YDNPA – February to December 2012

An ARC News Service  report on the meetings of the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority’s (YDNPA) planning committee February to December 2012 :

 

Affordable Housing – February: The Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority (YDNPA ) has stood firm on its decision to include small sites for affordable housing at Aysgarth, Thornton Rust and Low Row. The planning inspector who assessed the Dales Housing Development Plan rejected those sites.

After the full Authority meeting on Tuesday, February 14, the chairman, Carl Lis, stated: “We have asked the inspector as nicely as we can to reconsider his decision. We appreciate the work he has done but we would like him to look at these again.”What particularly concerned the YDNPA members was that part of Wensleydale would be left without affordable housing sites.

It was likely that four houses could be constructed on the site behind the village institute at Aysgarth and two more at the east end of Thornton Rust. Only one site had been proposed at Muker (for up to two houses). It was also expected that two houses could have been built on the Low Row site rejected by the inspector. The YDNPA had put forward a second site (for about two houses) at Low Row.

The objective of the Dales Housing Development Plan is to provide affordable housing for local people. The planning inspector also asked the Authority to clarify what it would do if an allocated site would not be viable to be developed with 50% affordable housing.

It has been proposed that, in order to encourage landowners to submit sites 50% would be affordable housing and the rest would be restricted by legal agreement to “local housing” so that the houses could not become second or holiday homes and the price would be reduced thus making them more accessible to households within the Park. The onus will be on the developer to prove why an allocated site could not be developed at 50% affordability.

It was agreed on Tuesday that: “If viability at 50% affordable housing is not possible then the Authority may negotiate an increase in the proportion of local market housing compared to affordable housing.”

Legal agreements – November: Ann Brooks asked Richard Graham if, in the planning department’s list of outstanding applications, it could be shown that it was not the fault of the planners that some legal agreements (Section 106 and also regarding conditions on planning permissions) had not yet been signed.

At least 20 applicants have not completed legal agreements – and the winner by a long margin is that for the conversion of a barn to a bunkhouse at Camm Farm, Cam Houses, Oughtershaw. The legal agreement for that has been awaiting completion since April 1999!

The runner up is maybe the planning application for the change of use of a barn and paddock to equestrian business at Gill Edge Barn, Gill Edge, Askrigg. That application was made in December 2006 but the Authority has been waiting for the legal agreement to be signed since February 2011.

There are several agreements waiting to be signed since 2008 and 2009. As Jack Heseltine pointed out at the recent annual meeting of the Association of Rural Communities – the time limit on beginning work after an application has been approved does not start until the S106 agreement has been signed.

Arkengarthdale – March: The majority of the YDNPA planning committee members did not accept that a barn in the middle of a field at Langthwaite in Arkengarthdale should be converted into a two-bedroomed dwelling for a rural worker.

Clark Stones, who is 78-years-old, told the committee that the house would be for a man who would be fully employed with snow clearing, contracting and agricultural work on his family’s farm. He explained that when conditions were very bad in winter it was impossible for the district council’s gritting wagon to reach Arkengarthdale until either he or his son had spread grit on the roads. It took two men to fill the spreader with grit.

He now wanted to retire and they needed someone else to assist with that job. Arkengarthdale parish council had told the committee that it fully supported his application and looked forward to the services he provided to continue with the help of a worker living locally.

Coun Blackie asked the committee to approve the application. “They provide an absolutely essential service clearing snow right up to Tan Hill. If the Stones are not there I don’t know what will happen to this community.”

He emphasised the need for more social housing in Arkengarthdale and that it should not be restricted to just two small villages. He was supported by Richmondshire District Couns Bob Gale (Reeth and Arkengarthdale) and Malcolm Gardner (Swaledale) who described why it was so important for the residents of Arkengarthdale to retain a locally based gritting service in winter.If we let these people down we should be ashamed of ourselves,” said Coun Gardner.

During the debate the legal adviser, Clare Bevan, told the committee that according to local and national policies there had to be a fundamental requirement for a rural worker in a location to justify converting such a barn into a dwelling. She said that this application failed that functional test as the work was more seasonal than permanent.

Coun Blackie later wrote to Richard Graham, head of development management, about Ms Bevan’s intervention mid-way through the debate . If the committee had decided to approve the application against officer recommendation it would have been referred back to the April meeting for further debate.

Coun Blackie stated: “Clare’s intervention could be regarded, in its content and delivery, as coming from a Member who was strongly opposed to granting an approval. Certainly in my opinion, and the opinion of other Members present, Clare’s intervention had that effect on Members who might have been swayed by the arguments to be in favour of the application. I think in the timing of her intervention (that) it did unbalance the debate and introduce an element of unfairness against the applicant.”

Arkleside, Coverdale – June: Both William Weston and Coun Harrison-Topham regretted that some of the green technologies to be incorporated into a barn conversion at Arkleside had proved to be unviable. The barn, which is in open countryside, is being converted into a home for a gamekeeper.

Mr Weston said that this had been an exemplar project which had ticked all the boxes and that the alterations requested to the S106 agreement would amount to a quantum shift. It had been originally hoped that sufficient electricity could be produced from a small hydro scheme but that had proved to be unfeasible as the water flow in the river was too low in summer.

It was felt that running a line to the nearest National Grid connection would have the least impact upon the environment. This would involve the installation of one pole and a 7m length of overhead line and then an underground electricity cable route to the dwelling. The pole would be largely screened by existing trees.

The applicant, Martin Vallance, also requested that there should be a sewage treatment package plant or septic tank instead of a multi reed bed system as the latter would be more visible than the other methods of sewage disposal. Rainwater harvesting and a wood burning stove would still be used and the YDNPA was assured that more would be done to reduce the dwelling’s carbon footprint and its overall environmental impact.

The application to alter the S106 agreement was approved.

Arncliffe -November:   Arncliffe parish meeting endorsed the change of use of the now disused school to a dwelling for local occupancy because the purchaser, who already lived in the village, wanted to convert it into a residence suitable for his disabled wife.

County Coun Shelagh Marshall had informed the planning committee that suitable alternative educational facilities had been provided elsewhere; there was a village hall; and there was a local need for suitable sheltered accommodation for a disabled person. The county council had closed the school last year when the number of pupils dropped to four. The building was sold this year by the Bradford Diocesan Board of Education (Church of England).

Craven Dt Coun John Roberts asked why there was the need for a section 106 local occupancy agreement as the new owners had bought the building on the open market. Richard Graham, the head of development management, said that under the housing development plan such a change of use could only be approved if the dwelling was then restricted to those in local housing need.

Cumbria County Coun Roger Bingham wondered if in time the 20th century additions could be altered to make them more sympathetic with the original 19th century Gothic architecture. And N Yorks County Coun Roger Harrison Topham asked if the new owners needed permission to replace the tarmac school playground.

The senior legal officer, Clare Bevan, replied that as it would be part of the curtilage of a residential dwelling it was up to the owners what they did with their “garden”. There was a unanimous vote in favour of the change of use of the building.

Austwick – June:  The owners of the camp site at Silloth House, Austwick, had requested that the S106 agreement of 1997 should be altered so that they could increase the number of tent and touring caravan pitches from six to 13. This was approved – but only after a disagreement between County Coun John Blackie and Mrs Ann Brooks about what appeared to be the bias of the YDNPA against camp sites.

Most of the parish council’s suggestions about what should be added to the S106 agreement were included, such as marking out the boundary of the site with fencing and landscaping, and the submission of a management plan relating to storage, disposal and recycling of waste.

