PLANS to build up to 516 homes next to Askham Bog are set to be turned down by City of York Council.

Planning officers have recommended the controversial scheme is refused at a meeting next week - saying it would be an inappropriate development 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.

More than 7,600 letters of objection to the scheme were received, according to a report prepared for the council’s planning committee.

And Sir David Attenborough spoke out against the plans in January.

Yorkshire Wildlife Trust, which runs the nature reserve and is vigorously opposed to the development off Moor Lane, welcomed the news that the application is set to be refused.

Louise Wilkinson, conservation policy and campaigns manager, said: “Yorkshire Wildlife Trust is absolutely delighted that City of York Council have recommended refusal for the Moor Lane application.

“The trust has been extremely concerned that if approval was given to the application that the reserve at Askham Bog, which the trust has looked after since 1946, would steadily deteriorate.

“It is excellent that the authority has listened to the concerns of the people of York and fully understood the impacts of a development near to this iconic reserve.”

A report prepared by planning officers says: “As the statutory body responsible for the national network of sites of special scientific interest, Natural England’s objection should be given considerable weight, as should Yorkshire Wildlife Trust’s as the site managers.”

It adds that the council has questioned some of the data used in the planning application to predict the increase in traffic.

The report says: “More realistic trip rates are likely to show that the proposed development will have a significant impact on the A1237, the A1036 (Tadcaster Road) and junctions with the A64.

“Concern is also raised about the impact of air quality on Askham Bog.

“The proposal is considered to result in a detrimental impact on the Askham Bog Site of Special Scientific Interest and ancient woodland as a result of the introduction of significant numbers of new residents in closer proximity to the designated site which will cause harm through exacerbation of urban edge impacts such as unauthorised and uncontrolled access, increase in littering and dog fouling, predation of wildlife, disturbance to livestock and vandalism.”

It says some measures to mitigate the impact have been put forward but are “not considered sufficient”.

The planning application for the new houses, a local centre and a sports pavilion was submitted by Barwood Strategic Land LLP.

Planning consultants GVA HOW Planning have previously said the ‘sustainable’ development would provide ‘substantial benefits’ to York, including up to 516 homes, with 35 per cent ‘affordable’, to help meet the city’s acute housing needs.

The applicant has been approached for a comment. The meeting takes place on July 11 at West Offices at 4.30pm.