AN INDEPENDENT planning inspector has made a U-turn which could save an area of Skipton from future development.

Campaigners feared an area around Park Hill, to the north of the town, was doomed to new housing after a final inspection in public hearings last year resulted in the inspector recommending the land not be given special status.

But following an outcry from walking groups, residents, the district council and members of Skipton Civic Society, the inspector is now recommending an area of Local Green Space should be designated around Park Hill.

Sue Wrathmell, research secretary with Skipton Civic Society and its joint chairman alongside Dean Holdaway, said it was excellent news.

She said she and colleague Jacqueline Towers 'wrote a very detailed response, emphasising the extent and heritage significance of the hill and its prominence from the High Street'.

"We strongly challenged the validity of the 'extensive tract of land' status and requested that it should be designated as Local Green Space," she said.

Another campaigner against development of this green space is David Chadwick who said he would have liked the inspector's recommendation to encompass a wider area.

He said: "I welcome the government inspector's recommendations, however I am disappointed that the land to the north of Short Lee Lane is not included in the proposed Local Green Space. This land runs along the length of Short Lee Lane from Skipton Woods to Grassington Road.

"Any development on this elevated piece of land would have an overbearing effect on the Park Hill area and Skipton Woods.

"I think it is important for people to lodge their concerns in the consultation period."

The district council said this change to the Draft Local Plan will require further debate and a new public consultation has begun which will run for six weeks until Thursday, August 29.

Craven residents are being invited to comment on the further main modifications.
While the news brings renewed hope to Skipton residents, those living in Hellifield who hoped to see the whole of the Flashes area, to the north of the village, designated as green space will have to wait a little longer to see if their wishes are to be upheld.

David Smurthwaite, strategic manager at Craven District Council, said: “We supported representations from residents regarding Local Green Space designations at Park Hill in Skipton, and Hellifield Flashes.

“The Inspector has now recommended that an area of Local Green Space could be designated around Park Hill.

“The Inspector had previously recommended that only Gallaber Pond at Hellifield Flashes should be designated as Local Green Space and this was proposed as a Main Modification to the Local Plan. The Council believed that the whole site could be designated as Local Green Space, and also suggested an alternative that in addition to Gallaber Pond two smaller areas of land at Hellifield Flashes known as Dunbars Flash and Little Dunbars Flash could be designated as Local Green Space.

“However, the Inspector has, at this stage, made no further recommendations relating to Hellifield and we must wait for his final report for his conclusions on this area."

The district council said the Inspector has also recommended a number of other Further Main Modifications in order to make the plan sound. 

These include policies around specialist housing for older people and affordable housing.  

The Further Main Modifications are considered necessary following the examination hearings, held during October 2018, to make the Local Plan sound, and following consultation on the Main Modifications which took place from Tuesday February 19 to Monday April 1, 2019.

All relevant representations will be considered by the inspector who will decide whether any further examination hearings are required. At the end of the examination process he will present his final conclusions in a report to the Council.  
If the inspector concludes that the Local Plan is ‘sound’ subject to Main Modifications and Further Main Modifications, the council can move forward to adopt the Local Plan, subject to making the modifications recommended by the inspector.

For details of how to submit representations on the Further Main Modifications, go to

Paper copies of the documents listed above will be available from libraries within the plan area and from the Craven District Council office reception desk during the consultation period.