A CAMPAIGN has been launched in a bid to stop more housing developments in Embsay and Eastby.

The Keep Embsay Rural Campaign has been set up in a response to the approval of 34 new homes off Shires Lane, Embsay , and the submission of plans for 21 at Laurel Croft, and 32 off Kirk Lane, Eastby , plus the fear of 50 more.

More than 120 residents attended a public meeting in Embsay Village Hall last week, a campaign website has been set up and a follow up meeting planned for next month. The campaign is also being supported by the Craven branch of the Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE) and members have raised their concerns with Skipton MP Julian Smith.

A spokesman for Keep Embsay Rural said if all applications were approved, it would mean 137 new homes being built.

"This would completely change the nature of Embsay with Eastby and its surrounding open landscape, " he said.

CPRE Craven said it had been contacted by several distraught and desperate residents.

"This Embsay explosion is just a bridge too far for common sense and fair play," said its spokesman.

"We have been impressed by the dedication and determination of the villagers, who have organised an outstanding campaign supported by the parish council and district councillor."

The Shires Lane houses were approved in outline by Craven District Council in June - despite strong opposition including from the parish council - and the Laurel Croft scheme submitted around the same time.

The latest scheme , a full application for 32 homes, including 13 affordable, was submitted to Craven council at the end of July , while the Laurel Croft scheme is still to be decided.

In the supporting documents for Kirk Lane, Eastby, planning and development consultants Johnson Brook, say discussions have taken place with planning officers for around 72 new homes in total - including 50 to the east of Kirk Lane, Embsay.

But, following consultation, it had been decided to concentrate on the Eastby scheme in the short term.

Johnson Brook also points out that Craven does not currently have a deliverable five year housing supply.

"The campaign will fight to retain the unique character and rural nature of the villages and surrounding landscape, in the face of unwanted, speculative housing development which adversely affects the quality of life of residents," added Keep Embsay Rural.

Skipton MP Julian Smith said he was aware of concerns and continued to press Craven council to complete its Local Development Plan.

"It is only when we have this that we will be able to more firmly resist unwanted applications.

"Ministers and the Planning Inspectorate, at every meeting I have with them, can’t emphasise strongly enough how important it is for the plan to be done. It is time for the council to bring this to a head and set a clear timetable for completion, for the sake of communities like Embsay and elsewhere across Craven."

Keep Embsay Rural is to hold a drop-in advice session at the village hall on Tuesday, August 12 from 4.30pm to 8pm when concerned residents will be given advice on how to object.

Craven District Council’s Spatial Planning Sub-Committee is due to meet on Monday, August 18, to consider the draft Local Development Plan. The plan will be the closest possible to the completed plan and will contain strategy, allocations, policies and a proposals map. The draft plan will go out for further informal consultation before finally moving to publication and adoption.