A 44-HOME development next to the Leeds and Liverpool Canal can go ahead after councillors approved the finer details of the scheme.

Permission to develop a field next to The Willows in Silsden was granted by Bradford Council in March, 2021, despite objections from many local residents.

But the plans were only in outline form – more details would need to be submitted and approved for the development to begin.

Last Thursday (June 1), the council’s regulatory and appeals committee met to decide on the more detailed plans, which had been submitted by Skipton Properties.

The housing developer’s proposals include a pathway, which will be maintained by Skipton Properties, that would lead from the new estate to the canal towpath.

There had been 16 objections to the latest plan, and Silsden Town Council had raised concerns about the potential impact of the development on traffic.

Craven ward district councillor Caroline Whittaker pointed out that the committee that approved the outline plans two years ago had concerns about highway safety, and suggested the more detailed plans should address this.

She argued the new plans did little to address the concerns, adding: “This is the biggest concern of residents.”

She said the 44 homes could lead to an extra 88 cars regularly using the town’s roads.

Cllr Whittaker added: “The dwellings in these designs have a very suburban approach, rather than reflecting the local vernacular.

“The homes would be very dominant, standing on the side of the canal. I urge you to refuse the plans due to the impact on the heritage asset (canal).”

Sarah Barraclough, managing director of Skipton Properties, said: “I walk a stretch of this canal most days with my dogs, so I can assure you we’ve taken into account the sensitivities of this site and feature.

“These homes will make a positive contribution to Silsden.”

Planning officer Stewart Currie said that the access to the site had already been approved by the committee in 2021, and highways issues were not part of the application being decided at the latest meeting. They were there to look at design and landscaping issues.

Some members raised concerns that a protected tree on the canalside could face the chop as part of the development.

Planning officers said that any work to remove that tree would need to be part of a separate application, and its future was not part of the current application.

The majority of members voted to approve the application, with one abstention.