A PLAN to relocate headstones in a churchyard and make way for a car park has been refused by planners.

A planning application for an eight-space parking area was tabled for Christ Church, Harrogate, part of Harrogate's 200-acre grassland Stray.

The application was submitted to Harrogate Borough Council by the vicar, the Reverend John Colston, and the church council.

If the scheme had gone ahead, it would have involved relocating some headstones. It would have also involved felling a yew tree protected by a tree preservation order.

Refusing the application, planning officers said the car park would harm the setting of the Grade II* listed church and the amenity of Christ Church Stray.

Officials stressed the importance of the Stray and said the scheme would conflict with five county council policies, as well as a borough council policy.