PLANS to create a housing development along the Leeds Liverpool Canal have hit a major hurdle.

A site off Hainsworth Road in Silsden has previously been earmarked for housing – and if the scheme went ahead around 30 homes would be built on the field.

But at a meeting of Bradford Council’s Regulatory and Appeals Committee last week, members refused an application to create access to the site.

The application, submitted by Mick Smith, would see an existing building known as The Willows demolished and access to the site would be via narrow Hainsworth Road.

The site in question is south of the Leeds Liverpool Canal, with a row of trees separating the land from the waterway.

There had been 23 objections to the plans, raising concerns about the loss of green land and traffic concerns about access to the site.

Silsden Town Council had also objected to the plans.

But a report to the committee by planning officers suggested the application be approved.

The site has previously been allocated as an area safeguarded for future housing development in Silsden.

However, members of the committee pointed out that access to this land was always intended to be from a Silsden bypass – a major infrastructure project that has never emerged, and, councillors were told, is unlikely to happen any time soon.

Under the plans that went before the committee on Thursday last week, traffic to the site would be via Hainsworth Road.

The road is bordered by protected hedges, which means it could not be widened.

Councillor Mike Ellis said: “When this site was first allocated for housing, the traffic was never intended to go on the road that this plan is now proposing.

“The access would have incorporated the bypass, and the bypass has not been built.”

Chairman of the committee, Cllr David Warburton, said: “When I visited the site, I found the bend on that road very, very narrow. It was extremely difficult to see round that corner.

“I think the idea of putting houses on this site should be refused until more suitable access has been put forward.”

The committee then voted to refuse the plans on highway safety grounds.

Silsden Town Council, in its objection to the planning application, said no further development should take place at the site until local infrastructure been improved.

“For this site, the junction of Belton Road with Keighley Road requires upgrading with at least a roundabout.

“A holistic overview is required, given the number of ongoing and proposed planning applications which exit or enter on to Keighley Road.

“Other infrastructure includes the capacity of the electric substation and sewers which are running at capacity.”

The town council claimed Hainsworth Lane was too narrow, and that the proposed widening could not be created due to protected hedgerows.