Austwick –  December: A request to modify the section 106 agreement on a site for five local occupancy houses at Pant Head in Austwick was unanimously refused. The houses will soon be completed and the owner of the site, Maximus Developments UK Ltd, had requested that the S106 be amended from 100 per cent local occupancy to 20 per cent affordable/local occupancy and 80 per cent open market as it was having difficulty in selling them.

Aysgarth Falls –  December: There was a unanimous vote in favour of an existing workshop adjacent to Yore Mill at Aysgarth Falls being converted into a two bedroomed live/work unit. As this is a grade II listed building the conditions include that only single glazing can be used for the windows. This will match the new windows installed in the cottages which have recently been renovated by Newroc Ltd.

Graham Newton, the managing director of Newroc, said that his company had restored the roof on the workshop last year during the period when the bats would not be disturbed. They had made a special space in the roof with bat access tiles as Natterer’s bats and Brown long-eared bats have been seen there.

Others living at the mill site had objected to permission being granted as it would cause loss of amenity and more problems with car parking and deliveries. The planning officer, however, argued that a viable use for the building needed to be found before it became completely derelict and that the office space was comparatively small. There will be allotted parking bays for this live/work unit alongside those for the renovated cottages.

Carlton in Coverdale – September:  The planning committee had to wrestle with the problem of encouraging and assisting the community pub at Carlton after an officer’s report delivered a very firm ‘slap on the wrist’ to the committee which now runs the Forester’s Arms for not conferring with the YDNPA before installing a flue which detracted so much from the appearance of the listed building.

In her report the planning officer stated: “Officers are disappointed by the chain of events which led to the erection of the flue after the Local Planning Authority had already worked with the applicants to regularise the previous unauthorised works to the listed building. Carrying out works to a listed building without the necessary consent constitutes a criminal offence and the approval of a retrospective application does not override this occurrence. Scant regard has been given by the applicants to the legislative requirements and the National Park Authority in this instance which is unsatisfactory, particularly following the assistance which was given to the applicants during the previous application and enforcement investigation.”

The committee running the community pub also upset one of its most supportive neighbours. John Hall told the planning committee that his firm of solicitors, which is based in nearby Leyburn, had done all the legal work for the community pub free of charge and he was a member of its committee. The flue is visible from his back garden.

He commented: “This is a question of good design. The planning officer’s report confirms how dreadful it is. We have been given short shrift.”

Raymond Brown, the chairman of the community pub committee, did apologise for the installation of the flue without planning permission. He pointed out that under new health and safety regulations a flue to extract fumes from the kitchen was necessary, and the pub needed to be able to serve meals to survive. He added that the flue only had temporary fixtures and could be removed when it was no longer needed.

Coun John Blackie said: “The officer has made the recommendation through gritted teeth” that the flue should remain even though it was so unsightly.

He and another planning committee member William Weston asked if advice could be sought from English Heritage about the installation of such flues on listed buildings as this was becoming a common problem. They also wanted a definition of when the flue would no longer be in use and so could be removed.

The committee accepted the officer’s recommendation to approve the retrospective planning applications for the installation of the kitchen extractor system and of the flue, but did ask that the flue should be painted a colour which made it less obvious. It was painted black at the request of the planning department.

Carperby – March and April:  Carperby cum Thoresby parish council strongly objected to a proposed extension to Alpine Cottage arguing that it would cause harm to an iconic building in the village.

The clerk to the parish council explained that Carperby was a conservation area and Alpine Cottage had been specifically mentioned in the Designation Statement.  It was probably built in the 18th century and was the only one of its kind which remained in the village. “It is seen by residents as a valued part of the built heritage of the village,” she stated.

The parish council did not accept the planning officer’s evaluation that the extension would not dominate the rest of the cottage but rather would be subservient and harmonious to it.

David Chapman told the committee that he and his wife had sought the advice of the YDNPA planning officer, and had followed that advice when they applied for the single-storey extension (for a lounge) and a store. Ten members accepted the parish council’s objections and voted against the officer’s recommendation to approve the application.

April: After the March meeting the owner of Alpine Cottage in Carperby submitted amended plans showing a reduction in the size of the single storey extension and the removal of a store.

N Yorks County Coun Roger Harrison-Topham said that the latter especially changed the situation considerably as he had felt that the store beside a patio looked like it could have become an extension to the living space. Chris Armitage and  Cumbria County Coun Roger Bingham agreed with him that the alterations were sufficient to change the opinion of the committee.

N Yorks County Coun John Blackie reminded them that the majority of the villagers and the parish council were still against giving approval for the extension to the cottage.

A resident, Colin Gavin, told the committee he passionately objected not only because it was such an iconic old miner’s cottage but also because adding the extension would mean that the dwelling would no longer be affordable for local residents. The majority of the members, however, accepted the planning officer’s recommendation to approve the altered plans.

Grassington – February: The owner of some old council garages in Grassington asked for and received a Valentines Day present from the YDNPA planning committee on Tuesday, February 14, when her plans for a one-bedroom bungalow on that site were approved.

Mrs Mary Wilkinson told the committee that she wanted to have a retirement home within walking distance of the town centre. She had agreed to set the building back by a metre but a neighbour told the committee that the front porch would still impede access to a garage.

Another neighbour said that the bungalow would affect their privacy and greatly reduce the amount of parking space in the area. Grassington parish council was not prepared to support the application as it felt the neighbours’ concerns had not been properly addressed.

The committee, however, accepted the recommendation of the planning officer that although the bungalow would be close to the two adjoining properties it would not have a negative impact upon the amenity of the neighbours or cause access problems. The YDNPA legal officer advised that it was a civil matter if any scaffolding during the construction of the bungalow caused access problems.

Grassington – March: It was agreed that the owner of Wisp Hill stables should be given nine months to comply with an enforcement notice. In December 2005 planning permission was given for the construction of new stables, workshop and storage units and the demolition of an old barn. The old barn has, however, been retained and three local small businesses are based there.

The enforcement officer reported that the owner had now submitted a plan for reducing the size of the old barn. It was hoped that a compromise could be found within nine months so that local jobs could be protected. The enforcement notice also includes the removal of the concrete wall enclosure created to form a horse turn out area.

Grassington – August: Approval was given for a terrace of three two-bedroom houses and a detached house with three bedrooms to be built by Yorkshire Housing on a small site at Mirefield in Garrs End Lane to provide affordable housing for rent. This was a compromise solution as originally Yorkshire Housing had applied to build four three-bedroom houses but it had been felt that this would have had too much of a detrimental impact upon the surrounding area.

The parish council had asked if there could be just three three-bedroom houses with more parking spaces but Yorkshire Housing had stated this would make the development economically unviable. There will be S106 agreements on the houses to ensure the restriction on occupancy for perpetuity.

Grisedale. – June and September: Coun Roberts reminded the committee that there was a book about The Dale That Died. Other members, however, pointed out that there had been some excellent conversions of derelict buildings in Grisedale so it was not so empty now.

There was then a lengthy discussion about the application to reinstate the former dwelling at East Scale which is a grade II listed building.  The officer had recommended refusal because, following several requests from the YDNPA,  the applicant had not provided a structural survey. Richard Graham, head of development management, said that there had been instances in previous years when work had started on similar buildings only for the walls to collapse and that meant the integrity of the original building could not be maintained.

