CAMPAIGNERS from a village near York have submitted a 400-signature petition to City of York Council as the consultation over the authority's revised draft Local Plan came to an end.

Members of the Keep Elvington Rural group were protesting against housing proposals which they claim could eventually see the village population doubling in size, putting huge extra pressure on facilities such as the village school and surgery.

They were also objecting to plans to create a new travellers' site in the heart of the village and extend an existing temporary showpeople's site, and for a massive expansion of the industrial estate on the former Elvington Airfield, said group member Martin Povey.

He said residents weren't opposed to any expansion of the village but to the sheer scale of the proposed developments, which threatened to turn a rural village into an urban sprawl.

The council launched its six-week 'Further Sites Consultation" last month, giving people the opportunity to comment on major plans for housing, transport and employment developments in York over the next 15 years. It sought opinions on new sites that came forward during an initial consultation last year, which attracted more than 14,000 responses.

Mike Slater, assistant director of City and Environmental Services, said yesterday that following the closure of the consultation, all views and feedback would be considered as the Local Plan progressed.

"There will be a further city-wide consultation on the whole plan later this year," he said. "The magnitude of the consultation before this more targeted consultation period is still felt by everyone and echoed by over 14,000 representations made by developers, land owners, residents and businesses - which is the largest amount of responses we've ever received during a consultation.

"The comments received during the orginal and further sites consultation are important in shaping the next stage of the plan.

“Whilst we still have some time to go before the plan is adopted, we do recognise that the biggest challenges for York are the city's need for more affordable housing for residents, delivering more jobs, and protecting York's unique built and green environment for future generations - and through the Local Plan we hope to achieve this.

"Following the next round of consultation the plan will be submitted for independent examination by a government inspector."