Charities join forces to urge Council to refuse development of Yorkshire wetlands

  • Contributor information: CNP

19 March 2019

Friends of the Dales and Campaign for National Parks welcome the recommendation, set out in the report to Craven District Council Planning Committee, to refuse the proposed leisure village development at Hellifield. The Council’s report clearly states that the proposals are out of scale and would have an unacceptable impact on Hellifield village.

Friends of the Dales and Campaign for National Parks are both opposed to a planning application for development of the Hellifield Flashes. The proposals would see the irreversible destruction of important habitats for nationally rare birds including lapwing, black tailed godwit and widgeon.

Lapwing in the Yorkshire Dales

Lapwing in the Yorkshire Dales. Photo credit: Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority

The Hellifield Flashes are important natural wetlands just outside the eastern boundary of the Yorkshire Dales National Park, but they are threatened by proposals for an extensive leisure complex including a 100-bed hotel and leisure centre, and up to 300 holiday lodges.

Ann Shadrake, Executive Director, Friends of the Dales said “We urge councillors to note the very robust arguments for refusal which demonstrate that these damaging proposals are completely contrary to the Council’s own saved and draft Local Plans, in particular the emerging policy EC4B which identifies the critical importance of the site for biodiversity. We commend the report’s detailed rebuttal of the developer’s claims about “benefits” to wildlife or the creation of jobs. We fully agree that the protection of Hellifield’s environment comes first and we believe that councillors will do the right thing in refusing this application.”

Andrew Hall from Campaign for National Parks, said “Important open countryside, right on the boundary of the Yorkshire Dales National Park, would be visually damaged by these proposals. Local roads would not cope with the significant increase in traffic. The plans also fail the national criteria for sustainable development.

“At a time when nature is in crisis this kind of development within the setting of the National Park is completely inappropriate. Development of the Flashes will not only undermine the value of an important wildlife site, used by over 150 species of bird including 35 on the ‘red list’ of endangered or threatened species but also impinge on the beauty and character of the National Park.”

For further information contact: Ann Shadrake, Executive Director, Friends of the Dales, on 01756 749400 or email 

Andrew Hall: 0207 981 0891 or email