CONTROVERSIAL plans for 25 new houses which cannot support any affordable homes could be refused again despite an appeal being lodged with the planning inspectorate.

The site at land off Meadow Lane/Moorfoot Lane, in Cononley, put forward by Calvert Homes, has been the subject of planning applications over the years with separate pockets of land having approval dating back to 2014. A number of revised submissions on parts of the land have been refused in the past and appeals dismissed.

The current 25-home scheme was refused by Craven District Council in 2023 and outlined eight reasons. However only one reason - relating to a nearby listed building - was put forward. The applicants subsequently changed the layout of the plans to address this and lodged an appeal which is still in progress.

At a meeting on Tuesday, members of the Skipton and Ripon Area Constituency Committee were adamant that affordable housing should be part of the application despite the District Valuer Service stating valuations had been carried out and the site was not viable to support any.

The applicant, however, said a ‘claw-back review’ would be carried out at some point in the future and if viability changed, then they would look again at an affordable homes element.

Cllr Robert Heseltine said the idea the site was not viable ‘did not add up’. “What’s special about that site? It’s as flat as a pancake,” he said.

It was suggested that perhaps the developer had paid too much for the land.

Jamie Piper, the applicant’s agent, said one of the main reasons for the additional costs incurred was soil conditions which would require a more expensive piling foundation design.

Cllr Andy Brown said the village had already surpassed its expected housing stock forecast to 2032 by 21 homes (18 per cent). Services would be challenged and the application did not provide the mix needed. He added the plans could be rejected on the basis the balance between planning gain and loss was negative.

Planning manager Neville Watson said if members were minded to refuse the plans they could delegate authority to him to look to see if there was a cogent case to defend the reasons members had come up with and discuss it at the December meeting.

“My initial thoughts are I’m going to struggle but I am prepared to do it,” said Mr Watson.

Members unanimously voted they were minded to refuse the application for reasons stated by Cllr Brown and defer a final decision to a subsequent committee to allow officers to report back with potential reasons for refusal.

It is likely the application will be revisited at the December meeting.