ARC News Service reports on YDNPA planning committee meetings during 2015: applications affecting Airton, Appersett, Appletreewick, Arncliffe, Aysgarth Station, Beamsley, Carperby (fishing hut), Clapham, Coverhead, Dent (Risehill Mill), Grassington, Hawes, Healaugh, Ingleton, Kettlewell, Kirkby Malham, Langcliffe, Low Row, Malham, Millthrop, Reeth, Sedbergh, Spout near Sedbergh, Stainforth, and Threshfield. See separate post concerning telecommunications masts at West Witton.
John Roberts, who died on March 8 aged 70, had represented Craven District council on the Authority and so, at the meeting that month, the chair where he usually sat was empty. Referring to that the chairman of the Authority, Peter Charlesworth, stated: “As far as planning is concerned it will be a void that will be difficult to fill. It reminds us of the valuable contribution he made to our community. He showed great respect for the views of others and to all the members, and in return he received great respect from us.”Before the meeting began North Yorkshire County Councillor Shelagh Marshall told me: “He always put people first – that’s what I admired about him. He was a very active councillor in Upper Wharfedale. He will be very badly missed.” There was a minute’s silence in his memory.
Airton – May – Enforcement
The present occupant of Dykelands Farm Cottage at Airton was given three months to comply with an enforcement notice to find alternative accommodation. Planning permission was granted in 2006 for the cottage to be an agricultural worker’s dwelling to meet an identified need for a farm worker to live on site to serve the farm. But the present occupant is involved in engineering and pest control, neither of which the Authority accepted as fulfilling the definition of an agricultural worker.
Appersett – November
North Yorkshire County Councillor Blackie asked if there could be a protective mechanism for residents when the Authority wrongly sought an enforcement action – a protective mechanism which would hold those involved to account in public.
He quoted the example of Stable Cottage at Appersett. Hawes and High Abbotside parish council had sent the following statement about this to the Authority:“It considers the YDNPA’s handling of the application of the Lawful Development Certificate … for Stable Cottage, Appersett, was unreasonable, lacked the balance of fairness due to her (the applicant) when making her application, and caused her unnecessary and avoidable stress while awaiting nearly 12 months for the appeal decision in her favour.
“It considers clear and unchallengeable evidence for granting the LDC was presented with her application, and this should have led to it being granted without the need for an Appeal. The parish council notes that once the Appeal was made, there was no challenge to this evidence by the YDNPA, and no interest shown by the YDNPA in defending its position to the Appeal Inspector.”
At the meeting Cllr Blackie stated: “My own view from the outset …was that it was very wrong to refuse this application in the first case. I was incredibly disappointed. The Appeal Inspector says that none of the evidence that was put forward, which clearly and unequivocally described Stable Cottage as an independent dwelling, was challenged by the Authority.”
But last year an officer had, he said, painted a picture of absolute doom and gloom when advising the applicant that her application was unlikely to succeed. “An applicant can end up simply complying with all that the enforcement officer is saying because they don’t know where to turn,” he added.
Cllr Blackie also questioned how the Appeal Inspector had travelled so far only to find that no arrangements had been made for her to view Stable Cottage and no-one was there from the Authority.
He had been told by the Authority that the Appeal Inspector’s email had gone into the spam filter. He observed: “This particular inspector would hardly set off from Bristol without knowing that the arrangements had been made.”
Appletreewick – December
It was agreed that three shepherd huts can be sited on the embankment at the rear of The Craven Arms at Appletreewick.
Peter Charlesworth, who is the chairman of the Authority, said that this was an unobtrusive site and added:“This will provide guest accommodation at the pub in a sustainable, suitable and sensitive way.”
The planning office told the committee that the huts will provide open plan living, with a sleeping area, a wood burning stove and an enclosed toilet cum shower sufficient for a small family.She explained that there was no provision in the present Local Plan for such new types of visitor accommodation but there will be under the new Local Plan, and has already been included in the National Planning Policy Framework.
Arncliffe – April
The fate of the conservatory at Prospect House in Arncliffe still hangs in the balance after a close vote. There were seven votes to five to allow it to remain as built but as that was against the planning officer’s recommendation that will need to be confirmed at the meeting in May.
