A 70-YEAR-old woman was detained by police after reports of damage to a fence around a controversial development site in Bramhope.

The elderly woman was spoken to by officers after a part of the fence was allegedly knocked down last week. The incident was the latest in a series of reports of damage to the structure which has been branded a blot on the landscape by villagers.

Feelings have been running high since the beginning of the year after the Leeds Road site was fenced off. Now previously law-abiding people are believed to be taking matters into their own hands.

Developers Bramhope Assets had planned to build four homes on land at the Wynmore Avenue end of the Jubilee Copse ribbon park. But they were accused of vandalising a conservation area by putting up the barrier around a section of "vital" green space.

The planning application has been rejected by Leeds City Council but now the developers are looking at launching an appeal.

Meanwhile residents remain outraged about the fence which has become a major bone of contention in the village.

Last week a police spokesman said: "There have been some reports of damage to the fence and at the beginning of this week a local woman in her 70s was detained."

Matthew Brooke, from Bramhope Assets said: "We're surprised at the actions of a certain group of local hard-line activists who appear intent on wilfully and unlawfully damaging the fencing on the site. Whilst of primitive appearance, this fencing is lawfully erected by the landowner and seeks to prevent trespass on the site, protecting the interests of the landowner as we are all entitled to do.

"Unfortunately, what we assume are otherwise law abiding people appear to be willing to risk police caution and prosecution by deliberately removing and damaging fencing against the will of the landowners. This activity has not gone unnoticed by the local police constable who is continuing to look into the matter. We would encourage those responsible to think carefully about their actions, and the risks they are taking in behaving in this inappropriate manner.

"Looking to the immediate future, the situation remains that we are seeking counsel before committing to a route forward, and at this stage both an appeal and re-submission are likely given the nature of the reasons for refusal. What we can confirm is that we will continue to progress our development proposals on this site, which include substantial investment in local green infrastructure, resurfacing of the PROW, public art and planting which will substantially enhance the adjacent Jubilee Copse to the benefit of local residents."

In January Bramhope Parish Council spoke out about the 'blot on the landscape."

They argued that the site was a natural part of the Jubilee Copse ribbon park and said the Parish Council had tried a number of times to buy the land but without success.

At the same time a spokesman said: "The parish council has already raised with Leeds City Council our concerns over the height of the fence and the road safety implications, and will continue to press for the removal of this blot on the landscape."