PLANS to build two detached bungalows on land north west of St Mary's Green, in Carleton, have been refused.

Craven District Council's planning committee had been recommended to refuse the application by officers who feared the development would cause 'substantial harm to the designated heritage asset of Carleton Conservation Area'. Members were told the harm would not be outweighed by any significant benefits, such as housing needs.

The application site is in a corner of a field and has no natural boundaries other than where it adjoins the rear garden of numbers two to six St Mary's Green, and a public footpath which lies adjacent to the boundary of the playing field of Carleton Primary School.

The site lies outside the development limits as defined in the adopted Local Plan.

Forty letters of representation had been received by the council.

They expressed concerns including an effect to the local ecology, the impact on local amenity, inadequate access, loss of privacy, proposals out of keeping with the character of the area, the development cannot be classed as small infill, concerns about the increase in traffic and an increase in flood risk.

Another objector state the land was glebe land and could not be used for building unless it was for the church, school benefit or agricultural purposes.

The reported pointed out, however, that a covenant on land is not a planning matter and has no bearing on the determination of the application.

Speaking on behalf of Carleton Parish Council, Sarah Churcher said: "The parish council is concerned the development will spoil the character of a rural village."

She added that grassland has always been intended to be just that and the bungalows would cause significant harm to the heritage asset and nearby listed buildings.

Councillor Chris Rose said: "This development is not needed. There is no demonstrable need and I am against it."

Councillor Brian Shuttleworth said he had concerns about the highways access point.

Cllr Shuttleworth was also concerned about a wall which had been reduced in height and asked if that had been lawfully carried out.

He was told by planning officer Mark Moore that the walls has been investigated and no breach had occurred.

The applicant's agent, Robert Hodgkiss, said there was sufficient separation from the church to the new homes to cause minimal affect. He added the development was 21 metres from numbers 4, 5 and 6 St Mary's Green and would not cause any overshadowing as they were modest, low-rise bungalows.

He said the development would cause no harm to the conservation area and would contribute to the housing need in Craven.

Members voted to refuse the plans. The reasons listed are that the proposal would cause substantial harm to the designated heritage asset of the conservation are.

The detail and design of the proposed development are inappropriate for a site within the conservation area and would adversely impact on a designated heritage asset by virtue of its location where it would result in the loss of important views into and out of the Carleton Conservation Area."