The planning officer told the committee that an old conservatory, for which planning permission had been granted, had been replaced with a new one. In his opinion the height of the roof especially with so much glazing made it much more visible and so it had a harmful impact upon the Arncliffe conservation area and the surrounding countryside.
He also stated that the roof of the new conservatory detracted from the architectural style and appearance of Prospect House which is a mid-19th century Grade II listed building.
The owner, artist Kitty North, told the committee that the conservatory did not affect the fabric of Prospect House and it’s ridge was 70cm higher than the old one. She explained:“The need for the steeper pitch (was) to ensure that any snow would not cause damage to the structure. The new conservatory follows the pitch of the house roof.”
She said that her new studio and the conservatory worked very well together which was a reflection on the standard of work involved. She added: “One of the jobs of an artist is to create beauty for others to enjoy. The conservatory succeeds in this and hopefully for future generations to enjoy.”
North Yorkshire County Councillor Richard Welch commented that as the difference in roof height was marginal he felt the committee should have a chance to discuss the retrospective application.Several members agreed with North Yorkshire County Councillor Robert Heseltine that the new conservatory was acceptable and did not “offend the eye”. It was pointed out that no residents or the parish council had objected to it.
But Mr Charlesworth stated that the application should be refused. “This is a conspicuous addition (to) a key building in the Arncliffe conservation area. It is too high. The planning officer is saying that something with less visual impact would be acceptable. It’s for the applicant to produce a design which is thought to be acceptable.”
May – Mr Charlesworth repeated his objection at the meeting in May.
The alternative argument was made by North Yorkshire County Councillor Roger Harrison-Topham who pointed out that the conservatory was barely visible and would soon be hidden by bushes.
When it came to the vote there was deadlock and Chris Armitage’s casting vote as chairman went in favour of the planning officer’s recommendation to refuse permission.
December – The promise of a yew tree helped to save the conservatory from being significantly altered or removed.
The committee agreed by a slim majority that the mitigating measures proposed by artist, Kitty North, were acceptable. These included planting a semi-mature yew tree so as to screen views of the conservatory from the village green.
Neither Arncliffe parish meeting nor any of the residents had objected when Ms North replaced an old lean-to conservatory with the present one.
After the vote the head of development management, Richard Graham, said that it would not be necessary to refer the decision back to the committee again even though the officer’s recommendation had not been accepted.
Aysgarth – March
Permission was granted for a shop in the centre of Aysgarth to become a residential property even though the parish council had objected.
The planning officer explained that the owners of the clothes shop had more than fulfilled the advertising procedure required by the Authority to prove that it could not be sold as a commercial business, as it had been on the market at a reasonable price for two and a half years rather than the required six months. The Authority’s Local Plan does allow for the loss of a village shop only if there are exceptional circumstances.
The officer reported: “The policy allows consideration to be given to the importance of the shop to the community; the financial viability of the business; the demand for the premises (established by the advertising procedure); the length of time that it has been advertised; and the length of time it has been in operation.”
He added that the business in Aysgarth had not been operated as a village shop and post office for more than 10 years and as a clothes shop it had not had sufficient customers to be commercially viable.
Cllr Harrison-Topham remarked that insufficient information had been provided to substantiate the claim that the business was unviable. “I am totally baffled as to why, given the long discussion we had about hotels which were in my mind far more clearly way below the line, we should so rapidly come to a conclusion that this application should be granted. To my mind this sort of marketing business (the advertising procedure) is a cock handed way of going about it.”
Speaking In support of the parish council’s objection, Cllr Blackie commented that it was a shame to lose a village shop. He said that when he first became a county councillor it had been a thriving little village shop with a post office.
The parish council had argued that there had been no attempt to make a successful business that would be attractive to a would-be buyer. It did report that there was now a very good village store at Aysgarth garage.
It asked that if permission was granted for the change of use that the property should be subject to a section 106 local occupancy agreement. The planning officer, however, stated that as there was already living accommodation at the premises and that a separate dwelling would not be created a section 106 agreement could not be imposed.
Aysgarth Station – April
Permission was granted for Wensleydale Railways Plc to develop its visitor attraction and car park at the former Aysgarth Station.
Nigel Park, the company’s general director, told the committee that the development would be carried out in phases. This year a railway carriage will be installed to be used as a café and a meeting place, and the the car parking will be extended to provide for 49 cars and two small buses.
