PLANNED new housing could erase the divide between Steeton and Eastburn, claims a councillor.

Andrew Mallinson fears a number of potential housing developments in Eastburn will eventually link the two villages along the valley bottom.

He said: “The land clearly merges there. There could be building connecting the villages below Airedale Hospital.

“Steeton will be joined literally at the hip with Eastburn. Both villages will lose their identity.”

Coun Mallinson, who represents Craven ward on Bradford Council, made the comments after proposals to build 147 homes in Eastburn were given outline planning consent.

The council’s regulatory and appeal committee last week approved the plan to build on a field next to Airedale Hospital.

Coun Mallinson is supporting villagers who are objecting to the scheme on grounds such as traffic congestion, environmental effects and lack of infrastructure such as school places.

He recently slammed the developers’ proposal to move an existing Eastburn pedestrian crossing – to become part of a new access road – claiming it could endanger the lives of children walking to school.

Coun Mallinson said this week the Eastburn homes plan was only the first of several potential housing schemes nearby.

He said there was a parcel of land next to the proposed development with space for 20 houses, and another field nearer the River Aire, already bought by a developer, with potential for 200 houses.

These developments would be in addition to 200 new homes currently being built at the other side of Airedale Hospital, on land off Thornhill Road in Steeton.

Coun Mallinson fears that eventually new housing estates would connect Eastburn, with Steeton, on the strip of land between Airedale Hospital, the railway track and the River Aire.

Coun Mallinson attended the regulatory and appeal committee meeting to argue against the latest Eastburn planning application.

He said: “I argued on flooding issues, sewage, and that there isn’t sufficient educational provision in the area."

Coun Mallinson said traffic lights in Skipton Road, which runs through Steeton from Eastburn, were already running at “110 per cent” capacity.

He added: “What is being proposed in Eastburn is a signalised crossing and a new entrance road, that would be running at over-capacity from the day it opens.”