A GROUP of residents who opposed plans for 500 houses on the outskirts of Malton are pressing to prevent further development in the area.

West Malton Residents Group has written to the Neighbourhood Plan committee to get Local Green Space designation for an area north of York Road, which also includes the High Malton site north of Castle Howard Road. This would give the site the same level of protection as green belt land.

They also want to clarify wording in the draft plan document concerning the main approach routes into Malton and Norton, which states, "Any development which undermines or harms the significance of the landscape quality and visual amenity created by the views and setting will be resisted".

Malton and Norton town councils are currently preparing a Neighbourhood Plan , which will spell out what those who live and work in the area want for their towns. The final document will be used to help influence decisions being made about the future of Malton and Norton.

Dr Liz Garthwaite, who lives in Castle Howard Road, said: "This bold move will send out a clear signal to any future developers that this site is valued as a recreation space in itself with attractive views towards the adjacent AONB, the Moors and the Wolds, and preserve it for the enjoyment of so many, including dog walkers, for whom it is within easy walking distance from their homes."

Ian Conlan, a Middlecave Road resident, said: "The land north of York Road forms the principal gateway to the town from traffic leaving the A64. It is prominent and attractive and needs to be protected with this green space designation.

"We have asked that the area extends north up Broughton Road so as to protect the Castle Howard Road and Middlecave Road areas' footpaths and bridleways between where the AONB stops and the edge of Malton starts.

"The High Malton application with its high rise blocks was particularly insensitive to its setting, but we believe any development on this site would be harmful and blight a significant recreational area between West Malton and the Howardian Hills AONB."

Ryedale District Councillor Ed Jowitt said: "The draft neighbourhood plan seeks to protect all the main road approaches to Malton. I fully support this request by affected residents to clarify it by proposing a more robust protection for this area.

"It is an even stronger protection than the Visually Important Undeveloped Areas (VIUAs) that local residents and all three district councillors for Malton are currently pressing the district council to adopt as part of the Local Plan for the High Malton site."

To find out more about the residents' campaign, email maltonresidents@gmail.com