Attenborough-opposed Askham Bog homes plan is rejected

Sir David Attenborough at Askham Bog Image copyright Tom Marshall
Image caption The broadcaster gave his backing to Yorkshire Wildlife Trust that runs Askham Bog

Plans opposed by Sir David Attenborough to build 500 houses near a nature reserve have been refused.

Askham Bog, near York, a wetland habitat and Site of Special Scientific Interest, is run by the Yorkshire Wildlife Trust.

The City of York Council’s planning committee said it had concerns about the impact on the bog as well as transport, health services and schools.

The developers, Barwood Land, disputed there was any risk to the bog.

Sir David Attenborough spoke out against plans to build on the land off Moor Lane in January and more than 7,600 people objected to the proposals.

Image copyright Jono Leadley
Image caption Askham Bog is the result of a retreating glacier 15,000 years ago

The trust said the reserve had “an incredible richness of plants”.

Sara Robin, from the trust, said: “It’s taken 15,000 years to develop because of its particular position at the end where a glacier melted.

“A lake formed and the lake filled in with bits of vegetation over thousands of years.”

Gary Halman, speaking on behalf of developer Barwood Land at the meeting, said York had a “housing crisis” with a need for more affordable housing, noted the Local Democracy Reporting Service.

“I recognise the concerns about the bog. We clearly have a difference of opinion on the impact on the bog”.

Mr Halman disputed the risk to the bog and said there was “no prospect” of it “drying out”.

Image copyright Malcolm Temple/Geograph
Image caption Louise Wilkinson, from the trust, said: “We couldn’t be happier with this outcome”

However, a report by planning officers said the development would be inappropriate in the green belt, have an adverse impact on the bog, put extra demand on school places and lead to more traffic in the area.

The application was unanimously refused.

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