THE Yorkshire Wildlife Trust has won a £28,000 boost for its fight at a public inquiry next week against plans to build 500 homes near Askham Bog.

The trust, which runs the nature reserve on York’s western outskirts, says donations have flooded in to its appeal to pay for legal advisors and experts at the three week hearing.

“We are now in a much stronger position to argue the case for Askham Bog’s protection at the public inquiry,” said a spokeswoman.

She said the initial target had been £15,000 and the trust wanted to thank everyone who had donated and extended extra special thanks to York Civic Trust for a ‘hugely generous’ donation of £5,000.

Louise Wilkinson, conservation policy and campaigns manager, said: “We’re absolutely delighted with the success of our crowdfunding campaign, and incredibly grateful for all the support we’ve had from the people of York and beyond.

“It’s so encouraging to hear from so many that they value Askham Bog, Yorkshire Wildlife Trust’s oldest nature reserve, as highly as we do.

“This money has enabled us to put forward the best possible case for the bog.

“Our main focus now is preparing for the public inquiry, which is due to begin on Tuesday and which is open to anyone to attend should they wish.”

Plans to build the houses on land near the bog, which is designated as a site of special scientific interest, were turned down by City of York Council in July.

The decision came after the trust and more than 7,600 people, including Sir David Attenborough, had raised objections, claiming the development would cause irreversible harm.

Developer Barwood Land lodged an appeal against the decision, which will be considered at the inquiry.

The firm claims the scheme presents an excellent opportunity to help address York’s acute housing needs in an environmentally sustainable way and would offer protection to the bog, with a permanent and impenetrable barrier created on its northern edge.