Plans to demolish derelict buildings on disused council-owned land in Keighley and replace them with houses have been approved.

The outline application for the land next to Utley Cemetery, in Skipton Road, was submitted by Bradford Council’s asset management department.

Agents acting on behalf of the council wanted permission to build three new homes on the site.

The proposals, debated by Keighley & Shipley Area Planning Panel last Wednesday, had faced five objections.

Opponents argued the new homes would result in loss of privacy for neighbours and cause access problems for vehicles.

They also said the two properties to be knocked down formed part of the history of the cemetery and should be conserved instead of destroyed.

However, presenting the plans to the panel, planning officer Martyn Burke said: “Our conservation officer says the buildings on the site are not of good enough quality to be listed and they’re not in a conservation area.

“They are not of good quality or of significant heritage value.”

He added that the new homes would be sited a good distance from existing neighbouring houses and that highways officers had no problems with access arrangements.

He said the disused stone-built building on this land had been a workshop. Panel chairman Councillor Doreen Lee said she understood that the old brick-built building used to be a chapel.

Panel member Coun Keith Dredge said: “Something has to be done with this site. If I lived near there I wouldn’t want to look out on these derelict buildings.

“We can improve this land, provide much-needed new houses and enable land which is doing nothing at the moment to be liberated from council ownership for the good of the community.”

Coun Malcolm Sykes said he was concerned about whether it was appropriate for the council to adjudicate on a council application. “The fox is in charge of the chicken roost sometimes and that worries me,” he said.

However, councillors Lee and Dredge said they did not think this was a problem. Coun Dredge said: “Even though it’s a [Bradford Council] asset management application, I don’t work for asset management. I work for the people of Keighley.”