The owner, who lives in New York, had not provided a full heritage statement or statement of significance as required under the new National Planning Policy Framework. Planning consent was given in 2003 for the 17th century former farmhouse with associated buildings to be altered to form a dwelling house with an office and a recording studio. The present application is to reinstate  the whole building as a dwelling. The roof on part of the building has collapsed since 2003.

The parish council fully supported the latest application as it welcomed the refurbishment of such properties in the parish. There was concern however about how electricity would be supplied to the property.

The committee deferred making a decision as it agreed that although it was supportive of the proposed development it might refuse to grant permission if the documents requested by the planning department (including the structural survey) were not submitted within three months.

At the September meeting the committee reluctantly refused the application as the applicant had not provided the requested documents.

Hawes – March: Residents in Hawes thoroughly approved of The Caravan Club’s Brown Moor site, Coun Blackie told the committee. It was agreed that the site was well screened by trees and shrubs and there should be no problem with removing 12 static pitches and replacing them with ten for touring caravans. Approval was given for the removal of the static pitches and construction of new all-weather serviced ones, the relocation of the existing bin compound and some new planting. After these changes there will be no caravans on the site from January 3 to March 16 each year.

Hawes –  September and October : Coun Blackie requested that there should be a site meeting to consider the application for the erection of a double garage with office at Ashes Farm House. He described this as an iconic building in Hawes.

This application was strongly supported by Hawes and High Abbotside parish council which felt that the quality of the design was in keeping with this grade II listed building. The planning officer, however, recommended that the application should be refused stating that the poor design would be out of character with the Ashes Farm house. Three buildings on the site are grade II listed buildings.

Some members argued that the photographs shown by the planning officer were sufficient and that a site meeting was not needed. The vote was evenly split and so the chairman, Harold Brown, gave his casting vote in favour of a site meeting.

The site meeting led to some amended plans being submitted for the October meeting and the approval of the majority of the members. The applicant, Mr M Metcalfe, explained that after the site meeting he had decided the height of the proposed building should be reduced so that the roof did not compete with that of the farmhouse, which is a grade II listed building.

He also showed photographs of the public toilets at Pennygarth in Hawes. He said no one had complained about that building being out of place beside listed buildings in the town – and the proposed garage was very similar in design. Several members of the committee agreed that the garage would not detract from the farmhouse or the other two listed buildings on the site.

Cumbria County Coun Roger Bingham, YDNPA’s member champion for cultural heritage, commented that he was very impressed by how Mr Metcalfe had restored and conserved the listed buildings.

The head of development management, Richard Graham, said that given the majority vote in favour of the application this decision would not need to be referred back to the committee meeting next month for ratification.

Hawes  – December:  Only time will tell whether the major feature of the new building at the Wensleydale Creamery in Hawes will be iconic or an oddity. The “erratic” on the green sloping roof has been planned to represent the large boulders (erratics) left behind by glaciers during the Ice Age.

The architect, Clive Williams, explained to the planning committee that the aim was to provide a modern production facility which respected its setting within Wensleydale. A focal point was needed for the entrance and it was, therefore, felt that a modern interpretation of the erratics would be a nice symbol.

The panels covering this would be made from glass reinforced cement (GRC) which, Mr Williams said, could be coloured to match local stone and over time moss and lichen would grow on them. The curved roof of the new building will have a calcareous grassland roof which will enhance the local ecology.

The planning officers and some of the committee members were however concerned about the “erratic”. William Weston said this was one of the few sites in the dales which could have such a contemporary, cutting edge, exciting design but the erratic was one of the two features which he felt verged on the pastiche. If it was possible to get the shape and the materials right it would be an exciting feature he added. He therefore proposed that the officers should have more time to work with the architect on such design features.

N Yorks County Coun John Blackie had, however, pointed out that there was great concern that the application would not be discussed by the committee until February 2013. “This would have threatened the viability of the scheme – because this is a major, major scheme for the upper Dales and is not going to be done without attracting investment from beyond the Dales.”

David Hartley, managing director of the Wensleydale Creamery, told the committee that the business with its two sites, in Hawes and at Kirkby Malzeard , had a £25 million turnover a year and employed 230 people, as well as receiving milk from 45 local farmers. Their award winning cheeses were well known and bought throughout the UK and the world. He added: “We are investing in capacity, efficiency, sustainability and really most importantly the legacy of the future of cheese making in Wensleydale. We are committed to Wensleydale.”

The company intends to make Hawes the centre of its state of the art handcrafted cheese production. To do this the old production and office buildings, some of which are over 50 years old and are no longer fit for purpose, will be demolished. These will be replaced with the new building which would cover the same area but will, at some points, be higher than the present one. It will incorporate cheese manufacturing, the offices and an enhanced visitor centre. It is expected that the latter along with the existing shop, café and restaurant will benefit Wensleydale and the wider area.

Coun Blackie asked that the permission should make it possible for the production unit to work 24 hours a day during busy periods such as when preparing for Christmas, and that, if the officers could not come to an agreement with the architect regarding the materials being used for the erratic that issue should be brought back to the committee.

He pointed out that the parish council had requested that planning officers should ensure that the sewerage infrastructure serving the town could cope with any additional discharge. Yorkshire Water had established that the Creamery had on occasions been the source of a lingering bad smell in some parts of Hawes.

The parish council also asked that the new development should include a permanent silent source of additional electrical power – rather than using a noisy reserve generator. The parish council did support the new development because, as was accepted by the planning officers, the Creamery was very important to the town as a provider of employment and bringing in tourists. It added that it was reasonably content with the design of the new building.

After the planning committee voted in favour of the application the chairman, Graham Dalton, reminded the architect that some had misgivings about aspects of the design, especially the erratic.

Hawkswick – February:  The committee approved the planning officer’s recommendation for the construction of a replacement dwelling at The Bungalow in Hawkswick even though one member described it as a “half-breed house” and another commented “It looks like a pavilion to me.”

Hawkswick parish meeting had stated: “We feel the design needs to be more sympathetic to its surroundings in Littondale with more use being made of stone than wood panelling and glazing.” The head of development management, Richard Graham, said: “It’s an unfussy design and it’s robust. The timber can be stained a dark colour or left to weather naturally.”

Hawkswick. – July :  County Coun Harrison-Topham described the period up to 1996 as the Wild West days of ad hoc planning decisions by the YDNPA.  And Craven Dt Coun John Roberts reminded the committee that inconsistent planning decisions had led to deep grievances against the Authority.

It was in 1989 and 1990 that the Authority received two applications for barn conversions in Hawkswick. One applicant was given full permission to convert a barn with no “local need” agreement. But the owners of the barn at Hazel Head Farm were told that they could not convert it into two dwellings unless they signed a Section 52 agreement. This not only restricts occupancy to someone working within a ten-mile radius of the dwellings but also means that they can’t be sold to anyone living outside that radius. The present owners of those dwellings have now applied to have the agreement discharged.

The arguments of their agent, Andrew Moss of WardHadaway, included the inconsistencies in planning decisions between 1990 and 1993, particularly concerning barn conversions in Hawkswick. The planning committee gave permission for a third barn conversion in 1993, again without a local occupancy restriction especially as that was not a requirement of the Authority’s policy at that time.

Mr Moss noted in his letter to the Authority that the emerging planning policy was being applied differently in that period. It wasn’t until the adoption of the Local Plan in October 1996 that “a certain and predictable system was achieved… thereby avoiding inconsistent and unpredictable decision making.”

