Urgent bid to protect much-loved Harrogate beauty spot

The Pinewoods in Harrogate.
The Pinewoods in Harrogate.

Defenders of Harrogate's award-winning Pinewoods have issued a call to arms to the public to help win the beauty spot green space status.

Although this leafy location between the Valley Gardens and Harlow Carr Gardens is one of the town's most popular spots with walkers, the volunteers of The Pinewoods Conservation Group say they need help urgently to protect The Pinewoods from being swallowed up by development.

The plea by the PCG follows the recent failure of its application for “Local Green Space” designation as part of the Harrogate Council Local Plan process.

PCG Chairman Neil Hind said: "We need local residents to input into the consultation to show that the Pinewoods is special to them and should be protected as a green space.

"Why do you visit and use the Pinewoods. It is with families for recreation, dog walking, tree climbing, orienteering. Or do you watch the wildlife within the woods - birds, squirrels, stoats and deer?"

Renowned for its flora and fauna and wildlife, the Pinewoods was a Gold winner in this year’s Yorkshire in Bloom awards.

It was officially registered an Asset of Community Value last year which offers the woods some protection, but not as much as the local green space designation.

In the meantime, say The Pinewoods Conservation Group, the storm clouds are gathering.

Plans are already in place by Taylor Wimpey for the Harlow Grange housing development of 122 new houses near the Pinewoods.

And it was confirmed in October that a large area of land adjacent to the Pinewoods, currently owned by Harrogate Council and used for their garden nurseries operation, was a potential site for housing in the new local plan.

The PCG are now hoping resident groups, schools, youth groups and any other group users of the Pinewoods will show Harrogate Borough Council how much they value the woodlands in order to win green space status on appeal.

Responses can be made online at the council portal via www. consult.harrogate.gov.uk or be emailing planningpolicy@harrogate.gov.uk or by letter to the Planning and Development, Harrogate Council, PO Box 787, Harrogate, HG1 9RW.

The PCG is advising anyone who contacts the council should include the following reference in any correspondence: REF: NE6: Local Green Space. LGS28: The Pinewoods Harrogate.