Controversial plans to build 53 new homes on a field off Holme Lane, Sutton, have been rejected.

Members of Craven District Council planning committee turned down the scheme late this afternoon after a three-and-a-half-hour meeting, at South Craven Baptist Church.

Council officers had recommended that the planning application, submitted by Barratt and David Wilson Homes, should be approved.

But councillors argued that the homes would harm an important “green wedge” of land which forms part of Sutton’s character and distinct identity.

At least 150 people crowded into the church next to Thompson’s Field, the site where the developer wanted to locate the houses.

The plans were opposed by Sutton Parish Council. The district council also received 311 “generic” identical objection letters, 38 letters from school children and more than 60 from individuals.

Brian Sanderson, one of the individual objectors, said he was concerned that existing nearby homes would be flooded if the development was built.

Fellow objector Brian Clough said the village was already struggling to cope with the volume of traffic on its roads, while another speaker, Robert Young, questioned the need for this number of new homes. Mr Young said Sutton already had 61 houses for sale - including newly built properties.

Flood warden Madeleine Beaufoy drew attention to the applicant’s proposal to handle sewage using a package treatment plant. She pointed out that this purification process, which uses microbes to treat effluent, was only a temporary solution and was not suitable for a housing estate of this size.

Applicants’ agents Mark Johnson and Allan Poyser said the developer’s proposals had been with the council for nearly 12 months and had been carefully considered.

The application was refused by seven votes to three.