He stated that where there had been inconsistent planning decisions it was only fair and reasonable for the position to be reviewed and regularised.

The Authority’s monitoring officer, Richard Daly, however, disagreed. He informed the committee that the Authority had consulted legal Counsel on this issue. Only the YDNPA officers and members could read the Counsel’s confidential advice – but the meeting was told that he did not accept that that the Authority should discharge the agreement. His arguments included that the covenant was not obsolete as it could still be of value in controlling development in the National Park, it secured a substantial advantage to the Authority and was in the public interest.

The officers and some members emphasised the Counsel’s argument that if the agreement was discharged it would set an extremely unhelpful precedent for future applications. Richard Graham, head of development management, stated that there were over 100 “local need” agreements (S52 and S106) made during that period.Coun John Roberts, however, argued that there were only four S52 agreements which affected barn conversions.

Several members said that the Authority should now find a compromise solution. This might either involve the owners of the two dwellings putting the properties on the market for six months in accordance with YDNPA guidelines and then, if they did not sell, the S52 agreements might be lifted.Or the S52 agreements could be re-negotiated to bring them more in line with the present S106 agreements. (These do not include the 10-mile radius restrictions.) The members voted unanimously for the decision to be deferred so that officers could negotiate further with the owners.

(NB: In November 2011 the committee discussed a similar application involving The Shetty at Gayle. The committee agreed to discharge that agreement only because of  “exceptional circumstances”.)

Hawkswick – August :  The committee spent a long time discussing whether a 10ft steel agricultural gate could be retained at the entrance to a 15m by 18m parcel of land at Belly Flatt. A local farmer will use the gate to offload sheep onto that land. Hawkswick Parish Meeting objected stating that the appearance on a country lane of two 10ft steel gates, side by side, was an alien feature on the landscape. (There is a similar gate at the entrance to an adjacent farm field.)

As there was a pedestrian gate onto the applicant’s plot and a farmer had made another access for sheep the parish meeting felt that new gate should be removed and the fence reinstated. The committee approved the planning officer’s recommendation that the gate could remain but there should be no access for vehicles and the limestone chippings should be removed within three months. Additional trees should also be planted.

Hetton –  May and June :  How does one define “open countryside” committee member, Chris Armitage, asked when the application by F Reeday and Sons to erect an agricultural worker’s dwelling in a farmyard which is part of Manor Farm in Hetton was discussed.  “This (application) meets all our criteria except one – this is a grey area,” commented Mr Armitage. The committee heard that there was huge local support for the application which was seen as a way of sustaining the future of the farm and encouraging a young family to stay in the Dales.

Craven Dt Coun John Roberts commented: “If the children go there is a domino effect with schools closing etc.” The farm is now mainly worked by Matthew Reeday who lives in a very  small cottage in Hetton with his wife and two young children. That cottage is owned by three of the Reeday family but is not part of the farm partnership.

A legal agreement on the original farmhouse means that it will be inherited by those not involved in the farm business. It was pointed out that the cost of houses in Hetton  is too high for farm workers like Mr Reeday. The planning officer argued that the house would be in open countryside as the site was outside the village boundary.

The only basis then for approving such an application was if it could be shown that accommodation could not be provided by using other houses within the control of the applicant. Richard Graham, head of development management, said that the committee could approve the application on the basis that there were legal and financial circumstances which made it impossible for the Reedays to do that.

As the committee voted unanimously in favour of approving the application Craven Dt Coun Robert Heseltine asked if this decision needed to be referred back to the June meeting. Mr Graham said the planning officer would need time to work on preparing the legal agreement to tie the dwelling to the farm business.

At the June meeting all but one of the members voted to ratify that decision. The two reasons agreed upon were: the exceptional personal circumstances of the applicants in terms of legal and financial issues prevented them from using any of the existing buildings in the family’s ownership to meet the needs of the farm business; and that the landscape impact of the proposal would be minimal having regard to its context within the existing farmyard that adjoins the settlement boundary of Hetton. There will be a S106 agreement tying the house to the farm buildings and all of the land.

N Yorks County Coun John Blackie pointed out that there had also been exceptional circumstances when Clark Stone applied for an agricultural worker’s dwelling in Arkengarthdale which would have also been outside a village boundary. He wondered if this was an example of double standards.

Horton in Ribblesdale – February and March :  A decision on the application to extend the amount of time that a field by the New Inn Bridge could be used for visitor parking was deferred by the planning committee until its  March meeting. This may allow time for the preparation of a traffic management plan for the village but the committee  agreed that the decision should not be delayed any longer. The owners have applied to use the field for parking for 70 days between April and October each year.

The planning officer recommended that it could be used for parking for only 57 days from April to September, and that it could not be used for overnight accommodation by those with tents or caravans.

Horton in Ribblesdale parish council had asked the committee to refuse the application. It stated: “It is essential that the wider issue of the impact on the village and the surrounding area of the increasing number of sponsored walks be addressed before there can be a sensible consideration of what provision should be made to accommodate visitors and their vehicles.”

The North Yorkshire branch of the Campaign to Protect Rural England ( CPRE) wrote to the YDNPA to express its concern about mass walks. It stated: “It is necessary now to protect the countryside against the damage done by too many feet in one place. The CPRE considers damage can be caused not only to the ecostructure but also to villages in or adjacent to the Parks which become swamped by excessive numbers of visitors. We consider that every effort must be made to spread visitor numbers to places throughout the Parks.”And added: “Perhaps alternate routes could be worked out to give the Three Peaks a rest.”

The YDNPA’s recreation and tourism manager, however, felt that the Three Peaks walks were of such national significance that it would be difficult to persuade people to go elsewhere. The only alternative is to manage the numbers visiting the area.  Some charity events attract between 400 to 1000 participants. (See Pen-y-ghent cafe )

At the March meeting it was agreed to give  permission for three years for the field  to be used for temporary parking for a total of 57 days a year, with no parking there between October and March. This, it was felt, would provide sufficient time for a traffic management plan to be developed to enable the village to cope with the thousands who take part in sponsored Three Peaks walks.

At the planning committee the majority agreed that the conditions (secured with a S106 agreement)  should include restricting cars from being parked too close to the houses at one end of the field; that parking (with no overnight accommodation) would be limited to Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays and Bank Holidays according to a schedule of events provided by the landowner; and that parking or camping on another field owned by the applicant should be restricted.  The landowner will be asked to provide information to those preparing the traffic management plan.

Horton in Ribblesdale -December :  Permission was granted for the outdoor pursuits centre at Newhouses, Horton in Ribblesdale, to be converted into a four-bedroomed house. Although the parish council had some reservations about the revised plans it had no objection to what had been Foxwood Farmhouse being converted in a house as that would preserve the integrity of the grade II listed building. It would have preferred that the development remained within the footprint of the existing structure but the committee accepted the planning officer’s recommendation that a lean-to extension at the rear could project one metre beyond that footprint. The Friends of Foxwood Farm had used the farmhouse as an outdoor pursuits centre from 1996. By 2011 the charity was no longer able to run this facility and so sold the farmhouse at auction. The applicant maintained that due to its size and layout the building would not meet current standards or expectations for an outdoor education facility. The only committee member who did not accept this was Coun Blackie. He felt this would set a precedent and could lead to the loss of even more low-cost holiday accommodation in the national park.

