PLANS to dispose of a section of York's riverbank for a 'luxury boat park' have been blasted by a Green councillor.

York Motor Yacht Club wants to lease 0.7 acres of land alongside the River Ouse south of Millennium Bridge from City of York Council to create 14 additional moorings. It has also separately applied to the authority for planning permission.

But Fishergate Green councillor Andy D'Agorne questioned the council's decision to dispose of the land at Fulford and said the scheme would lead to the removal of most of the willows and natural vegetation along the waters edge.

He said palisade fencing would also be erected, blocking off access to an area of river bank that was popular with walkers and dog owners.

"While I hope that many people will object if they are aware of the planning application, I am surprised that the idea has even got this far, given the importance of this area for wildlife and recreation," he said .

"I have personally seen a kingfisher in this area and it is a known foraging area for bats and owls, that would be negatively impacted by removal of the trees and the installation of security lighting."

He said the area was also designated as green belt on the draft local plan, being an important 'green corridor' for York and the tree lined bank currently obscured the marina from view from the Millennium Bridge.

The club said in its application that the club, established at Fulford in 1933, provided some 40 moorings in the form of floating pontoons for motor boats owned by members and visitors.

A waiting list for moorings for existing members meant the club was seeking to extend the moorings for a further 200 metres to the north towards Millennium Bridge, leasing the land from the council.

The club said there was no designated riverside footpath along the stretch, which was of limited recreational value, and a tree survey had noted that the majority of trees were in poor condition and not expected to be sustainable. Bat surveys had found no usage of roosts which had been identified in trees.

Philip Callow, the council's head of asset and property management, said the authority was obliged to notify the community and hold a consultation, which was underway, due to the land in question being public open space.

"Planning permission for the moorings, which also addresses local environment issues, has been submitted for consideration," he added.