By 2017 a short stretch of railway track will have been laid so that visitors can enjoy five-minute train rides for a maximum of 24 times a day. A small diesel engine will be used and this must be switched off between rides so as to limit the amount of pollution.
Originally the company had applied to have the visitor centre open 200 days a year and with spaces for 90 cars. But the Environment Agency objected to this as it did not feel the existing facilities for drainage were sufficient and that pollutants could affect the surrounding Freeholders Wood which is a site of special scientific interest.
To overcome such problems the company will install portable toilets and the diesel engine will be fuelled by a road tanker rather than through the storage of fuel on the site. One of the conditions is that the engine will be stabled over a drip-tray fitted with absorbent sheets.
The centre can be open for 100 days each year with a legal agreement to ensure that the visitor attractions are available after the provision of the additional car parking.
Carperby cum Thoresby parish council was concerned that some of the proposed car parking spaces would be too visible. The company has, therefore, agreed to organise the car parking so that the least visible areas are used first.
Mr Park commented: “We want to be a part of the local community hence our willingness to alter the objectives.”
This, he said, also applied to the buses that would provide a pick up and drop off service from Redmire Station to Aysgarth Station. The parish council had pointed out that the road from Carperby to the station was unsuitable for large coaches.
Mr Park assured the committee that only 30-seater buses would be used and that the company hoped to work closely with the Little White Bus service. “We have no intention of bringing large coaches down Church Bank,” he said.
In response to questions about the impact on the tranquillity of Freeholders Wood, the head of development management said that it was felt that an acceptable balance had been found.
In her report the planning officer noted that the Authority does support the reinstatement of the Wensleydale Railway from Redmire to Aysgarth Station by 2020.
Of the development at Aysgarth Station Mr Park said: “It is a precursor to the return of the railway and that represents an element of our strategy which is to produce some islands along the route.” The objective of the islands is to generate income and interest in the railway and so support the restoration of the rail service.
Mr Park added: “The economics of the site at Aysgarth are such that they are a drain on the resources of the company. That is a serious issue for an organisation that is supported by volunteers and subscriptions so we have to manage the operation carefully. We are looking at ways in which the economics of the site can be improved.”
Beamsley – February
Permission was not granted for a building to be constructed which would be used to restore and maintain nine historic cars.
Cllr Heseltine said the parish meeting supported the application for such a functional, domestic building which would include log and garden machinery stores. He argued that it was a reasonable application as the garden was secluded and screened by trees. The owner had offered to plant additional native shrubs and raise the height of a boundary wall.
The majority of the members, however, agreed with the planning officer that the timber clad building, and especially the two aluminium roller shutter doors, would have a detrimental impact upon the character and appearance of the area.
Mr Charlesworth commented: “I do have concerns about the size of this building. Its use of materials doesn’t seem to me as anything like appropriate, especially those large doors. I don’t think this would be anything other than an incongruous building in a lovely landscape.”
August – This time the planning officer did recommend approval as the owner had agreed to amend the plans. These included moving the building two metres further into the garden and reducing its frontage by a metre. There will be vertically boarded doors instead of roller doors. The majority accepted the officer’s recommendation.
Cllr Blackie disagreed as the dual pitched double gabled building would have a larger footprint that The Cottage. “This is not a domestic application,” he said.
“I had to fight long and hard to get a simple garage in Gayle rebuilt,” and he asked the committee to consider the troubles that normal people living in normal houses went through to get applications approved.
He said that by describing the building as domestic rather than commercial there would be no restriction on the hours that anyone could be working there. He was concerned that there could be “planning creep” especially if the use of the building changed sometime in the future. “It will be a Trojan horse,” he added.
The planning officer said that the owner would have to apply for planning permission for any change of use.
Mr Charlesworth told the committee: “I voted against the application earlier this year because I thought it was out of scale and inappropriate.“In a sense I think we can congratulate ourselves because we did oppose (that application) and that has led to co-operation and a much, much improved result with this building not being as incongruous or as prominent.”
He added: “There are no objections from local people and it’s not going to harm the landscape.”