Ingleton. – July: The committee gave approval for an enforcement notice to be served on the owners of the land adjacent to the White Scar Caves stating that a touring caravan on the site should be removed within three months. When an enforcement officer inspected the site in June 2009 there was a petting zoo there and the caravan was occasionally used for shelter. By May this year the moveable hutches had been removed but the caravan was still on the site and the Authority had not received a planning application for it to remain there.

Keld –  February:  Approval was given for the number of tents at Park House campsite, Keld, to be increased from six to 12 and for the opening period to be extended. No caravans or tents will be allowed on the site between October 31 and March 1 each year, and none can be there for more than 28 days during the camping season. The application originally proposed increasing the number of caravans from three to six but the planning officers were concerned about the impact upon such a remote and exposed landscape.

Kettlewell – June: The committee unanimously accepted the planning officer’s recommendation that hard surfacing and pitches for caravans could be created using crushed limestone at the site at Causeway Bungalow in Kettlewell. Craven Dt Coun John Roberts noted that caravans and motorhomes were getting heavier and so sank into the grass. N Yorks County Coun Roger Harrison-Topham wondered, however, if crushed limestone was the most suitable material. He felt that other materials such as plastic matting should be considered. This application was supported by the parish council.

Kettlewell – June : Some of the members pointed out that as the owner of Market House in Kettlewell had not yet signed a S106 agreement the three years allowed for work to begin had not yet officially started. The agreement should have been signed in early 2009 after the applicant was given permission to convert a store into a shop with a two bedroom dwelling above.  As it had not been signed the planning officer had recommended that the application should be refused, but in an email just before the meeting it was stated that the applicant was now prepared to sign the agreement. At the meeting it was unanimously agreed that the applicant should be given a maximum of three months in which to sign. If he does he will then have another three years in which to begin converting the store. In 2008 the parish council had strongly objected to this application as the road by the premises was not only narrow but also a bus route.

Langcliffe – October : The large V shaped signs advertising that Langcliffe Mill was for sale or to let must be removed but they could be replaced with smaller ones in appropriate positions. This was the majority view of the committee after discussing the retrospective application for the present signs made by Skipton Properties Pension Fund. It was accepted that there needs to be good advertising if the Mill is to attract those who could bring employment to the area by redeveloping the site but that should not be done to the detriment of the surrounding landscape. The members therefore accepted the planning officer’s recommendation to refuse the application.

Linton – February:  Linton Parish Council was very concerned that a precedent would be set for the future development of the village if permission was given for a house to be built outside of the development boundary. After a lengthy debate the committee agreed with the planning officer that permission could not be granted for a house to be built in the field next to Tarn Laithe. The owner explained that it was for members of his own family and so constituted local need. The officer stated that as the site was outside the village housing boundary it would not fulfill the criteria for local needs housing under the present Local Plan nor the new Dales Housing Development Plan when it comes into force. Committee member Peter  Charlesworth believed the application would fulfil a local need for housing and pointed out that prior to a wall being built the development boundary would have extended through the proposed site to the edge of the conservation area.

Linton Falls. – October and November:  It was decided to hold a site meeting to assess the impact upon neighbours of extensions to Gable End at Linton Falls. “We have got a very strong recommendation from the parish council that we have got to listen to,” said Craven Dt Coun John Roberts.

Originally the applicant had wanted a two storey extension on the rear but the planning officer had said that would have had too much of a negative impact upon the neighbouring cottage owned by Mr B Kennedy. The officer felt that a single storey lean-to extension would not have a significantly overbearing or overshadowing impact and so had recommended that the application for that and a two storey side extension should be approved.

Mr Kennedy told the committee: “Light is at a premium in my cottage. I think this (will be) intrusive.” And Linton parish councillor, John Bennett, said: “The parish council is unanimously opposed… to this unacceptable loss of amenity particularly to Rose Cottage and other properties.”

At the November meeting all the members who attended the site meeting to Linton Falls voted for approval to be given for the erection of the two extensions to Gable End. The other two committee members abstained from voting.

Peter Charlesworth proposed the acceptance of the officer’s recommendation because at the site meeting he felt it was clear that the rear extension would not have a big impact upon the neighbouring property. He pointed out that under permitted development rights the rear extension could be three metres in depth whereas after consultations with the planning officer the applicant had agreed not only to reduce it to 1.8 metres but also to just a single storey.

Chris Armitage described the proposed extensions as being cleverly designed. The largest section of the extension will be into the garden at the side of the end-terrace house.

Long Preston – November:  Approval was given for half of a stable at Beckstone House in Newhouse Lane to be converted into an office for an e-communications firm.

Two of the three full-time employees live at Beckstone House and one of the conditions is that the use of the office would be tied to the occupants of that house. This is to ensure that the level of use does not increase and so impact more upon highway safety and residential amenity.

Long Preston parish councillor Hilary Baker told the committee that the un-adopted road to this small hamlet was narrow with very few passing places. “It is a well-used and much loved public footpath and in places is the width of a 4×4,” she said.

The parish council therefore objected to the application because the area would be adversely affected by the additional traffic. Mrs Baker added that the emergency services had difficulty accessing the hamlet via that road.

The planning committee, however, felt that such an e-based office would not generate much extra traffic and this was the type of use of old buildings that the Authority wished to encourage.

Low Row – October:  The majority of the committee agreed that there was little difference in the application involving East Broccabank at Low Row to that refused by planning officers in August 2011. That decision was upheld by a planning inspector in November 2011.

The committee therefore refused to give planning permission for a single storey extension to form a studio and shower room. This extension would have been to the garage attached to the house.

Richmondshire Dt Coun Malcolm Gardner had asked the planning committee to consider this application as he felt that the appeal inspector’s decision had been fatally flawed. He wondered what the inspector had meant by describing the design as “fussy”.

Paul Steele, who owns the house with his wife, explained that they had wanted an extension which could not be seen easily from the surrounding countryside and which would merge in with the garage.

Marske – April and May: At the April meeting it was decided that there should be a site visit to the Stable Block at Marske as the scheme to transform this Grade II listed building into nine holiday units was complex.

Marske Stable Block is in the open countryside and is on English Heritage’s “At Risk” register. Although the YDNPA would like to see it in use in order to conserve it, its senior listed buildings officer stated that the plans to remove the Victorian features from this Georgian building, including windows and stable boxes, would be harmful to the historic and architectural significance of the stables. The application includes alterations to the Coach House.

At the May meeting Sue Ridley, the vice chairman of Marske and New Forest parish meeting, begged the committee to work with Roger Tempest of the Rural Concepts Group, to preserve The Stables. “It is a beautiful building and some of the stonework is stunning.If you turn down this application what is the alternative?” she asked.

Mrs Ridley explained that the Rural Concepts Group had been the only buyer interested in purchasing The Stables from the parish meeting two years ago.

Committee members visited the 18th century building on April 20 to consider if there were sufficient conservation benefits if it was converted into nine holiday lets, and if the plans put forward would mean that too many of the 19th century features would be lost.

Following further consultation with the Rural Concepts Group a number of amendments to the original plans were agreed. These included retaining some Victorian sash windows, iron mangers and some feeding troughs, and 18th century graffiti. The developers will make a photographic record of the building prior to work starting.

Although the amended plans were not available at the May meeting it was agreed unanimously that the application could be delegated to officers to complete the planning process. The members accepted that there was an urgent need now to preserve the building and that Mr Tempest had an excellent record for restoring listed buildings throughout the country.

