SEVENTY-FIVE homes are set to be built on an Otley greenfield site after councillors gave their backing to the scheme.

The proposed Yorkshire Housing Association development on the hillside behind Meagill Rise is now expected to go ahead despite widespread opposition. At a meeting of Leeds City Council's South and West Plans Panel last week members voted in favour of the scheme which has now been deferred and delegated to the chief planning officer.

The decision was described as "deeply disappointing" by Otley and Yeadon councillor Sandy Lay who spoke at the meeting to put forward the concerns of local people on issues including highways, school provision and flooding.

Coun Lay, who attended with fellow Otley and Yeadon councillors Colin Campbell and Ryk Downes, said: "Unfortunately our arguments were not enough to sway the Plans Panel who voted 8-2 in recommending the decision to develop the site. The decision technically is to 'defer and delegate to the Chief Planning Officer'. There will be no further opportunity for councillors, Plans Panels or residents to formally comment, object or delay the decision."

Cllr Lay said the panel had been impressed by YHA's desire to provide 62.5 per cent affordable housing - which would constitute 47 out of 75 houses.

He said: "This affordable housing is to be provided to the bottom quartile of income of resident's. As elected members we shall continue to challenge YHA to ensure that those properties do indeed go to the bottom 25 per cent of residents on lower incomes. We shall also be demanding, that these affordable homes are prioritised for some of the 400 Otley residents and families on social housing waiting lists.

"Whilst the decision is deeply disappointing, in my view due to infrastructure concerns, this is an opportunity now for us to provide some desperately needed social and affordable housing in the town for our young people and families."

The panel's decision means approval is expected to be given by the chief planning officer once the developer meets the planning conditions and any other requests.

Coun Lay added: "It is too soon to know how long before or when the site will commence but again please be assured that we will work with the council's planning team to ensure that we gain some control over construction access, traffic and working times. We shall also be working to ensure that the YHA continues to plan, build and develop the site sympathetically and to a high standard."

The development will consist of 28 two bedroom, 16 three bedroom and 31 four bedroom properties.

A report to the panel noted: "It is a demanding site in terms of landscape and topography and previous private sector developers have concluded it could not be viably developed.

"This is therefore a key opportunity to make a significant contribution to the supply of housing, the majority of which is to be affordable.

"The scheme is considered to be of good quality and constitutes sustainable development."