PLANS to build housing on a greenbelt site in Apperley Bridge have been refused, with one councillor questioning why they were ever submitted.

The application to build nine houses on farmland off Apperley Lane, near the border of Leeds and Bradford, was thrown out by Bradford Council’s Bradford Area Planning Panel at a meeting yesterday.

Although applicants AL Properties had argued that there were “exceptional circumstances” that would allow the development to happen on protected greenbelt land – members of the panel did not agree.

The company said Bradford Council was facing a shortfall in its housing supply, and this development would provide easily deliverable housing.

But planning officers had recommended that the development be refused for three reasons – that housing would be inappropriate development on the greenbelt site, that there was “substandard access on to an extremely busy district distributor” (road), and that the development would harm the landscape and appearance of the area.

They reiterated their concerns to members of the panel, which met in City Hall.

Thirty-eight people had written to the Council objecting to the plans, with nine writing in support of them.

Speaking against the plans was ward Councillor Alun Griffiths (Lib Dem, Idle and Thackley) who said: “The incontrovertible reason this should be refused is that it is on greenbelt land.

“It is unlikely this land will ever be anything but greenbelt land, but even so, you have to base your decision on the current situation. It doesn’t fulfil any of the exceptional circumstances needed, not by any stretch of the imagination.

“Just because we don’t have a five year housing supply doesn’t mean you can build on any bit of land in the council area.”

After hearing from objectors, Councillor Paul Sullivan (Con, Bingley Rural), a new member of the panel, said: “I don’t even know why we’re listening to this application. I’m baffled that the applicants have even submitted this.”

He was advised by legal officers that he needed to listen to both sides before he expressed his final opinion on the plans.

Agent Sam Dewer said: “We have provided numerous very special circumstances. This site is immediately deliverable and would make a contribution to the wider housing supply.”

They were confident the site could be allocated as housing in the future.

But Councillor Rebecca Whitaker (Con, Craven) said: “I can’t see any exceptional circumstances here.”

Councillor Riaz Ahmed (Lib Dem, Bradford Moor) said: “Who are we building these houses for? Are they for the people of Bradford who we represent, or are they for the people of Leeds?

“There is a lot of housing going up in this neck of the woods, and I don’t think its for the people of this district.”

Chair Councillor Shabir Hussain said: “Greengates has totally changed. We’re not talking about a few houses, we’re talking about hundreds of houses in recent years.”

The committee then voted to refuse the plans.