Askham Bog saved! Council throws out 500-home plan opposed by thousands (including David Attenborough)

11 Jul 2019 @ 5.53 pm
| Environment, Politics

Askham Bog is safe!

Everyone from Yorkshire Wildlife Trust to Sir David Attenborough said the nature reserve would be threatened by a plan to build up to 516 homes nearby.

And the plan for the development off Moor Lane in Woodthorpe drew 7,600 objections.

Tonight the opponents were celebrating after City of York Council planning committee rejected the application.

Yorkshire Wildlife Trust said:

  • We’re THRILLED that planned development next to Askham Bog has just been unanimously refused by City of York Council, facing over 7,000 objections.

    We are so happy that the story of Askham Bog will continue. A fantastic victory for wildlife, for conservation, and for this special place!

Huge opposition

Ancient greenery… Askham Bog. Photograph © Johnson Cameraface on Flickr
During the summer of 2018, developers announced plans to build on land adjacent to Askham Bog despite the fact that the land is earmarked as Green Belt in the emerging Local Plan.

They organised a leaflet drop in the local area to promote their proposal, which generated anger from residents concerned about the potential impact on Askham Bog and on local infrastructure.

At the planning committee on Thursday (11 July) concerns were raised by councillors about the potential inappropriate development in the Green Belt and the development’s adverse impact on the bog.

Liberal Democrat councillors for Dringhouses & Woodthorpe have campaigned to protect this unique site since the previous Labour administration identified the land for development in their draft Local Plan.

One of them, Cllr Stephen Fenton, said:

  • Thousands of residents have made their views clear on this application and our communities in Dringhouses & Woodthorpe have been clear in their opposition at every stage to this inappropriate development.

    That is why I and my colleagues are delighted that this planning application has been refused by the committee and that the proposed development no longer poses a threat to Askham Bog or our local infrastructure, and I know many local residents feel the same.

At the meeting Prof Alastair Fitter, professor of ecology at the University of York, said the site is “exceptional” and added: “It’s one of the gems of the UK wildlife scene. It’s survived for 15,000 years – I would urge you not to take any risks with it.”

And Philip Crowe from Treemendous York said the site could instead be the city’s “first major contribution to the Northern Forest project”.

Cllr Andy D’Agorne said: “It could be akin to saying we have to demolish the Minster to build housing. It’s that important to our biodiversity heritage.

“It’s 15,000 years in the making – to lose it would be catastrophic for biodiversity.”

Additional reporting: Chloe Laversuch, Local Democracy Reporter