THE fate of a 500-home application on green belt land in Burley-in-Wharfedale is still hanging in the balance after councillors deferred making a decision on the plan.

Village residents, ward councillors and the developers gathered at City Hall in Bradford today to see whether the major plans would be approved or rejected.

However, the Regulatory and Appeals Committee voted unanimously to delay making a decision on the plans until after a referendum is held by Burley Parish Council on a local plan in May, subject to approval from Bradford Council’s executive.

Concerns were raised by the committee over improvements to transport links and plans for a primary school on the site.

The outline planning application has been submitted by housing developer CEG for permission to develop a green field site in Sun Lane into a 500-home estate, with a primary school, open public spaces, access routes and other associated works.

It has been met with mass opposition from existing Burley residents, and Wharfedale ward councillors concerned about the effect the new homes will have on the road network around the village and its railway station.

In the Council’s Core Strategy, Burley-in-Wharfedale has been listed for 700 new homes to meet the district’s housing demand, and CEG’s plans include 30 per cent of homes being marketed as affordable housing.

Also included in the plans are tens of thousands of pounds of payments to improve roads in the village and also expand bus services to the railway station.

More than 200 people have objected to the plans with just one person in support, but all consultees have raised no objections.

Councillor Jack Rickard (Conservative, Craven) asked the developers to confirm they would build a school, but applicant Steve McBurney said

they were not planning to.

He said: “Our preference is for a school to be built. We are gifting the land for free, and the Council’s preference is for flexibility. Our Community Infrastructure Levy would cover the cost of building the school.”

He added CEG will “make sure the development is of the highest quality”, and that CEG’s “legacy is very important to us”.

Cllr Rickard said: “If we are going to give up green belt it must be with real care and very special circumstances.

“But, with this development I am not confident it is substantial enough, especially with the issues with transport and the school.

“At the moment it leaves a bit of a bad taste in the mouth, and quite a lot of the ideas we have heard are a bit flaky.”

Cllr Alan Wainwright (Labour, Tong) added: “There will be a referendum in May and we would be jumping the gun against the local plan to approve this.

“Had there been a concrete plan for the school I could have supported this, but it is just a piece of land.”

The committee voted to defer making a decision until later in the year.