A CAMPAIGN has been launched to preserve a corner of Cleveland which borders the North York Moors.

Campaigners have fought for six years against various plans to develop Home Farm, in Hutton Gate, just outside Guisborough.

The campaigners, who are also fighting on behalf of a long-established tenant farmer family, are trying to have the site and surrounding area designated an official conservation area.

They have already had some success with the North York National Park Authority agreeing to re-examine the protection provided against further development in the area, which includes Hutton Hall.

The Home Farm Action Group was set up when Southlands Management bought the 200-acre farm, which contains several listed agricultural buildings, in 1997.

The new owners wanted to create an equestrian park but the protestors feared this would threaten the business of tenant farmers, the Wilkinson family, who have farmed the land since 1922.

The action group also claimed it would spoil the beauty of the area, visited by thousands of walkers each year.

That plan was defeated, as were several other attempts to convert listed agricultural buildings on the farm and replace them with modern buildings.

More than 100 supporters of the Home Farm Action Group met at a public meeting to learn about the new campaign to persuade the North York Moors National Park Authority to designate the land around the farm a conservation area.

Hazel Merigold, a leading member of the action group, said: "This shows we are serious about our intention to preserve this historic and beautiful area, an area once owned by the famous Pease family. It is impossible to separate the fight to preserve the landscape around the farm and preserving the right of the Wilkinson family to continue farming there. You simply cannot divorce the two."

David Walker, planning officer at the North York Moors National Park Authority, said it was too early to predict an outcome, but the area was being assessed with a view to providing better protection.

Southlands Management and its owner Martin Corney could not be contacted for comment yesterday.