Archaeological experts are calling for the deferment of an application to build hundreds of homes in Bramhope because of the suspected presence of Romano British remains.
The West Yorkshire Archaeological Service is stressing that it sees the site as having significance, with the potential for late prehistoric or Romano British archaeological remains.
The service, which is basing its theories on crop mark evidence on aerial photographs, has submitted comments to Leeds City Council. It is calling for the application to be deferred pending a detailed archaeological survey of the site.
More than 600 objections have been lodged against the controversial scheme. Leeds City Council’s Highways Department has also said it is opposed to the scheme in its current form.
The response from residents has been described as “tremendous” by Bramhope Parish Council, which is warning that the development would radically change the character of the village.
Bramhope and Carlton Parish Council wrote to all residents, warning them of the scheme’s effect on the village and urging them to oppose it.
In the letter Council chairman Denis Johnson said: “This has all the hallmarks of an attempt to bypass the Housing Allocations consultation carried out this summer by Leeds City Council.
“LCC will publish revised proposals next year, followed by a public inquiry that will finalise by 2015 the Housing Site Allocations for Leeds until 2028.
“If Miller Homes succeed in this outline planning application, the Site Allocations exercise will be irrelevant, as planning consent on this Bramhope site would be final, over-riding the allocations reached through formal public consultation.”
But the developers are stressing that it will bring benefits to the area including parkland, ponds and a convenience store, as well as ease the housing shortage in Leeds.
Miller Homes say 80 per cent of the properties will have three or four bedrooms. The remainder will be either two or five-bedroom properties.
They say the development will include an extensive landscape strategy which will create a linked network of greenspaces, including a new park, a village green, allotments and a new woodland walk.
Bramhope councillor John Howard said although a minority of villagers had not supported the parish council’s stance the majority had agreed with what they were doing.
“We have had a lot of very supportive comments and e-mails from residents.
“The overwhelming tenor has been in favour of fighting the development.”
He said they were hopeful that the Miller Homes application would be rejected by city planners.