A VILLAGE councillor denied being a ‘Nimby’ during a planning meeting in which a controversial proposal to build homes on a field was approved.

The application to build up to nine houses on land off Cross Lane, Oxenhope, went before a planning panel.

Almost 60 people had objected to the plans, including Oxenhope Village Council, raising concerns about the loss of an undeveloped area of land and a reduction in street parking in Cross Street that opponents said the development would cause.

The application was discussed by Bradford Council’s Keighley and Shipley Area Planning Panel.

Applicant Hugh Roberts said: “Bradford district has an acute housing shortage. Schemes like this are needed to reduce pressure on house prices.”

Worth Valley councillor Rebecca Poulsen said residents were concerned about the loss of parking that would result from the development.

She added: “Oxenhope residents know the type of development needed in Oxenhope. This isn’t it.”

Village councillor Debbie Harvie referred to a recent opinion piece by the applicant in a Yorkshire newspaper where he spoke about ‘Nimbys’ (not in my back yard) opposing small-scale housing schemes.

She said: “I only recently found out what a Nimby was from this article.” She denied that she and her fellow councillors were Nimbys, adding: “We’re anything but, we are a pragmatic and forward-thinking council.

“We have reviewed 43 planning applications, and supported 91 per cent of them.”

She said the site was an important “gap” in the village – through which people could see the local moors with all their Bronte links.

Cllr Harvie added: “This development will remove that link.”

Planning officers pointed out that Oxenhope Village Council had recently put forward its village plan, which set out what areas should be protected as green space.

This site was not on the list of protected areas.

Councillor Sinead Engel said that despite the concerns, she could not see any planning reasons to refuse the scheme.

Worth Valley councillor Chris Herd said: “I think local people’s feelings should be listened to rather than just planning regulations.”

Cllr Engel replied: “There are lots of times as a planning panel we have to vote in a way we don’t necessarily want to. We have to look at the policies in place.”

Two members of the committee voted in favour and two voted against. One abstained. As chair, Cllr Engel cast the deciding vote, and the plan was approved.