The committee chairman, Graham Dalton, was concerned that it would be possible for the community have long term use of a room, on a rental basis, at The Stables.

Mrs Ridley said that the WI and the parish meeting would make use of that room. She like Harold  Brown (Grinton parish council)  remembered the days when the villagers held dances, celebrations and many other community events at The Stables.

Melmerby in Coverdale– September and October: Two very different views of the alterations to a farmyard at Manor Farm, Melmerby in Coverdale were presented to the planning committee.

N Yorks County Coun Roger Harrison-Topham, who can see the farm from his home, argued that the extension of the farmyard and the embankment was not so visible that it was having a harmful impact upon the landscape.

To Melmerby parish meeting, however, the embankment was an eyesore created from soil and rubbish and the trees engulfed by it were either dead or dying. And in wet weather effluent flowed down it.

The planning officer had recommended refusal because of the impact of the embankment on the landscape and on some trees. He had also asked that an enforcement notice should be served for the embankment to be removed and the farmyard returned to its original size.

The planning committee, however, accepted Coun Harrison-Topham’s request that there should be a site meeting before making any decision about the retrospective application by F Dinsdale and Sons to make up the ground level at the rear of the farm buildings.

The site meeting at Manor Farm made a considerable impact upon those members who went to see the embankment created with soil dug out when a new building was being erected. At the site meeting the farmers were congratulated by Melmerby parish council for the amount of tidying that had been carried out in the past two weeks.

The parish council felt that the proposed planting scheme of trees and a hedgerow would further improve the site. It asked that a channel should be dug to prevent effluent draining down the embankment.

It was accepted by the planning committee members that the cost of removing that soil would be too high for the farm business. They also accepted Nigel Dinsdale’s argument that the area created by the infill was essential to the functioning of the farm business.

Since then the meeting in September the  applicants had worked with the YDNPA’s Trees and Woodlands Officer to draw up an extensive scheme of landscaping. This includes the tiered planting of 120 trees on the embankment and the installation of a native hedgerow along the southern and eastern boundaries of the extended farmyard. The planning officer therefore recommended that the application should be granted which was accepted by the committee.

The committee did ask that in future any applications for new farm buildings should include information about the disposal of waste soil.

Melmerby in Coverdale – September:  The planning committee was asked not only to refuse Andrew Avison’s retrospective application for the infilling of Lickber Lane but also to authorise the serving of an enforcement notice to restore the lane to its original condition.

The planning officer stated that the infilling had damaged an ancient sunken route which was a non-designated heritage asset. Richmondshire Ramblers had told the Authority that it was regularly used by walkers.

Melmerby parish meeting, however, had reported that prior to the infilling Lickber Lane had been impassable due to water running down it, damage by rabbits and the build-up of vegetation. The section infilled by Mr Avison was now useable but that nearest to the river had not been touched and remained impassable.

The YDNPA member champion for heritage, Cumbria County Coun Roger Bingham said that any archaeological evidence in the infilled section of Lickber Lane had been obliterated.

But the planning committee decided not to support the recommendation of the planning officer immediately. Instead the majority voted to defer the decision so that the YDNPA could consult with N Yorkshire County Council’s highways department as the unclassified lane is recorded as being the responsibility of the county council.

Coun Roger Harrison-Topham said that the main problem now was to reconcile the objectives of two authorities which operated under different pieces of legislation. His advice that the YDNPA planning department should reach agreement with the county council and then bring the issue back to the planning committee was accepted.

Reeth – February : Committee members voted overwhelmingly in favour of allowing a new house to be built at Mill Hill. This, however, was against the planning officer’s recommendation who said it should be refused as the amended plans did not go far enough to solve the problems of over-dominating and affecting the privacy of the house below it.

The Swaledale members of the committee felt there would be minimal loss of privacy and amenity and that the proposed building was in keeping with the terraced nature of many houses in Reeth. Another committee member asked if the house could be set back by a metre from the footpath.

It was agreed that the planning officer could ratify this decision if the applicant could make that adjustment to the plans.

Ribblehead –  February An enforcement notice will be issued for the removal of the residential caravan beside the Station Inn at Ribblehead, but the compliance period will be set at six months instead of two. N Yorks County Coun John Blackie explained that the owner was preparing to apply for an extension to the Inn so as to provide alternative staff accommodation.Ribblehead –  May: It was unanimously agreed the application for full planning permission for extensions and alterations to the Station Inn and its  bunkhouse should be approved. The conditions include the removal of the caravan beside the pub.  Cumbria County Coun Roger Bingham said that although the pub was one of the most visited in the Yorkshire Dales the site was a mess at present. “I do hope it will be tidied up.” The extensions to the pub include an improved kitchen at the rear and enlarging the dining room and the toilets.  The facilities in bunkhouse will be improved and further accommodation will be provided for staff. There will be a new vehicular access.

Sedbergh – March: The committee agreed with the planning officer that a wall built to enclose part of the grassy area in front of Abbot Holme at Millthrop,Sedbergh, would detract considerably from the beauty of the open space which had been in existence since the mid 19th century. It would also have an adverse impact upon Abbot Holme which is a listed building. The application for a 1.2m high stone boundary wall was therefore rejected.

Sedbergh – May and July:  Local planning authorities can no longer question the need for a telecommunications system as that right has been removed under the government’s new National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF). Nor can a local authority determine if there are sufficient health safeguards for residents if an applicant can show that the proposal meets International Commission guidelines for public exposure to radiation levels.

This was reported by the planning officer dealing with the application by Electricity North West to construct a 20m high telecommunications pole with antenna at its primary substation off Busk Lane in Sedbergh. The application according to the NPPF could only be determined on planning issues. But neither the members of the planning committee nor over 200 Sedbergh residents were convinced that they could not question the need for the mast.

Andrew Fleck, the head teacher of Sedbergh School, spoke on behalf of 211 residents when he queried the technology and the height of the mast.

N Yorks County Coun Roger Harrison-Topham said that the mast would be a particularly bad blot on the landscape. He accepted that if the committee refused the application the company would apply again and then he wanted the technological need to  be appraised by an independent advisor.

The company had explained the mast was essential to manage the supply of electricity and remotely manage the high voltage equipment at the substation by having a clear line of sight for radio signals to be transmitted to it from the rest of the Electricity North West  network. The committee was told that the BT network would not work and the only safe and secure method was via radio transmissions.

The planning officers had negotiated with company to have a mono-pod design which was half the width of the lattice tower originally proposed, so as to try and minimise the impact upon the landscape and the neighbourhood. To retain line of sight it was necessary, however, for the top of the mast to be above the trees.

The majority of the committee members agreed that the mast would have a detrimental impact not only on the landscape but also on those living near it, particularly some of those in Queen’s Drive, and that there were health and safety issues. They also wanted the technology to be reassessed to find out if such a high mast was really necessary.

As they did not accept the planning officer’s recommendation to approve the application this decision had to be ratified at the June meeting.

At the July meeting Shirley Smith from Sedbergh impressed the committee with her carefully argued objection to the telecommunications pole. She quoted the NPPF (see below) and asked the Authority to seek independent advice before serious damage was done to the Sedbergh area.

All but two  members of the committee agreed with her and felt that maybe this should be put to the test.  Even though it was understood that Electricity North West would appeal if the committee did not approve its plans, the majority of the members voted against accepting them, thus ratifying the decision made at the May meeting.

