Liberal Democrats have won the first stage of their campaign to protect Conyngham Hall grounds, after their petition secured over 1,800 signatures from Knaresborough residents.
Today, Harrogate Council's cabinet member for Culture, Leisure and Support approved Fysche Field as the preferred option for Knaresborough's new leisure centre.
In July, residents across Knaresborough rallied to protect the community asset when it was revealed as one of the options on the table for the Council's new leisure centre.
Locals quickly came together to establish a 'Hands Off Conyngham Hall Grounds' campaign group and delivered petition leaflets across the whole town, with many residents displaying posters in their windows.
Liberal Democrat councillors and campaigners welcome that consultation is still due to take place, saying that it's important that residents – especially those next to the preferred site – have their say on how the new leisure centre looks.
Commenting, the campaign's coordinator, Matt Walker, said:
"I'm very pleased with this result, it is very much a step in the right direction. We would particularly welcome the council ruling out the possibility of building at Conyngham Hall full stop.
"It's is important that the Council doesn't give with one hand, while taking our precious green space with the other.
"Conyngham Hall grounds is one of the things that makes our town the very best to live in. The huge support our campaign saw is a testament to Knaresborough residents' strong-held belief that green space is not only worth protecting, but investing in."
Liberal Democrat Town Councillor, Hannah Gostlow, added:
"It is important now that the design for a new Leisure Centre at the existing site is sympathetic to neighbouring residents and retains outside exercise & recreational space.
"I would like to see the existing car park at York Place used to save the sports pitch from being concreted over."