TV magician Paul Daniels sold his stake in the company which ran Mother Shipton’s Cave, Knaresborough.
He bought the 12-acre site two years earlier, along with his business partner Frank McBratney and planned to turn it into one of the country’s top visitor attractions.
However, the plans, to build a visitor centre and toilet block, were thwarted after objections from English Heritage, The Nidd Action Group and the Preservation of Rural England, all of whom argued the necessary building work would spoil the area.
Mr Daniels is thought to have sold his stake in the company after he was confronted by angry residents during a meeting.
Len Cohen, former landlord of the Yorkshire Lass pub in Knaresborough, said he didn’t blame the entertainer for wanting a simpler life.