Some members argued that they were not questioning the need for the mast but whether it was the best option especially as it was the duty of the YDNPA to protect the landscape and make sure that any proposed development would not have a detrimental impact. It was also felt that the mast would have a detrimental impact on the residential amenity of the neighbouring properties.

Mrs Smith’s statement  to the planning committee: “First of all I wish to thank the committee for voting down so convincingly at the meeting in May, ENW’s application for a telecommunications pole at Sedbergh substation.I maintain that the reasons for which the permission was refused by the planning committee then are equally valid now since no independent proof of the need for a pole has been obtained. I hope that Members will agree that ENW’s plan to erect a 20m telecommunications pole, adjacent to the cemetery, with antennae at the top, jutting 5m above the very tall trees around, towering over the nearby residential area and marring the view from any of the fells around, as well as from houses in Sedbergh above a certain level, should not go forward. Sedbergh can well do without such an eyesore. The petition concerning the pole now has 296 signatures.Paragraph 6 of the (YDNPA) reference back report refers to a report produced eight years ago – in which the conclusion is drawn that alternative technology is unsuitable. Technology has made great strides since 2004! In paragraph 8 reference is made to ‘tests’ in 2007 leading to the same conclusion. But five years on, there is no doubt that alternative ‘fit-for-purpose’ technology is available for the asking.  It is now time for the technological alternatives to be thoroughly and independently investigated to provide conclusive proof that a pole is not needed.After all, the National Planning Policy Framework recommends in Section 43 that ‘local planning authorities should support the expansion of electronic communications networks . . . . They should aim to keep the numbers of radio and telecommunications masts and the sites for these to a minimum consistent with the efficient operation of the network.’Section 46 of the NPPF states that planning authorities should not question the need for the telecommunications system: No-one here could possibly suggest that ENW has no need for an efficient telecommunications system. All that is being questioned is the need for a pole. Also in Section 46 ‘local planning authorities should not seek to prevent competition between different operators’.ENW, as an operator itself, may well favour a pole as the least expensive option. An independent investigation would be able to discover which operator, if not BT, could provide the best competitive non-pole technology for ENW’s purposes, much more appropriate for Sedbergh, relying, as the local economy does, on the visitors who come to enjoy its beautiful landscape.In conclusion : There is no doubt that efficient operation of a network to suit ENW’s demands is possible with up-to-date technology. The committee has not yet exercised due diligence by taking independent advice and we would strongly recommend that such advice is sought without delay before serious damage is done to our area. We have always understood that the purpose of the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority is to safeguard our landscape.”

Sedbergh – August:  The committee accepted the planning officers recommendation that a modern, fit for purpose dental practice would be a key community asset and would contribute to the vitality of Sedbegh and so approved plans for the change of use of the Spar shop in Main Street in the town centre. The Dental Practice Sedbergh plans to re-locate to there from Finkle Street and in doing so be able to take on 120 new NHS patients.

The parish council accepted that the dental practice would maintain footfall in Main Street but was concerned about the loss of a retail outlet in the town centre and that the original plans did not provide for the shop front being remodelled to fit in better with the traditional appearance of what is a conservation area.

The planning officer stated that the proposed alterations were now acceptable in design terms (including the removal of the unattractive shiny fascia) and would enhance the street scene.As there had been so much public interest in this issue with many writing to the YDNPA with arguments for and against the application it was agreed this must be discussed in an open forum.

There was concern about the continuing viability of Main Street as a shopping location especially since permission had been given for the auction mart to be transformed into a new Spar supermarket plus health centre. That health centre will not have sufficient space for the extended dental practice.

The new Spar supermarket opened in March and since then there has been a considerable reduction in the range of goods on sale at the Main Street shop and the hours have been severely curtailed. There is an S106 agreement that Spar should retain its Main Street store for two years after the new supermarket was opened. The committee members were told that that agreement can be modified so that the existing retail use continues until the premises are sold to the dental practice.

The dental practice had not provided evidence that there the retail use of the premises was no longer economically viable but was proposing that the surgery in Finkle Street should become a shop.

At the  meeting approval was given for the dental surgery in Finkle Street to become a retail premises with a very small flat on the first floor. The request by the parish council that the flat should be for those in need of accommodation locally was accepted and there will be an S106 agreement to ensure that.

Sedbergh. – October: The committee unanimously agreed that Two Castles Housing Association could go ahead and build seven two-storey and three bungalows, all for local occupancy, on the former Cumbria County Council depot site in Guldrey Lane, Sedbergh.

The members did check on the cascading eligibility arrangements for occupancy as they wanted to ensure that local people were not pushed out. It was explained that the first ones to be considered would be those living in Sedbergh; then those from named adjacent parishes within South Lakeland, and then those living elsewhere within the Yorkshire Dales National Park.

N Yorks County Coun John Blackie’s request that those living in Hawes and High Abbotside should be considered before others living in the National Park was accepted. He explained that Hawes and High Abbotside had a similar agreement with Sedbergh and Garsdale for the affordable housing recently built in Hawes.

Both he and Graham Dalton were dismayed that Cumbria County Council had not taken up offers by private businesses to use that site for employment purposes. “The site has been empty now for more than 20 years and it is getting in a very derelict condition,” said Mr Dalton.

Members felt that the planning officers had made a good job of negotiating with Two Castles Housing Association about the number of dwellings and the layout . Originally the Association had proposed that there should be 12 dwellings but the planning officers asked for this to be reduced so as to produce a layout which did not impinge on the amenity of neighbouring properties.

The Association’s project manager, Lisa Hogarth, assured members that the new homes would be built so that they could accommodate disabled people. She said that even with the reduction in the number of dwellings and with problems such as the need to decontaminate the site she believed the project was viable and would provide homes for local people.

Sedbergh – November: Sedbergh parish councillor, Douglas Thompson, asked the committee to defer making a decision about an application for the change of use of a one-room shop to residential.

This was because the parish council wanted more time to work with the YDNPA on the Sedbergh Townscape Project aimed, in part, to foster the economic well-being of the town. The parish council felt that the loss of this shop in Main Street would affect the retail area of the town.

The planning officer stated that the shop was not on the main shopping street; was not conspicuous; was very small with no additional space for storage or separate toilet facilities; and has been empty for a considerable period of time. The rest of the house is residential and the owners wish to continue living there.

It was pointed out at the meeting that the owners had complied with the YDNPA’s advertising and marketing process prior to applying for change of use but it had proved impossible to find someone willing to take on the shop.

The owners had also considered re-organising the house so that the whole of the ground floor could be used for retail and the second floor would be a single-bedroom residence. But such a proposal was unlikely to be economically viable. All of the members therefore voted for planning permission to be granted.The application included the replacement of the shop window.

The chairman, Harold Brown, believed this would not set a precedent as, in his view, there were unique factors involved. He added that other applications from Sedbergh would be judged on their merit and the Authority would continue to support the parish council.

Starbotton – February  and March: Many members agreed with the chairman of the planning committee that the need for housing for local people outweighed the arguments against approving the construction of a two-bedroomed house on land designated by the YDNPA as important open space within a village. The majority therefore voted against the planning officer’s recommendation that the application should be refused.

Dt Coun John Roberts pointed out that the application didn’t meet eight of the YDNPA’s policies. The officer explained that it would be harmful to the village because: it would introduce domestic clutter to an otherwise wild and unspoilt area; it would increase the visual prominence of a presently unobtrusive vehicular access; it would reduce the visual quality of the green space along the beck; and it would introduce a dwelling that paid little regard to its setting in terms of detailing, siting and orientation.

