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York Local Plan: Campaigners Say Wildlife "Destroyed" if Two Sites Approved

Askham Bog Nature Reserve - Credit Kirsten Carter 120614

6:19pm 12th June 2014

Campaigners say wildlife would be "destroyed" if development is allowed at two sites earmarked for development in York Council's proposed Local Plan.

The Yorkshire Wildlife Trust is opposed to proposals which would see building next to the Askham Bog nature reserve and at the Tilmire near Heslington.

Chief Executive of the charity, Dr Rob Stoneman said: “Askham Bog was originally saved from development in 1946 by Francis Terry and Arnold Rowntree who purchased it. The reserve was then gifted to Yorkshire Wildlife Trust by the famous sweet manufacturers to be looked after in perpetuity. Whilst we understand the issues surrounding available housing this should not come at the expense of a city treasure like Askham Bog, akin to the York Minster in the opinion of any naturalist.”

The charity is now calling on it's members to write to York Council to oppose the development plans at both sites. Dr Stoneman added “Building thousands of houses next to the Tilmire could cause considerable damage to this important wildlife site. Ground-nesting birds will simply not survive if thousands of people plus their cats and dogs move in next door. This beautiful site could be destroyed.”

“We are calling upon our 1,000 plus members in the York area and other residents of York to help us protect these two important sites for York’s wildlife. Please add your voice to ours and object to these proposals.”

In response Mike Slater, assistant director of City and Environmental Services at York Council said:  “All views and feedback will be considered as the Local Plan progresses. Although it’s important to note at this stage the sites submitted by landowners or indicated for use by landowners are proposals."

"A targeted consultation is underway until 16 July and we encourage residents and organisations to submit their views. A second and final round of city-wide consultation starts mid-year. The magnitude of the last consultation is still felt by everyone and echoed by over 14,000 representations made by developers, land owners, residents and businesses -  which is the largest amount of responses we've ever received during a consultation."

“Whilst we still have some time to go before the plan is adopted, we do recognise that the biggest challenges for York are the city's need for more affordable housing for residents, delivering more jobs, and protecting York's unique built and green environment for future generations - and through the Local Plan we hope to achieve this. The council is working to the Government’s policy/procedures to bring the plan forward and it is anticipated that a final draft of the Local Plan will be published for consultation mid-year and submitted for examination in Autumn.”

People can submit their views on York's Local Plan by e-mailing localplan@york.gov.uk .


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