Controversial plans to sell a much-loved green space in York have been put on hold.

As revealed by The Press online earlier this week, residents and local councillors spoke out amid concerns over plans to sell Severus Hill in Holgate.

The nature site - owned Keyland, a sister company of Yorkshire Water - was due to be sold off by Auction House on October 25, with a guide price of £95,000.

Members of the Friends of Severus Hill Facebook group, speaking earlier this week, said they were worried the site could be used for development if sold.

Holgate ward councillor Kallum Taylor said he, along with fellow ward councillors Jenny Kent and Lucy Steels-Walshaw, shared residents' concerns and was seeking a meeting with the land owner to discuss the issue and alternative possibilities outside of selling-off the land.

Yorkshire Water today (Friday, October 5) revealed that the planned sale had been put on hold.

A Yorkshire Water spokesperson said: “We’re meeting the local councillors in November to discuss the future of the site. In the meantime, our sister company, Keyland, has paused their auction plans for the site on Severus Hill in York.”

The Holgate ward councillors welcomed news that the sale was being paused.

They told The Press: "As ward councillors we’re really pleased that Keyland Developments have agreed to pause the auction and meet with us to discuss this important Site of Interest for Nature Conservation, and much loved green space. 

"Wildlife has been thriving in this protected space for many years now, with residents reporting foxes, tawny owls, and sparrow hawks. 

"We are inspired by the amount of support we’ve received from the community about this issue and want to find a way to ensure that nature continues to flourish here.”

Commenting on the Friends of Severus Hill Facebook group page, they added: "The meeting will take place in the second week of November. We will feedback on how this goes as soon as we know more.

"In the meantime we still encourage residents interested in this to keep writing to Jenny, Lucy, and Kallum on

"So far, they have been inundated with messages of support, leads, and ideas - all of them hugely encouraging. Thank you all for this."

Auction House, which was due to carry out the sale of the Severus Hill site, speaking before the plan was paused, said: "This former service reservoir and land is now rather overgrown but should be of interest to any developers and speculators looking for an opportunity they can add some real value to.

"At present the site does not have any planning permission and any interested parties are advised to do their own research in this regard.

"The land is accessed via a gated track to the North just off the A59 Poppleton Road and is located less than two miles to the west of York city centre with residential development to three sides."

The water tower in the area is not included in the proposed sale.

Back in 2017, plans for 43 new homes at Severus Hill off Bouthwaite Drive were rejected due to the impact new properties would have on people already living in the area - as well as on views of York Minster, wildlife on the wooded hillside and road problems.

Dozens of local residents objected as they were unhappy about the prospect of building on such a small green space and other worries were raised by Yorkshire Wildlife Trust - as the land is an official Site of Interest for Nature.

Speaking at the time, one resident said he believed the development was "entirely inappropriate" for the site as he felt it would have a very negative impact on the daily lives of the local community and contravene his human rights by affecting his family and private life.

Meanwhile, another raised concerns that the buildings would increase the likelihood of flooding.