IN reply to your article about Mr Wild's concerns about possible Knavesmire developments (December 23), it is City of York Council's belief that it will remain as one of the most important areas of public open space in the city.

Subject to the views of the area planning and transport committee in January, the ability of the race committee to complete the race track loop does not set a precedent for house building or any similar development of Knavesmire.

Knavesmire is important for many reasons. It is a great area for children to run and play, for dog walking and kite flying and has the largest concentration of football pitches in the city.

It is one of the special green areas which reaches in towards the city centre and gives York its unique town and country mix. The possible alteration of the track does not prevent any of these uses. There will be gaps in the race track to allow access and the four football pitches affected by alterations can be safely accommodated elsewhere on site.

All the planning committee is being asked to consider is the temporary addition of a short length of track to enable the racecourse to make the race track into a complete circuit. I am sure members of the planning committee would agree with Mr Wild that to lose such an important feature for housing or other such development would not be in the city's interest.

Dave Meigh,

Head of parks and open spaces,

City of York Council,

Swinegate Court, York.

Updated: 10:50 Friday, January 02, 2004