York & North Yorkshire

Inquiry over David Attenborough-opposed York bog plan

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

An inquiry is to be held over plans opposed by Sir David Attenborough to build 500 houses near an ancient peat bog.

A housing developer has appealed after the proposal near York's Askham Bog was unanimously refused.

City of York Council's planning committee said it had concerns about the impact on the nature reserve.

But developer Barwood Land disputed the claim and has now appealed against the decision.

Sir David has spoken out against the plans, describing Askham Bog as a "remarkable survivor of the ancient fenlands".

The broadcaster and naturalist said he was "so disappointed" the development plans had been drawn up.

"York is exceptionally fortunate to have such a wonderful place within its boundaries," he said.

"Why would anyone want to put that at risk?"

Last year, plans for the development were resubmitted to the authority after being rejected in 2016.

Yorkshire Wildlife Trust, which manages the bog, is concerned the scheme will lead to a lowering of the water table and will dry it out.

It described the 44-hectare (110-acre) site as a "hidden gem" which is nationally important for nature conservation.

More than 7,600 people objected to the plan.

Barwood Land said York had a housing crisis with a need for more affordable homes and said it was "confident the development would have no adverse impact".

But 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.

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

An inquiry will begin on 12 November and is set to last for 12 days, according to the Local Democracy Reporting Service.

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