Carperby – June
It was agreed that an enforcement notice should be served on the Bolton Estate to have a fishing hut removed from a field to the west of Carperby close to the stepping stones over the River Ure.
In a late submission to the Authority the Hon Tom Orde-Powlett of Bolton Estate stated that a stone flag base had now been removed. He asserted that the fishing hut did not amount to a change of use of the land.
The committee, however, accepted the enforcement officer’s advice that the siting of the hut in the field, even if it was mobile, constituted a change of use from agriculture to fishing.The officer explained that the Authority had become aware of the hut on the stone flag base in June 2014. By January 2015 the hut had been fitted with wheels and had been moved a short distance from the base.
Cllr Harrison-Topham asked if there was a gap in policy concerning fishing huts. He pointed out that salmon were once again coming up the River Ure as far as Aysgarth Falls.He said that in Scotland some were paying £500 a day to fish for salmon and for that they expected decent facilities. A fishing hut provided them with somewhere to have lunch, to change into waders, or to take shelter from bad weather.
When the Ure became a proper salmon river that would be the main economic factor of the land alongside it and would be of far greater value than the grazing, he stated. “We need to put our minds to developing a policy which enables people to have fishing huts and enables us to control the way they look,” he added.
Mr Graham explained: “We are quite happy to talk to landowners about proposals for fishing huts and any development which might encourage visitors to the National Park. The process is – talk to us first, to discuss the right design and (to ensure) that it doesn’t harm the landscape.”
The officers and most of the committee felt that this particular fishing hut did harm the landscape.
The appeal against this decision was withdrawn.
Clapham – August
Parish councils must give planning reasons when they either object or support any planning application.
At the planning committee meeting Craven District councillor Carl Lis reported that Clapham cum Newby parish council did support the proposed alterations to Deighton House at Clapham but hadn’t explained why.
The application to replace an uPVC glass conservatory with a stone built and natural slate roofed lean-to garden room was refused because the committee agreed with the planning officer.She had stated that the extension would significantly increase the mass of the dwelling and alter its form considerably, unbalancing the well-proportioned square building form that defined the character of the property.
Garth Jones told the committee that when he and his wife bought the house in 2008 it was covered in pebble-dash and quite ugly.
He said: “We have been very sympathetic to the development of the property and restoring it in such a fashion to bring out the highlights of it.
“We care very deeply about the appearance of the property and commissioned our architect carefully to ensure that we protected the important contribution that this property makes to Riverside and to Clapham as a whole.”
The committee accepted that there would be a planning gain if the conservatory was replaced but felt that Mr and Mrs Jones needed to work with the planning officer to find a better solution.
Coverhead – February
The water supply to those living at Woodale, Coverhead, at the south-western end of Coverdale was a key issue when deciding whether to approve a large development at a farm there.
When proposing that the application for a 36.5m by 28.7m building for a suckler beef herd at Wooddale Farm should be approved Cllr Harrison-Topham said that the animals would use an enormous amount of water. “The existing water supply (at Woodale) is apparently barely satisfactory and I think somehow we need to protect it. The residents should have continuing exclusive use of the existing water supply,” he said.
He was told that the applicant, Mrs Eileen Mawle, had confirmed that the water to the new building would be harvested from roofs and brought from springs not used to supply Woodale, and was assured that the river would be protected from pollution.The cattle building will have under floor slurry tanks so that there should be no uncontrolled run-off to pollute water courses or springs and to reduce the likelihood of smells and flies.
One of the conditions is that internal lighting should be switched off between 7pm and 5am except when a cow is calving. Cllr Harrison-Topham asked that the orange safety lights could be movement triggered rather than being on all night. “Even one of those is pretty unpleasant,” he said as he does live in Coverdale.
He congratulated the officers on bringing a major agricultural application to the committee and hoped they would continue to do so.
Permission was granted for the cattle building, formation of yard areas and a new site access, and for the erection of a general storage agricultural building.
Dent – December
There has been great relief in Dent that someone has come forward to re-develop Risehill Mill and so provide more jobs, Ian McPherson told the committee.
Jocelyn Manners-Armstrong also fully supported the application by Chris O’Connor and Associates to create a microbrewery at the mill with office accommodation, a visitor centre with a café, and a workshop and warehouse unit.
