17/04/2019
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Hellifield Flashes saved from development

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Plans for a holiday park-type development on the site of Hellifield Flash, North Yorkshire, have been thrown out by Craven District Council's planning committee.

The proposed development would have turned 32 hectares of land at and around the flash into a large complex including a three-storey hotel, leisure centre, swimming pool, up to 300 lodges and a park-and-ride facility. It was reported on by BirdGuides in October 2018.

However, the planning committee voted unanimously to reject the proposals, meaning that the site – at which 153 species of bird have been recorded, including nationally important numbers of Northern Lapwing and several wildfowl species – is safe.

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Ballon Ltd put forward their case for the development at Gargrave Village Hall, which they said would have generated 500 new jobs for the area and given a massive boost to its economy. However, a vociferous 180-strong crowd of local resident present at the hall was ultimately left cheering and applauding as the application was thrown out.

The news was most welcome for Save Our Craven Countryside, one of the organisations to object to the plans (other objectors included Yorkshire Wildlife Trust). Chris Sharpe, of the organisation, commented: "It has been a fight that has, at times, been a very rocky road, but losing this area to development would equate to losing our village identity.

"The destruction of the flashes would have been devastating for local wildlife and this outcome was well worth the relentless hard work that we have put in over the past two years."