CRAVEN District Council is considering its next step after challenging a government decision to allow 98 new homes to be built on the outskirts of Skipton.

The council confirmed this week it had received a response from the government's Planning Inspectorate to its challenge to the Persimmon Homes Aldersley Avenue scheme and was now considering what to do next.

In a statement, the council said it was fighting the decision because the inspector had not agreed to a financial contribution towards education provision.

A decision to allow the development, which had been twice refused by Craven District Council, even though it is allocated for housing in the Craven Local Plan, was made by a government planning inspector at the end of November.

In the decision notice, the inspector noted that the local education authority, North Yorkshire County Council, had asked for a financial contribution of around £333,000 towards primary education facilities.

The LEA said it was forecast there would be a shortfall of 66 places at Greatwood Community Primary School by 2022/2023 taking into account the new development.

But, the inspector said the request needed policy back-up, which was lacking, and added that the lack of an education provision had not been included in the council's reasons for refusal.

A spokesperson for Craven District Council said: “Craven District Council has written to the Government to challenge the decision of the Planning Inspector to allow 98 homes at Aldersley Avenue and in doing so dismissing the council’s policy requirement for a financial contribution to education provision.

"The Inspector did not consider that the requirement was robustly evidenced. We have now received a response and we are considering what further action we might take.”

A spokesperson for the Planning Inspectorate said: "I can confirm that the council sent a Pre-Action Protocol letter seeking to challenge the decision. We have responded to that letter and it is now matter for council to decide what further action to take."

Last week, Cllr Darren Shaw, who represents Skipton East ward, tweeted: "Well I’m pleased that the council have now got its act together and challenging the planning inspectorate's decision and pushing for a independent review! No building for now."

Persimmon Homes has said it hopes to start work at the site in the late summer of this year.