Kettlewell-with-Starbotton parish council said it supported the need for local occupancy housing but questioned if the YDNPA should allow a house to be built on land designated as special open space.

At the March meeting Craven Dt Coun John Roberts told the planning committee that it would be inconsistent to approve the construction of a house on an area designated by the YDNPA as Special Open Space after it had issued enforcement notices to protect open spaces in Kettlewell which were in the same parish.

“This is one of the most protected sites that we have in this area. It is an important open space in a conservation area in the national park. This was our designation. This application goes against eight of the Park’s saved policies,” Coun Roberts said. He added: “I understand the need for housing in the parish … but we are here to protect and enhance the environment.”

County Coun John Blackie had argued that more “local need” houses were required in the area to safeguard the future of the pubs and the school. As there would be a S106 agreement on the house it could only be sold to those who fulfilled the criteria for “local need” and so would sell for up to 15 per cent less than the open  market value.

Kettlewell-with-Starbotton parish council had pointed out that this was the second application for a local occupancy dwelling in Starbotton from the same applicant and the first property was still vacant.

The YDNPA’s head of development management, Richard Graham, told the committee that the need for another such house had not been demonstrated. He stated  there was no material benefit to outweigh the policy not to allow construction on such an open space.

The majority at the March meeting voted against approving the application.

Swaleview Caravan Park- May: At the December 2011 meeting the committee had requested that the owners of Swaleview Caravan Park, Andrew and Eileen Carter, should enter into some legal agreements. The Carters, however, had replied that they felt that the conditions on a new planning permission allowing seasonal use on all 30 touring caravan pitches would be sufficient.

The conditions included defining touring caravans as those which can be towed by cars ;  that an up-to-date  register will need to be kept to show that all those using the 30 seasonal pitches between March 1 and October 31 had  permanent homes elsewhere; and that from November 1 to February 28 no caravans could be on those pitches for more than 28 consecutive nights.

Hudswell parish council was very concerned that lodges might replace caravans on those pitches and so be used as either second or even first homes. It also did not want to see a further loss of short stay touring pitches.

Richmondshire Dt Coun Malcolm Gardner asked if it was possible to enforce the conditions which stopped the site becoming a permanent village. Mr Graham said the conditions were enforceable and officers did check to make sure no-one was living permanently on such a site even though that was very time consuming.

The majority of the committee accepted the planning officer’s recommendation to approve the application subject to 12 conditions.

Threshfield  –  April : It is now possible for the owners of Wood Nook Caravan Park to vary the number of touring caravans and tents on that site at any one time as a condition imposed in 1977 has been lifted by the planning committee. That condition stipulated that there could be 30 caravans and 20 tents in that park. Although this may mean less tents on occasions it was pointed out that there was also a camp site with pitches for 31 tents at  Wood Nook.

The planning officer explained that after months of discussion with the owners it was agreed that 12 pitches would be removed from the caravan park and there would be extensive planting along the southern side  and the western corner to match the adjacent woodland. This will partially shield the site from a footpath.

Two new pitches will be added on the eastern side of the site. Eleven pitches will be retained for the existing statics so the maximum number of touring caravans at any time would be 39. As compared with 30 tourers it was felt that this would have a marginal impact upon highway safety.

Three members of the committee queried the possible loss of camping pitches.  Coun Blackie was the only one who voted against granting permission as he felt it was important to maintain and even increase the number of camping pitches available in the Yorkshire Dales.

Threshfield –  August:  County Coun John Blackie and other members asked why the YDNPA planning department had allowed an application to remain unresolved for so long that the applicants had appealed to the Planning Inspectorate.

Lakeland Leisure Estates had applied in November last year for permission to erect extensions and make alterations to the Gamekeeper Inn at Long Ashes Caravan Park, Threshfield. The Gamekeeper public house and restaurant is at the centre of the caravan park and the owners want to extend the function room and erect an accommodation block of six letting bedrooms.

The committee was asked to uphold the planning officer’s recommendation that the application should be refused so as to strengthen the YDNPA’s case at the appeal. The planning officer contended that the proposed extensions would dominate and be out of character with the existing building.

Threshfield – September: Long Ashes Holiday Park is a significant settlement in the Yorkshire Dales National Park and the owners have submitted several planning applications to the YDNPA planning department in the past few years. But, as the longest serving member of the committee, N Yorks County Coun John Blackie asked: “When did we last have a site meeting there?”

Graham Dalton requested that a site meeting should be held before making a decision concerning the latest application as it was a complex one but this was not accepted by the majority of the committee.

The application was for the redevelopment and extension of the holiday park to include change of use for siting 49 statics, 64 touring caravans and 22 camping pods plus two buildings to provide facilities. Thirty four of those statics and the site for the 64 touring caravans would be on undeveloped fields.

Mr Dalton stated that if the application was granted the holiday park would double in size. Other members pointed out that the holiday park was already like a small town and felt that it had out-grown itself.

Craven Dt Coun John Roberts argued that the holiday park should not be allowed to envelope two good hay meadows. This application, he said, was little different to that refused by the planning committee in March and did not resolve the concerns about sewage and water supply, nor of the dangerous access onto the B6160.

Threshfield parish council, in its objection to the application, pointed out that there were quite a few unused plots on the present site.

At the planning committee Craven Dt Coun John Roberts, said that the site could be remodelled to include 52 more caravans as had previously been approved by the Authority.

The majority of the committee accepted the planning officer’s conclusion that the extension would result in a significant and harmful impact upon the landscape and voted to refuse permission for it.

Threshfield -December:   Allowing the Long Ashes Caravan Park  near Threshfield to increase in size was compared to urban sprawl by planning committee member, William Weston. “We already have a site which is bigger than many Dales’ communities. The idea of increasing urban sprawl in this location is really extraordinary given how big the site is already,” he said.

Lakeland Leisure Estates Ltd had applied for full planning permission to redevelop and extend the park by adding 51 static caravans, 64 touring caravans and 22 camping pods plus the erection of some buildings, including a toilet block.

“The chutzpah of putting this forward is breathtaking,” commented N Yorks County Coun Roger Harrison-Topham.

Coun Roberts stated that if at Easter all the bed spaces at Long Ashes were filled its population would be equal to that of Threshfield and Grassington combined. The good agricultural fields that the park owners proposed to extend  into would then become brown field sites, Coun Roberts  said.

He was also concerned about the sewerage system at the park, and the safety of cars exiting onto the B6160. Threshfield parish council had unanimously opposed the application.

The agent for Lakeland Leisure Estates explained that more information could be provided about the drainage and sewerage, and that there would be a landscape scheme which would include tree planting. The extension of the park would create 13 more jobs and a considerable financial input  into the local economy, she said.

West Witton.  – October:  Mr Dalton said that as the central government was encouraging caravan sites to remain open all year it was difficult for the committee to refuse the application from Chantry Country Retreat to be open all the time for holiday purposes. Up until now it was closed from January 16 until March 1 each year.

Some members and local residents were concerned that this could result in the caravans being used as permanent residences. The planning officer pointed out that the operators will have to maintain an up-to-date register of the names of all owners/occupiers on the site along with their main home addresses.

That information must be available to the planning department when requested. Coun Blackie commented that it would not be easy for the planning officers to keep a check on such details.

The application was approved with the conditions including that no additional lighting should be installed without the approval of the YDNPA.

 

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