Hellifield Flashes

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By Fran Evans
20th March 2019


The Official recommendation for the Hellifield holiday camp application is that planning permission should be refused..  A 51 page  officer report shows the conviction behind this decision.

Ingrained in the identity of these villages is the annual migratory air show as great formations of birds come in to land on these flashes. Many of these birds are on the RSPB’s red and amber lists. As if that isn’t enough, this beloved place is home to colonies of great crested newts for which there is law that it makes if an offence to intentionally destroy breeding or terrestrial habitat.

Local people are proud of this area and it’s under persistent threat

This landscape is much more than a home to wildlife. Hellifield is a living village with a beating heart and a strong sense of community. Families walk these footpaths, children learn to ride their bikes here and go skidding on the ice in cold weather. A generation ago the flashes were home to the Hellifield Beck Jumpers who built dens, sledged and played on this land.

The latest application to build lodges and cinemas alongside an existing trailer park has been a long hard battle. Swimming Pools, Park & Ride and a Hotel & Spa when there is already one 5 miles away makes no sense.  These flashes were once recommended as a Site of Importance for Nature Conservation (SINC). This large area of open countryside has been the subject of numerous applications since the 1990s.

We were honoured to have Stephen Butcher as a member, a mentor and a friend.  Stephen used to be a member of both Craven and the Yorkshire Dales National Park planning committees.   On each one of the dark nights when it seemed the odds were so against us, we’d ask:

“What would Stephen do?”

It’s really very simple.  He’d tell us to get on with it and stop feeling sorry for ourselves!  Whilst Stephen is no longer with us, his spirit lives on, we can only try to honour his belief that the Flashes could be saved.  So we continue and we’ll do so until the land known as the Hellifield Flashes is saved from this enormous development.

Save Our Craven Countryside and CPRENorthYorkshire have burned the midnight oil, laughed and cried together over the last year or so.  They know the local community, they know the history of the landscape, we know planning.  Together we’ve mounted a strong campaign to alert people to the importance of landscape, nature and community.

The recommendation by Craven District Council’s planners is welcomed by CPRENorthYorkshire.

The fate of this precious landscape now lies with the Planning Committee who will decide on Monday.

The planning report clearly gives 51 pages of reasons why this application should be refused, there’s just one more… because Stephen believed it should be refused and he was always right!

The power point below was sent to us by a Hellifield resident Mrs S Gregory