A PLANNING application for 53 houses on land owned by Craven District Council, in Skipton, has been deferred by the planning committee for more information.

The site, to the north of Airedale Avenue, is earmarked for a mixture of one, two, thee and four-bed homes, with 15 of these to be affordable housing.

The developer is Craven Barnfield Regeneration Ltd; the Council’s joint venture company.

The Council plans to transfer the land into the joint venture company in return for the land value and a share of the profits from the development.

Councillor Robert Heseltine said he was appalled at the thought of a further 400 vehicles using Shortbank Road and nearby residential streets to gain access to the site.

He said the plans offered a ‘substandard’ access from Airedale Avenue onto Hurrs Road, which the council said would require an amended layout.

“This access is extremely substandard even when some improvements are suggested; improvements which cannot be legally achieved because the land required is not in the control or ownership of the developers - Barnfield Construction - or the local authorities,” he said.

Cllr Heseltine suggested a new access onto the A65 Ilkley-Otley road, to the east of the development site, which would avoid the residential areas.

He said he could not support an application without all the traffic issues being addressed and proposed a deferment.

He said people were asking him what was going on. “As owners of the land, CDC must be completely open and transparent. We should not be seen to be feathering our own nest. At should at all times be impartial. We cannot be gamekeeper and poacher,” he said.

Concern was also directed at the number of affordable homes suggested, which was less than the standard 30 per cent.

Initially the developer had said 16 homes would be affordable but feared the site was not viable for this number and the application was changed to 15.

The agent suggested the council could apply for a grant to fund the 16th affordable home.

However, Councillor Richard Welch said the proportion of affordable homes should be up to the council.

“It’s our land. If we want 30 per cent we should have 30 per cent. We should not be dictated to by developers.”

Concern was also expressed about plans to alleviate flooding on part of the site which was in the Flood Zone 2 category.

Speaking to the Herald after the meeting, a spokesman for Craven District Council said: “The Council’s joint venture, Craven Barnfield Regeneration Ltd was formed to improve the economic well-being of Craven and help ensure housing need is met. By bringing forward unused Council owned land for development the Council can ensure that its assets are used to deliver much needed affordable housing and employment opportunities.

“The Council transfers the land into the Joint Venture Company in return for the land value and a share of the profits from the development. “These are then re-invested into further development schemes that will provide affordable housing and employment opportunities.”

The council said it was unable to provide details yet of how much profit it hoped to gain.