FURIOUS campaigners have hit out after more housing on a town's greenfield sites was given the go-head.

Bradford Council regulatory and appeals committee has approved plans for 138 homes to be built on land off Bolton Road, in Silsden – despite more than 800 objections.

Mark Wogden, chair of the Silsden Campaign for the Countryside group and a town councillor, describes the decision as "devastating".

And he claims the response to 840 objections submitted by the public was "insulting".

"I wonder how many of these residents – who actually have something major to say that is worth listening to – will have realised that their carefully-considered heartfelt words were visible only to the planning officer and would be summarised in a mere 46 words in his report to councillors," said Councillor Wogden.

"I and other Silsden civic representatives attempted to draw the committee’s attention to the dire cumulative effects of additional housing development here – traffic congestion, increased pollution, loss of biodiversity and important heritage landscape, insufficient school places and the lack of a real strategy for the town.

"We are far from being NIMBYS and at no point did we challenge the overall housing target for Silsden, which is already well on its way to being met, but we were saying that this is the worst possible site to cover with concrete – and that greater time and thought should be given to the sustainable development of our community. But all our carefully-researched statements went entirely without acknowledgement or recognition.

"Many in Silsden who had anticipated a ‘done deal’ from the start now feel justified in taking that view, and who can blame them?

"Bradford Council has not served the people of Silsden well."

Silsden Town Council was amongst objectors to the scheme, raising issues such as the potential impact of the proposals on school places and the increase in traffic the homes would bring.

And opponents also included Keighley MP Robbie Moore.

He says: "Ever since this planning application was first lodged with Bradford Council back in early 2022 I have been staunchly against it, and submitted a formal objection.

"Since then I have raised my concerns directly with Bradford Council on multiple occasions on the grounds that Silsden simply cannot cope with more housing with its current infrastructure.

"We have been inundated by new developments over recent years and to make matters worse, there are still further houses being proposed which Bradford Council is considering giving the green light to.

"Now more than ever we need to leave Bradford Council and form our own local authority which puts local voices first."

Craven-ward Green Party councillor Caroline Whitaker spoke against the plans at the meeting.

She said the road network in Silsden was already "cramped", causing gridlock and pollution.

And Councillor Matt Edwards, leader of the council's Green group and a committee member, questioned claims by the developer – Persimmon Homes – that residents of the new homes could use means of transport other than cars, claiming the site was a "car centric development on top of a hill".

But a majority of the committee supported the planning officers' recommendations and approved the plans.

Conditions include that 28 of the homes be classed as affordable and that Persimmon pays £100,000 to the council to help provide the long-awaited proposed new pedestrian and cycling bridge across the A629 Aire Valley trunk road.

Persimmon also committed to a local homes guarantee so employees of Airedale Hospital at Steeton and people living within a five-mile radius will have first refusal on properties for the initial four weeks.

The developer adds that the site will include public open space with hedgerows and landscape corridors retained, plus a public right of way.

James Parkin, land director at Persimmon West Yorkshire, says: "We’re pleased that committee members voted to reaffirm the council’s recommendation for approval.

“This development will provide 138 much-needed high-quality new homes in Bradford for local homebuyers.

“Our local homes guarantee also means people living within five miles, along with staff at Airedale Hospital, will have first refusal when the new homes go on sale.

“The development will provide a range of high-quality and energy efficient homes suitable for first-time buyers, families and downsizers alike at prices people can afford.

“Twenty-one homes will be transferred to a housing association with another seven to be made available as first homes to first-time buyers with a discount of at least 30 per cent.

“Significant contributions will be made to improve local infrastructure as agreed with Bradford Council which we look forward to working with to bring this development to fruition.”