Villagers suffer defeat over plan for 300 homes

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CAMPAIGNERS have failed in their latest bid to prevent hundreds of new homes being built in their village.

Members of Menston Action Group launched a battle to stop over 300 new homes from being built on land off Bingley Road and Derry Hill in Menston, which is in easy reach of both Leeds and Bradford.

Bradford Council’s regulatory and appeals committee was told at a heated meeting that the new homes could lead to raw sewage flowing into the village’s streets.

But members of the committee gave the green light for the developments following a site visit.

Now there are fears a planning appeal over new housing on the Bingley Road site, which was scheduled for tomorrow, will be dropped.

Campaigner Steve Ellams, who has helped to lead the fight for the last three years, said: “We were shocked and I don’t think anyone can believe it.

“At the half way point of the meeting we thought we would get a deferment of the decision to the inquiry and that’s what the council’s own solicitor advised the panel to do.

“It felt like we had won the lottery but within an hour we had our ticket shredded.

“We honestly don’t know where this leaves us because we never imagined we would be where we are now. We thought we would be heading to an inquiry on Tuesday.”

Villagers were dealt a blow when a Government planning inspector recently ruled that the land should not be given protection as a village green following a public inquiry.

Residents in Menston helped to raise thousands of pounds to fund their battle and they drew up a detailed report that argues the fields earmarked for development are unsuitable and could leave the village at risk of being flooded.

They have spent thousands of pounds hiring a flood risk assessor to look at the sites.

Dr Ellams added: “It’s absolutely shoddy. We showed that there’s a flooding and drainage problem and we showed videos of open sewers with effluent running down the road.

“We have shown as a community a resilience and resistence that been beyond the call of duty.”

Housing Minister Nic Bowles is due to meet local residents later this month.