PLANS to add three new family homes on to an under-construction Clapham housing development have been narrowly approved.

Craven District Council's planning committee was equally split over the plans for the former Dalesview Garage on the edge of the village after hearing strong opposition from the parish council and the ward member.

Ann Sheridan, for Clapham Parish Council, told the committee the large, four-bedroom homes were the last thing the village needed, and what it really wanted to keep it sustainable was affordable homes for families and small, business start up units.

"Building three, very expensive houses for wealthy retirees will not help Clapham," she said.

A move to refuse the application, which is an extension of the neighbouring 22 homes site, by the same developer, McConnell Homes off Old Road, saw four councillors vote for, and four vote against, but was lost after the chairman, Alan Sutcliffe, said he was not prepared to use his casting vote.

Cllr Carl Lis, who is also chairman of the Yorkshire Dales National Park, had urged his fellow committee members to take note of the park authority's objection.

Although not against development in principle, the national park felt the design of the new homes did not reflect the 'distinctiveness' of the village.

Cllr Lis, who moved refusal of the application, against the advice of officers, said he also believed the original intention of the application had been lost after an error in the council's planning department had meant a legal agreement to ensure open space and affordable housing, had not been completed.

"We now have three open market houses and there is not a hope of a local family buying them, they will go to a family outside the area. The whole rationale of the site is blighted by this application. I shall be supporting the national park and the parish council," he said.

Cllr Ian Thompson said he thought the site needed developing because of its current untidy state which did Clapham no good at all. He also believed the committee would not approve any further extension of the development - as stated by the developer's agent.

And he added: "I don't believe the four bedroom homes will be bought by retirees, it is more likely they will be bought by someone in an established career with children who need to go to school."

After the vote to refuse the application was lost, Cllr Thompson moved approval, and it went through four to three, with one abstention.