COUNCILLORS have voted to refuse plans for new houses near a village rail station – despite the recommendations of their own officers.

John Mawby submitted plans for eight homes next to Ben Rhydding Station, on land currently used as the approach to his house, known as The Sidings.

The application would see four houses built on the land, which is accessed through the station car park. A bungalow off St John’s Road would be demolished to make way for the other four homes.

The plans had attracted 22 objections, including from local councillors and the Ilkley Civic Society, many of whom said it would be an over-development of the area. The application went before Bradford Council’s Keighley and Shipley Area Planning Panel on Wednesday, and despite the objections, officers had recommended members approve the houses.

Councillor Anne Hawksworth (Ind, Ilkley) was one of the objectors, and said: “This application is located right in the centre of Ben Rhydding, which is overloaded with cars already. I think there will eventually be houses on this site, but they shouldn’t be the scale of this.”

Councillor Martin Smith (Con, Ilkley) also spoke at the meeting. He said: "This site has been a bone of contention with the community for over 20 year during which construction work has been intermittent and at unacceptable times with loud builder’s music playing at weekends, so there is much concern about these proposals today.

"On planning grounds the site B for four houses on a site of a bungalow is over development." He added: "The proposal will increase the existing overuse of the highway in this area by traffic and all day parkers."

Other objectors also said the traffic would put increased strain on the roads around the station, which include Ben Rhydding Primary School and St John The Evangelist Church.

Neither the council’s Highways Department nor Network Rail had objected to the plans.

Mr Mawby told the meeting that he felt it right to build “low cost, affordable” homes on the land.

Chairwoman of the panel Doreen Lee (Lab, Keighley East) said: “I’m not happy with this at all. I think this is an overdevelopment of this site. I don’t agree with what highways officers have said on this.” Councillor Adrian Naylor (Ind, Craven) said he was unhappy that construction vehicles would have to access part of the site through the station’s car park.

The panel refused the plans, saying it was an overdevelopment of the site, and could lead to access problems.