A HOUSING development of seven homes on land off Skipton Road, in Kildwick, which had been recommended for approval has been refused by Craven District Council's planning committee.

Members were concerned about the design of the homes which they said were "inappropriate" and of a "generic" design which harmed the amenity of the village.

The application site to west of Main Road and to the south of Skipton Road is currently open grazing land used for chickens.

The dwellings were to consist of a terrace of three two-bed houses, two three-bed semi-detached homes and two four-bed detached houses.

The site lies within the conservation area for Kildwick.

Councillor Keith Midgley of Kildwick Parish Council said the council objected to the plans because of the potential harm the development could have on nearby monuments, namely the Grade 1 listed bridge, the 13th century St Andrew's Church and the Old Smithy.

"The church is only 30 metres from the proposed building site and the development will dominate the rest of the village, especially if the hedge is thinned or reduced.

"The Old Smithy will be towered over. The plans should be refused because they are too environmentally sensitive and would damage the village setting.

Parishioner Paul Silverton described the application as an "act of heritage desecration and vandalism" which was not in the spirit of the Local Plan.

Councillor Stephen Plaice moved a recommendation for refusal stating the development would have an adverse effect on the amenity of the area which would affect all residents of South Craven.

Councillor Chris Harbron said he would support a better scheme.

"More work needs to be done," he said.

Councillor Andrew Solloway added: "I am not inspired at all. The houses seem to be a generic design."

Councillor Linda Brockbank stated: "I think the design is not appropriate for the village.

David Hill Planning Ltd, on behalf of the applicant, said they believed the design "sat comfortably" in its setting.

Following the plan's rejection by planning committee members, Councillor Patrick Mulligan said: "I applaud the Craven District Council Planning Committee for its refusal of the application to build seven houses off Skipton Road in proximity to heritage assets in Kildwick.

"This was the right decision, and the rationale for the decision was also correct - that we both need to protect heritage assets and to guard against poor design when approving developments.

"I hope this decision will send a message to those who believe development in and of itself somehow represents the greater good. In my mind, what is required most of all is good, sympathetic design alongside an absolute respect for our heritage assets."

Reasons for refusal were that the homes were of an inappropriate design which would spoil the appearance of listed buildings in the village.