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Craven District Council

Craven District Council urges inspector to retain Local Green Space in the Local Plan

Craven District Council has submitted all the representations made during public consultation on the proposed main modifications to the draft Craven Local Plan to the independent Inspector examining the plan. 

The council has also prepared a summary of all the representations, together with the council’s response where required.

The council is supporting representations from residents regarding Local Green Space designations at Hellifield Flashes and Park Hill in Skipton.

The council says that Hellifield Flashes is “demonstrably special to the local community” and that wildlife moves across the site, which is part of a habitat network across a wider area.

Representations also show that the site serves residents of both Hellifield and Long Preston, which changes the relative scale of the Local Green Space.

“Residents attach great importance to Hellifield Flashes,” says the council. “The site is highly valued as a recreation space, as an important wildlife habitat, particularly for birdlife, and as a place of beauty and tranquillity that improves the physical and mental wellbeing of residents. It also has historical significance, for both its physical points of interest within the site and its importance to the social history of the villages.”

The council supports the whole of the site in Hellifield being designated as Local Green Space, but if the Inspector concludes this is not possible, then the council would support the designation of three smaller areas of Local Green Space focused around the three main naturally occurring ponds or flashes.

The Local Green Space designation to the north of Skipton Castle, as identified in the submitted Craven Local Plan, is also “demonstrably special to the local community”, says the council.

“The community response provides clear evidence that this area of land is well used and highly valued for its historic significance, its beauty and tranquil setting, as a space for recreation and an important resource for the health and wellbeing of residents, and as an important site for wildlife,” the council says.

“Representations also support the Council’s view that the area is not an extensive tract of land considering the role and function of the site as a whole in relation to the size of the community it serves.”

The council is supporting the designation of the whole site as Local Green Space; however, if the inspector maintains that this is an extensive tract of land, the council would support the designation of a smaller area of Local Green Space, to the west of Skipton Woods, which includes Park Hill, Short Lee Lane, Little Wood and the land to the north of Short Lee Lane.

David Smurthwaite, Strategic Manager at Craven District Council, said: “We received a large number of comments on the Inspector’s proposed modifications to the Draft Local Plan.

“We have now sent them on to the Inspector along with the council’s own responses where required. We believe that the representations demonstrate these two areas should be designated as Local Green Space and we hope the Inspector will reconsider his initial conclusions.”

The modifications were proposed following hearing sessions held during the Examination of the draft Craven Local Plan by the independent Inspector, Matthew Birkinshaw BA (Hons) MSc MRTPI, appointed by the Secretary of State. Public consultation on the proposed main modifications ran for six weeks until April 1, 2019.

The inspector will now consider the representations and comments and decide whether he can conclude that the Craven Local Plan is sound, subject to modifications, or whether any more hearing sessions are necessary.

The representations and comments are now available to view on the Craven District Council Local Plan Examination webpage at

If the Inspector decides that the plan is sound subject to modifications, he will send a draft final report to the council for fact checking. Once the fact check has been completed and the Inspector has responded to any points raised, the final report (containing recommendations and reasons) will be submitted to the council in electronic format. 

Following this, the council is required to publish the report on the council’s website, make it available at the council offices and the district’s libraries during normal opening hours for a period of six weeks, and give notice to those persons who requested to be notified of the publication of the Inspector’s report, that the report is available.

Following the publication of the Inspector’s final report (containing recommendations and reasons) for a period of six weeks, the council may then adopt the plan.

Adoption is the final stage of putting the plan in place and requires confirmation by a meeting of Full Council.  In the event that no further hearings are necessary and the Inspector is able to conclude that the plan is sound subject to the modifications, adoption by Full Council could happen later in the summer or autumn of 2019.

The Planning Policy Team can be contacted on 01756 706472 or by emailing