A COMMUNITY campaign is gathering pace with a fundraising target of £3,000 to pay for legal advice on the planned Otley East development.

The East of Otley Action Group has been created in response to the plan to build 550 new homes and a relief road on greenspace on the outskirts of the town. The group includes Otley 2030, Otley Community Land Trust, Wildlife Friendly Otley, Otley Nature Network, Wharfedale Naturalists and Cambridge Estate Residents, as well as other community, faith, and business groups.

Campaigners need to raise funds for legal advice to present the strongest case to influence the current consultation and the planning application, which will be submitted by the Otley East consortium at the end of this month.

Action group member Martin Gaskin said: “There is an opportunity and requirement for an exemplar development, and this is not reflected in the plans. Our community campaign will organise working groups and liaise directly with the consortium’s consultants responsible for different elements of the development. The intention is to work through in detail the site masterplan and address conflicts as early as possible.”

The group is also liaising with town and city ward councillors and Otley MP, Alex Sobel, helping to ensure a coordinated community effort that achieves their aim of an exemplar development, in line with the Neighbourhood Plan.

Mr Gaskin said: “There are strong feelings in Otley against the development, and some in support of it, but we believe that the consensus is that if the development is to go ahead, it needs to honour the Otley Neighbourhood Plan and ‘Do the right thing!' by our community, nature and the planet. This represents the largest local development for decades and is of huge importance to all members of the Otley community.”

The East of Otley Action Group maintains that the sustainable future of the Otley and its wider community depends on this development being pursued in the right way and is urging residents to support them with online donations.

Visit https://www.gofundme.com/f/east-of-otley-development-community-legal-advice to make a donation.