The committee unanimously agreed with them and delegated responsibility for defining the conditions to the head of development management.These will include the times when construction can be carried out and also the hours of working so that there would not be any harmful impact upon residents. It is expected that the microbrewery will be in operation from 8am to 6pm Mondays to Fridays, and that the visitor centre would be open from 11am to 8pm Thursdays to Sundays.
Grassington – February
Springroyd House in Station Road, Grassington can be converted into a dental surgery even though the parish council is unanimously opposed to this change of use due to the lack of space for parking cars.
Grassington parish councillor, Andrew Colley, told the planning committee: “Grassington parish council wants to make available to all residents in the locality the services that they need and amongst the obvious ones is the dental practice. It is very, very important to us. It is however in the opinion of Grassington parish council that parking in the village is extremely limited.”
He added that Grassington Dental Care surgery had over 7,000 clients and he calculated that there could be 20 or more visiting it every hour. The surgery will be just 20 metres from a very busy junction.
Other members of the planning committee, however, said that many dental surgeries provided no spaces for car parking. There will be space for parking three cars and a turning area at the rear of Springroyd House.
Dr Thomas Songhurst assured the committee that annual passes would be bought for the staff so that they could park in the YDNPA car park.
He said that the number of services available at Grassington Medical Centre had grown considerably and more space was required. At Springroyd House there will be rooms for four dentists, a waiting room, staff toilet and changing room, an office, reception and a toilet suitable for those who are disabled.
Grassington – August
The committee agreed that an empty ground floor premises in The Square at Grassington can be used for both retail and as a café.
The majority of councillors at Grassington parish council had objected to the application as they felt the addition of a café would be inconsistent with the nature of other businesses in The Square.
Some business owners believed there were sufficient eating establishments in Grassington already and that another café would saturate the market.
The planning officer noted that there will be no alterations to the external appearance of the Grade II listed building and that the ground floor premises had been vacant for eight months. The objective, he said, was to create a “vintage” tearoom serving afternoon teas, cakes and sandwiches in 40 per cent of the floor space.
The new owners, who intend to have a “baking theme” throughout the premises, had confirmed that no additional waste bins would be required.
Mr Colley asked what would happen if there was a problem with waste bins. The planning officer replied that would be an issue for environmental health.
Grassington – September
A housing association which was due to take the 20 per cent share in a recently built affordable house at Grassington has withdrawn due to the uncertainty surrounding Government policy a planning officer told the committee.
Cynthia Colley, who owns the house with her husband, Andrew, stated: “Following our experience it’s doubtful if any of the other small two unit size (developments) – including those in the National Park’s housing development plan – will be developed. It is just not financially viable.”
Mr Colley, who is a Grassington parish councillor and a member of the planning committee, left the room during the debate.
After he and his wife had offered a site next door to their home in Grasswood Lane, Grassington, the two houses built there were among the first to be completed under the YDNPA’s 2012 housing development plan. There are Section 106 legal agreements on both houses to ensure that they remain available to local people. But on one there is an additional S106 agreement requiring that the sale price does not exceed 80 per cent of the market value of the property, with the remaining share being transferred to a housing association.
The Colleys had taken the unusual step of making an informal request to modify this additional legal agreement in order to get advice because they had not been able to sell the house since it was completed in October 2014 and no longer had the support of a housing association.
Several committee members pointed out that they had not been given sufficient information to make a decision and this led to the application being refused.
One of the questions they had concerned the legal agreement. Jocelyn Manners-Armstrong, who is a board member of a housing association, stated: “If the 20 per cent property holder has withdrawn then the Section 106 agreement cannot be fulfilled. I think it has to go back to the drawing board.”
Senior legal officer, Clare Bevan, explained that the Authority would need to explore other ways to secure it as an affordable home.
Cllr Marshall warned that there were others who wanted such legal agreements to be lifted. “We need to be exceptionally careful. I think far more time should be given before an application like this comes before us. If we were to give way on this… it would set such a dangerous precedent for us and for our local development plan.”
Cllr Roger Harrison-Topham, commented: “I find this an almost incomprehensible mess. There isn’t sufficient information. I don’t feel the planning committee is a good place to sort out a very difficult situation.
“We as an Authority have been trying to persuade people to make land available for affordable housing and when someone does I think we have a responsibility towards them. And the responsibility is particularly acute when the provider is an individual.”
