Investigation finds no wrong-doing at Knaresborough tourist attraction after complaints over repair works

An investigation into alleged planning breaches at England's oldest visitor attraction has found works being carried out are permissible.

Wednesday, 20th May 2020, 10:56 am
Updated Wednesday, 20th May 2020, 2:21 pm

Knaresborough residents and a town councillor had raised concerns over what they described as "obtrusive" and "major excavation" works at Mother Shipton's Cave.

But a visit from planning officers found the works do not require planning permission.

A spokesman for Harrogate Borough Council said: "We found the works being carried out are repairs and maintenance required as a consequence of bad weather and flooding earlier this year."

Residents and a town councillor had raised concerns over what they described as "obtrusive" works at Mother Shipton's Cave.

However, officers did find that an already-built play area requires a retrospective planning application.

Fiona Martin, managing director of the 390-year-old tourist attraction, said the site had been "washed out" during winter.

She arranged for the repair works to be carried out whilst the site has been closed due to the coronavirus outbreak.

Mrs Martin said: "This was in the main landslip which created fissures, hard surfaces within the park being swept away by flooding and surface run-off and a fallen mature tree by high wind.

"As the park has been closed to the public due to the emergency, the opportunity has been taken to remedy the damage and stabilise the land."

The cave has more than 65,000 visitors a year and was said to be the home of the legendary 15th century prophetess Mother Shipton.

The site covers 12 acres and includes a riverside and woodland walk, a museum of artefacts, a tea room, a gift shop, a wishing well and two adventure playgrounds.

By Jacob Webster, Local Democracy Reporter

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