A DEVELOPER whose plans to build 516 homes on land near Askham Bog were dismissed by the Secretary of State could still challenge the decision in the High Court.

Yorkshire Wildlife Trust and Sir David Attenborough welcomed the government minister's decision to reject the developer's appeal.

Sir David said: “I am absolutely delighted that such a treasure has been saved.”

But a report into the Secretary of State's dismissal says that developer Barwood could appeal the decision - by making an application to the High Court within six weeks.

A further appeal would only be granted under certain circumstances and a letter says if the court does not consider there to be an arguable case - it may refuse permission to appeal.

The Secretary of State sided with City of York Council's decision to refuse the plans and a government letter says: "The Secretary of State has concluded that the proposal would probably cause harm to the interests for which Askham Bog is cited as a [site of special scientific interest] and to the deterioration of irreplaceable fenland habitat.

"He considers that the benefits of the development do not clearly outweigh its likely impact, and that there are no wholly exceptional circumstances which would justify the deterioration of the habitat. The proposal should therefore be refused."

It adds that the department received a letter from York Outer MP Julian Sturdy, on behalf of a cross-party group of MPs including York Central representative Rachael Maskell, raising concerns about the impact of the development on Askham Bog.

The developers had claimed the housing scheme would “offer protection to Askham Bog for future generations” and help address York’s housing crisis - points the Secretary of State said he had taken into account while making his decision.

Yorkshire Wildlife Trust and City of York Council made representations against the scheme at a planning inquiry held in November 2019.

Following the dismissal of the appeal, a spokesperson for the Trust thanked residents for their support and said staff were "overjoyed".

The Press has approached Barwood to ask if the company plans to go to the High Court.