Steeton’s “naked gardener” is angry that Bradford Council is behind plans to build houses on adjacent land.

The council itself applied for planning permission in advance of selling off the Coppy Road site – and one of its officers approved the application.

Leslie Howard has for 19 years walked nude around the garden of his home in Coppy Road.

He fears that occupants of three proposed two-storey houses will be able to see him from the bedroom windows.

Mr Howard’s recent campaign against the new buildings attracted coverage in newspapers and websites around the world after it was featured in the Keighley News.

He claimed the council had breached his human rights by giving planning permission to the applicant.

Mr Howard’s anger was renewed when he discovered this month that the council was the applicant.

The land, currently occupied by garages, belongs to the council and is due to be sold at auction in December.

The council’s asset management department hopes to attract a larger price because it has permission for housing attached.

Mr Howard said he and his neighbours had to “dig deep” to discover who the applicant was, because the council was not named on the application.

He said: “With planning permission the land is worth four times as much.”

Ian Wilson, Bradford Council’s planning casework manager, told the Keighley News: “The planning application was decided by a senior officer using delegated powers following an appraisal of all material planning considerations. The ownership of the land was not material in deciding whether or not to grant permission.”

The council later admitted it was the owner of the garage site at Coppy Road.

A spokesman said: “It has been declared surplus to its requirements.

“Asset management is selling the site at auction in December which, in order to maximise the price achieved, is being sold with the benefit of planning consent for residential development.

“Money generated from the sale will be used to improve the delivery of council services through improvements to the council’s retained buildings.”