RESIDENTS have raised concerns over plans to further develop a holiday lodge site in the heart of a national park, claiming light pollution from the enterprise could endanger the chances of the area being granted International Dark Sky Reserve status.

Two parish councils and an action group have asked the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority to examine lighting emanating from Aysgarth Lodge Holidays site at Aysgarth, after the firm applied for consent for site-wide lighting it has installed as well as creating a reception office.

The authority, which is due to submit a bid for the international status later this year, will have to meet minimum criteria on sky quality and natural darkness, and provide evidence that local communities support dark sky conservation efforts.

In documents submitted to the authority, the 79-lodge holiday park, which opened two years ago and bills itself as the “ultimate holiday experience”, states its “low-level lighting... will prevent unnecessary light pollution in this sensitive environment”.

The papers state: “The location of individual lights has been selected in order to provide light and therefore safe passage for customers accessing and egressing their holiday units and moving around the site during the evening and early morning when natural light levels are low.

“Every effort has been made to minimise the number of lighting bollards used whilst providing a safe and usable environment.”

While the firm’s website invites holiday-makers to enjoy “the starlit pleasures of the Yorkshire Dales night-time sky” from their own hot tubs, residents have claimed their guests and residents’ ability to see stars is being compromised by light pollution from the site.

The Association of Rural Communities said residents did not believe current lighting at the site was acceptable.

Councillor John Dinsdale, chairman of Aysgarth and District Parish Council, said light pollution had been an issue for residents since trees were felled to make way for more lodges.

He said: “It is brighter than a lot of villages - it looks like a small town. There must be a way of turning it down.”

Councillor Jane Ritchie, chairman of Burton cum Walden Parish Council, added: “A number of people in the parish are very keen on the dark skies and say this site is very bright. The national park needs to do some proper research to see what’s happening.”