Villagers hopes of blocking new development which they say will erode its character were dashed when councillors rejected one housing plan but gave permission to another.
It was standing room only when Killinghall villagers packed into council offices to hear the councils planning committee debate plans for 137 houses in the ancient village.
Plans for 62 houses at land off Cautley Drive near the cricket ground were refused by 14 votes with two abstensions, however less than an hour later the same committee granted permission for 75 houses on farm land on Picking Croft Lane in the same village.
“I don’t know what to say, how can they say yes to one and no to another,” said Killinghall resident Simon Wall.
Resident Jane Dacombe spoke at the meeting to urge councillors to refuse the plans for Cautley Drive.
She said: “I am really pleased it was refused, it is common sense. The local development framework has 1100 houses allocated for our village. Slowly but surely our rural village is being eroded.”
Coun Anne Holdsworth, chair of Killinghall Parish Council spoke out against both applications at the meeting.She said: “This has been applied for before the LDF has been approved, this appears to make a mockery of the whole democratic process.
“The public perception is that developer are trying to leap through a few loop holes.”
She added: “Please think of the parish which is sinking under the weight of traffic.”
Concern about the impact of the additional traffic from the new houses on Cautley Drive on the junction between Otley Road and Ripon Road led to the councillors voting to refuse.
Developers were again critisised by councillors for applying before the Local Plan is approved by the secretary of state which is expected this summer.
Seven councillors voted in favour of 75 homes on farm land on Picking Croft Lane.
Coun Phil Ireland (Con, Knaresborough) said: “We need to make progress toward achieving a five year supply of houses which will stop any speculative unsuitable developments.”
The district’s requirement for a five year supply of houses means that despite the council refusing the plans, the application will be passed to the planning referral committee for a final decision.
If the council cannot prove a five year supply of homes in the district developers are more likely to be granted permission if they appeal a decision.
Council planning officer Andrew Siddal compared the situation to a game of top trumps.
“We are playing a game of top trumps with Eric Pickles,” he told the planning committee.
“The national planning policy framework which says we need a five year housing trumps any of our own local policies.”