"I'M SO against this. I don't think this is the right place for a caravan park at all."

Those were the words of City of York councillor Chris Hogg on plans to develop an old agricultural storage yard on land next to Landing Lane, in his Haxby ward.

As previously reported in The Press, York curry magnate Saleem Akhtar, who owns the Jinnah chain, has lodged plans for a caravan park with provision for 20 touring caravans.

Coun Hogg said: "This is green belt land, and myself and the other Haxby councillors - Charles Hall and Richard Watson - have fought against this kind of development in the area.

"We've pushed like mad to stop former expansion plans in Haxby. There's no need for more development in the area.

"When you look at Haxby and Wigginton, although it's surrounded by green fields, access to those green fields isn't good."

Mr Hogg also raised concerns about access to the park via Towthorpe Road.

But Mr Akhtar said the park would bring economic benefits to the area.

"I'm a local man and I don't want to upset the community," he said. "I think it'll be good for the area, bringing business to local shops. It'll improve the area with a nice, tidy landscaped site.

"It is secluded from nearby houses and development will improve the actual site.

"People will still be able to use the public footpath by the river. We're not going to stop any activities going on there."

He said he considered the site to have good access.

Joe Tidmarsh, a self-employed former Army officer, who lives in nearby The Landings, said: "I'm not against caravanners and caravan sites, but to develop a green belt residential area is not right.

"This is a well-used public amenity, which is patronised not just by local people, but people from far and wide.

"During the holidays and the summer, the area is well-used by children. Dog walkers use it, ramblers do, and so do fishermen.

"Landings Lane is not suitable access for touring caravans. The road is already used by farmers and Yorkshire Water tankers going to the sewage substation. How will they get down there with caravans?

"This is our city, our Haxby. It is not for businessmen to come in and dictate to us. Emotions are running very high about this."

He said several petitions opposing the plan were circulating Haxby.

Dog walker Vicki Smith, 62, said: "The area is very well-used. People come from all over York to walk their dogs here.

"A lot of children play down there in the summer time."