Councillors have given the go-ahead for 53 houses on land off Stoney Lane, Holmfirth.
Members of Kirklees Council’s strategic planning committee asked that improved walking routes to school were included when a full planning application was submitted.
At the same meeting a councillor claimed a developer may be using legislation to avoid planning contributions.
The first application by Millpark Construction Ltd was for outline – principal in agreement – housing on land at Lancaster Lane, Brockholes.
The second was by James Wood and Petrian Construction Ltd for housing on nearby land.
But concern was raised by a number of councillors about the “coincidence” of the two sites coming forward and questions were asked about the potential of developers avoiding planning contributions by submitting two separate applications.
Clr Edgar Holroyd-Doveton, Holme Valley North Independent, said: “This is an attempt to get around the legislation.”
Clr Mark Hemingway, a committee member, asked: “These two applications are for shared access... to me it seems a coincidence the land has never been developed but two applications with shared access and the same agent... I can imagine this is going through the same people doing the build. How do we stand with the legislation regarding contributions?”
Officers told him they were two separate applications and should be considered separately, but a resident shouted out: “They have the same owner”.
Clr Paul Kane had similar concerns, and also queried the differing number of houses in the report – house numbers can mean a different level of contribution may be required by the developer.
The first application was for a former allotment and the land owner was heavily criticised for “ruthlessly expelling” allotment holders from the site and allowing it to become scrubland.
James Wood, in support of the first site but the applicant for the second, said the land had “limited value” as urban greenspace and “no realistic possibility” of becoming allotments once again.
Clr Terry Lyons, committee member, moved refusal on grounds it failed to meet Kirklees Council’s policy of allotment land being found elsewhere if it’s lost to development.
His refusal was not seconded and instead deferral was the preferred choice of six of the seven-strong committee to allow more work to be done on the application.
The second application was unanimously refused.
A third housing plan for five houses on land adjacent to Miry Lane, Netherthong was also deferred five councillors versus two after a vote to approve it was lost three versus four and council officers said the committee did not have valid reasons for refusal.
Clr Ken Sims, Holme Valley South Conservative, spoke at the meeting and said Kirklees was “burying its head in the sand” in focusing on housing at the expense of infrastructure such as improving local roads.
Clr Nigel Patrick, fellow Holme Valley South Conservative, said the Miry Lane plan failed the four sustainability tests while committee members were concerned about drainage and access.