Environmental groups are calling for a revised proposal to build a housing estate beside a stream which supports otters and kingfishers to be rejected.

Yorkshire Wildlife Trust and Thirsk Friends of the Earth have written to North Yorkshire Council ahead of it reconsidering a plan to build more than 40 homes on a derelict farm off Stoneybrough Lane, between Thirsk and South Kilvington, which has been inactive for more than 30 years.

The planning application states as no one resident on the site and there are no properties directly overlooking the farm buildings, the site has become “a focus for gatherings of people using prohibited drugs”.

The document states: “These circumstances are unwelcome by the residents of housing abutting and close to the farm buildings not only because of the unlawful activity but because addicts often light fires and the fires get out of control.

“In consequence there have been 428 recorded incidents at the buildings recorded by the North Yorkshire Police between 2008 and 2022. This amounts to an incident on average every 12 days throughout this period.”

In papers submitted with the application agents for the developer claim changes to the proposed development have addressed some of the reasons for Hambleton District Council’s refusal of the original scheme.

These included the risk of detrimental impact upon the strategic and housing policies of the council’s newly adopted development plan, the adverse impact of landscape planting within a sewer easement crossing the site and the loss of the best and most versatile agricultural land.

Numerous residents have written in support of the proposal, saying it would “make the entrance to Thirsk much more attractive than the eyesore it is at the moment”.

Another supporter wrote: “The scarcity of available housing in the area currently poses a challenge for prospective buyers and furthermore, this location offers a delightful environment for residence.”

However, the revised proposal has also attracted a significant amount of opposition from residents and environmental groups, with claims a housing estate would close the gap between the market town of Thirsk and the Domesday Book village of South Kilvington.

Objecting, Yorkshire Wildlife Trust said while its strategic aim was to make it normal practice for all residential, commercial and infrastructure development to contribute positively to nature’s recovery on land and at sea, the requirement for biodiversity net gain would not be met by the proposals.

The trust’s letter of objection adds: “Whitelass Beck which is within the red line application boundary supports otter and kingfisher and is a tributary of Cod Beck, which lies to the west of the application site.

“There is a therefore a pathway between the application site and Sowerby Flatts Site of Importance for Nature Conservation.”

Describing the plan as “wanton destruction” of a natural asset”, another objector added that “developers seem determined to build on a natural green space, important to wildlife and the integrity of the local environment”.