He was supported by Cllr Blackie who said: “People who invested in the ideals we put forward in our local plans in 2005 and 2012 are trying to deliver local occupancy. They played along with our rules and it is not their fault that the Government’s position now has left them completely in the middle of nowhere.
“I think the circumstances are unique. The uniqueness is in the absolute dog’s breakfast that current housing policy is as promoted by the Conservatives.”
He reported that, if the Government went ahead with new Right to Buy legislation without providing any exemptions for small rural communities, over 60 houses for rent in perpetuity in Askrigg, Bainbridge and Hawes could be sold. As it would not be possible to replace them such communities would never again see houses available at affordable rents for local people he added.
In December the Colleys made an informal request to the Authority to modify the S106 agreement on one of the two houses next to their home in Grasswood Lane. Mr Colley again left the room while this was discussed.
The agreement required that the house, West Ings, would have been either let or sold at an affordable price to someone who fulfilled the local connection requirement. This was to be organised by a Registered Provider.
Mrs Colley told the committee: “We are legally unable to sell West Ings because the Registered Provider dropped out.”
One of the problems was the Government’s intention to extend the Right to Buy scheme to housing association tenants. Craven District Councillor Carl Lis commented that the government’s housing policy was a complete mess at the moment and this had led to other developers being unable to find housing associations (Registered Providers) to take responsibility for affordable houses.
Cllr Blackie agreed and said: “I think Mr and Mrs Colley …are victims of adverse circumstances in many ways not of their own making.” Like others he pointed out that, with S106 agreements, there would still be two local occupancy houses for perpetuity.
Cllr Harrison-Topham felt that the Authority should take some moral responsibility for the way such development schemes were run. “We are in effect sponsoring these schemes and we are not accepting any responsibility. As a result I think we have to take a more pragmatic view.”
Even though Councillors Marshall and Welch warned about how the decision would be perceived the majority agreed to the request to modify the original agreement.This was against the recommendation of the officer but the decision was not referred back as it was an informal request and not a planning application.
Grassington – September – Enforcement
The committee agree that enforcement action should be taken against the owner of a caravan at Fletchers Brow near Grassington.
“This is an absolute flagrant breach of development control,” commented Mr McPherson after hearing how a caravan which was capable of residential use had been sited on a newly created raised surface and a fence had been erected so that there would be a private area around it.
The enforcement officer reported that a substantial amount of earth had been excavated from the hill to create a level surface. A stone retaining wall had then been erected to retain the earth embankment and an area covered by aggregate.The access from Mill Lane had been covered with aggregate along with the formation of a new track 22.5 metres in length and 3.5 metres in width leading part way to the caravan.
As all this had been done without planning permission the enforcement notice will be for the removal of the caravan, a container, and the fence within one month and the removal of the track and embankment and the infilling and reseeding of the excavated area within six months.
(An appeal has been made.)
Grassington – November
Planning permission has been granted for a car parking area within the garden of Ellesmere in Garrs End Lane, Grassington, even though the parish council believed that the new entrance would not be wide enough.
Mr Colley asked if the planning committee could hold a site meeting to get a better understanding of the narrow lane in relation to the proposed entrance.“There is not room to manoeuvre on that road – it is only wide enough for one car,” he said and added that the parish council believed that the entrance should be made wider by removing more of the stone wall.
But the committee decided it did have sufficient information to make a decision without holding a site meeting – and decided in favour of the applicants.
Grassington – December – Enforcement
An extraction flue at Grassington House Hotel in Grassington was described as an abomination by Cllr Heseltine.
The committee unanimously agreed that a listed building enforcement notice should be served on the owner for the removal of the extraction and air intake units and repair the stone masonry within three months.
The YDNPA enforcement officer reported that the owner was aware that planning consent was required for the installation of a new extraction system because negotiations concerning another flue had been on-going since November 2008. That flue was replaced with the present unit in January 2015.
“It is apparent following discussions with the owner and the engineers responsible for fitting the flue that there are much more sensitive solutions available,” she said.
Gunnerside – December
A garage can be built to replace a tin sheeted lean-to building attached to Stotter Gill Cottage adjacent to Oxnop Gill.
