WORK is underway on a major new housing estate for Skipton - five years after it first received outline planning consent.

The 105 home development, off North Parade, by Harrogate based Keyhaven Homes, has resulted in a more than half a million pound windfall for Skipton Town Council, which sold the developers a strip of land at the edge of its recreation ground, needed for access to the site.

The strip of land, previously used as a dog exercise area, was closed earlier this week, with pet owners directed instead to the nearby Middletown Recreation Ground.

The council sold about a third of its North Parade recreation ground to Keyhaven Homes earlier this year for £540,000. A working group of town councillors has been set up to discuss best ways of spending the money, with suggestions so far including a new maintenance vehicle.

Outline planning consent was first approved for the development in 2013, with a reserved matters, fully detailed application, given consent in August, 2016. The scheme will include a multi use games area (MUGA) and 32 affordable homes, amounting to 30 per cent of the development.

Chief Officer of Skipton Town Council, Dave Parker, said: “The sale of the land was completed in the early part of 2018 – but the council had an agreement with the new owners to continue its use as a recreation ground until work started on the development. That work is now about to start and this means that the land will need to be taken out of use .As part of the plans for the development, additional recreation facilities will be provided, including some new play equipment in the recreation ground itself. The council will be working with the developer to provide the best facilities we can and to look at how the recreation ground can be reconfigured”.

Alternative ‘dog runs’ are available on the large Middletown Recreation Ground, which is just a short distance away – and at the Shortbank Road Recreation Ground site. The council will be reclaiming the fencing used for the existing run and will be looking at options for an alternative area within the site.

Keyhaven Homes expects to build between 40 to 50 homes a year, with the development estimated to be completed in about two years.

The developer has currently applied to Craven District Council to amend a condition on its planning consent which calls for highways improvement work to be carried out before any houses are occupied.