agreement to pay a financial contribution of £25,000 towards measures to mitigate against potential impacts on habitats from increased recreational pressures on the site.

The committee voted against the plans stating reasons for refusal as loss of a valuable asset to the community; no offer of affordable housing; a loss of wildlife and protected trees; there would be an adverse impact on Bradford wildlife in the area; and the access and egress areas would impact on highway safety.