TWO controversial planning applications to build houses in Menston have been approved by Bradford Council.

Proposals to build housing on fields off Derry Hill date back over a decade, and have attracted a huge amount of opposition.

Although a prior plan to build 173 houses on the land was approved, permission expired without work starting.

Last year two separate applications for the adjoining fields – for a total of 161 houses, were submitted to Bradford Council.

Conditions of the application include a number of investments in Menston, including £150,000 paid by the developers to install lifts at Menston Rail Station, around £30,000 to improve Main Street, including widening pavements and installing a zebra crossing, and money towards traffic orders. The developers will have to install huge flood attenuation measures on each site – both of which have seen major flooding in recent years. Like with previous applications, the plans attracted huge numbers of objections.

But at a meeting of Bradford Council’s Regulatory and Appeals Committee on Thursday members approved both applications.

One councillor pointed out that they had to make their decision based on planning rules, not based on how many objections there were.

The first application before the committee was for 47 houses with access of Derry Hill, submitted by Stonebridge Homes and Greenlight Developments.

Of the houses, 14 would be classed as affordable. The plans also include a through road to the neighbouring development.

Members heard that Menston Parish Council and numerous residents had raised concerns about flooding on the site.

Councillor Dale Smith (Con), a Wharfedale ward councillor and also a Menston Parish Councillor, said the objections were not down to a “NIMBY attitude” adding: “The overriding concern is the impact of flooding.”

However, officers said the applicants had provided detailed plans of how flooding would be dealt with.

Councillor Mike Ellis (Con, Bingley Rural) said: “The main stumbling block in the past has been drainage, and I’m satisfied with what officers have said that this issue has been dealt with. We have to look at planning law, and not the number of people who have objected to an application.”

The developers will have to pay a Community Infrastructure Levy of £606,000 – 15 per cent of which will go to Menston Parish Council.

Members voted to approve the plans.

The next application is for a neighbouring field off Moor Lane. Yorkshire Housing had submitted an application for 114 affordable homes.

Once again, concerns had been raised about flooding on the site, and how building on the fields could caused floods elsewhere in the village.

Objectors showed members images of the site and neighbouring streets that were swamped during recent floods.

Steve Hughes, Planning Manager for Yorkshire Housing, said: “Affordable housing is a route for local people to own their own homes, something which is lacking in the area. This will provide a re-balance.”

He said the development was an investment of £25 million into the area.

This application was also approved.