PLANS for a major, commercial development in Keighley have been recommended for refusal by Bradford Council officers.

The council's Regulatory and Appeals Committee is due to consider the application for the project off Royd Ings Avenue at its meeting today. (March 8)

This same committee voted to defer the proposals last December, to give the applicant time to submit further information.

The plans are for eight new buildings housing nine commercial units, along with proposals for car parking and an access road.

But a report by the council's assistant director for planning, transportation and highways states: "Strong objections to the development on flood risk grounds have been maintained by both the Environment Agency and the council’s Drainage Unit, acting as Lead Local Flood Authority.

"Planning policy conflicts also remain in respect of Green Belt, landscape, ecology, air quality and highways matters.

"The potential benefits of providing additional industrial, storage and distribution buildings in this location are acknowledged.

"However, the planning assessment maintains these benefits don't outweigh the harm the development would cause, particularly to the Green Belt and the functional floodplain."

As previously reported, the firm behind the proposed development, PH Holdings, has said the multi million pound scheme on this 26.4 acre site would create hundreds of jobs.

The land it would be built on consists of green fields between the A629 bypass to the west and the River Aire to the east, directly north of a turning circle at the western end of Keighley Industrial Park.

The developer has said the new buildings and their access road would be elevated on stilts to allow the site to be retained as flood storage.

The report to be presented to councillors today says: "The applicant proposes to raise the sheds up on stilts, with an open void beneath secured with mesh grills, which are intended to allow flood water to pass beneath.

"The majority of the access road, other than the roundabout at the end, and a proportion of the car parking –208 spaces – would also be raised above the flood level.

"However, the main loading areas and the majority of the site car parking would be provided at the lower level and would be subject to a high flood risk."

The report acknowledges that the applicant did submit additional information on its plans following the committee meeting last December.

These details included a document on the principle of constructing buildings on stilts to cope with flooding, featuring examples of such structures from the Netherlands, Suffolk, Essex, Ashford and Mytholmroyd in West Yorkshire.

The developer also provided a visual impact statement, which concludes that the project would have a minimal effect on the character of the landscape.

But the assistant director for planning, transportation and highways report concludes: "The proposed development is contrary to the national and local development restraint policies applicable to the green belt and the functional floodplain.

"The benefits of the development are not considered to outweigh the harm the development would cause."