ELDERLY landowners in Guiseley are being penalised by a council's rejection of a 46 home scheme, it is being claimed.

A representative of some of the owners of the Silverdale allotments said they had been overjoyed when their privately owned small holdings were identified for housing in the Leeds Site Allocation Plan. But they have been left disappointed by the rejection of the Stonebridge Homes scheme.

In a statement on behalf of some of the land owners Brian Firth said: "Although the land has been in their families for decades, most of the land has become derelict and unused due to changing times and ageing bones, and this would supplement their pensions very nicely.

"However, their joy was short lived when the the Council incorporated a restriction. They could only develop 50 per cent of their land subject to the remaining 50 per cent being sub-divided into small allotments for rental by local residents, under a management scheme agreed with the council."

Mr Firth said the application had been refused because they had been unable to sign over control of the 50 per cent. But he said landowners had left 29 per cent of the land out of the application and offered a substantial contribution to an off-site green space upgrade to compensate for the other 21 per cent.

He said: "At a time when the Government is encouraging people to make provision for their retirement, they intend to penalise a group of senior citizens who have done exactly that by purchasing their land Freehold, thus having the option to sell their land to boost their pensions if required."

Mr Firth disputes claims by the Silverdale Action Group that the allotments had been part of a "wellbeing legacy" after the First World War.

He said a search of the Land Registry had confirmed that the whole section of the allotment area was legally transferred in the early 1900`s under Absolute Freehold Title, and that there was no mention of a wellbeing legacy.

He stressed: "I can confirm that the land was not a Wellbeing Legacy left to the community in any form. It was sold long after the death of Jonathan Peate to a local society under Absolute Freehold Title. It was then subdivided and sold under the same title to individual plot owners. It has never belonged to the community or the council in any form."

In its refusal of planning permission Leeds City Council said the loss of the existing allotments/greenspace would have a detrimental impact on the overall supply in an area where there was an existing deficiency.

A council report accepted that the scheme would bring some benefits but added: "However having taking on these benefits on board it is considered that the adverse

impacts due to the lack of greenspace provision would significantly and demonstrably

outweigh the benefits of the proposal."

The report added: ""Whilst an increase in housing units would generally be supported in order to contribute to housing supply, especially when there is not a five year land supply, in this instance it is at the expense of the protection of greenspace/allotment provision in the Guiseley area and cannot be supported."

The application attracted 183 letters of objection and four letters of support. It was also opposed by local councillors and by groups including Aireborough Civic Society.