The committee heard that the owner of Stotter Gill Cottage no longer objected as the applicants who live at Oxnop Gill had agreed to reduce the size of the garage. They had given assurances that although the building would also be used to store tack no horses would be stabled in it.
Hawes – June
After a lengthy discussion about the design of the proposed new signage at the Dales Countryside Museum the majority of the committee approved the application for eight fascia signs and two free standing signs.
Hawes and High Abbotside parish council had objected to the application and especially to the proposed large white lettering across the long wall of the museum.
Hawes – October
The parish council and several businesses also objected strongly to there being a café at the Dales Countryside Museum. But approval was given and it is likely that there will be one there by the spring of 2016.
This will be a franchise arrangement with the YDNPA and the café will be large enough to cater for a coach party. There will be free access to the café via the museum’s main entrance and the shop.
Richmondshire District Councillor Carolyn Thornton-Berry commented that although she approved of the idea she felt that the Authority had to be careful as it was so close to the issue. A YDNPA staff member had made the application and the argument for having the café was put forward by Kathryn Beardmore, the Authority’s director of park services.
Local businessman, Bob Belton, was not convinced that the Authority had been transparent in its handling of the application. He told the committee that when he asked for a copy of a survey of visitors at the museum in September he was told it was not in the public domain. Richard Graham, head of development management, agreed with Cllr Blackie that Mr Belton should have been allowed to see the survey.
Mr Belton said he was speaking on behalf of four businesses, three young people who thought their jobs were at risk, and six residents who felt the café would be detrimental to Hawes. Like Hawes and High Abbotside parish council they feared that it would become a town of two ends with both the Wensleydale Creamery and the Museum offering sufficient visitor attractions and hospitality at its extremities to make it unnecessary to visit the centre.
Mr Belton explained that in the half mile from the Museum to the Creamery there were 22 places selling hot and cold drinks of which seven were cafés and tea rooms. Although he was critical of the figures provided by the planning officer he did agree that there had been a considerable drop in the number of people visiting Hawes and the Museum since 2009. He argued that a café at the museum building would lead to even fewer people walking into the town centre.
He pointed out that neither the James Herriot Museum at Thirsk nor the Green Howards Museum at Richmond had cafés and added: “The Green Howards said that a tea room would be detrimental to their town.” He also cited the example of Aysgarth where he had witnessed that most visitors used the cafés at the car parks on the north and south side of the river, but very few went to the tea room at the bridge.“
I strongly believe that opening a café at the museum will be detrimental to the businesses in town and some may end up ceasing to trade,” he said.
Cllr Lis, however, stated: “In my experience the majority of reasonable size museums do have a café.”
He agreed with Ms Beardmore that the café would increase the financial viability of the National Park Authority. She described it as a new business opportunity and said that there had been local interest in the franchise.
Both Mrs Beardmore and Ruth Annison told the committee that some of the elderly visitors who came with coach parties were not able to walk into town from the Station Yard.
Mrs Annison asked the Authority to ensure that nothing was done to hinder the railway business as it was hoped to re-open the railway line sometime in the future. There will be some seating for the café on the platform.
She added that many of the comments at the parish council concerned how the café would compete with businesses in the town. Mr Graham agreed with her that competition between businesses was not a planning consideration.
He explained: “The issue is about whether (the café) will have a significant impact upon the vitality and the viability of Hawes as a service and retail centre.” He added that the café could be open from 8am to 6pm each day, or even until 9pm if there was an evening function, because it was sufficiently distant from residential properties.
Other businesses could apply to extend their hours and each application would be considered on a case by case basis to assess the impact upon the amenity of neighbours, he said.
Cllr Blackie told the committee he would abstain from voting as he owned a café in Hawes. He went on to present the arguments made by the parish council of which he is the chairman. In addition to the points made by Mr Belton the parish council was concerned that the new café would have an unfair advantage due to elements of subsidy.
These included being next to the YDNPA’s large car park and not having to provide toilets. Its customers could either use the public ones at Station Yard or have access to those in the building if they had paid for access to the Museum. The parish council had also pointed out that many years ago the Authority had promised that there would be no catering facility at the Museum.
Several committee members said that if the application had been made by anyone not connected with the Authority there would not have been any problem with approving it. The majority agreed with Mrs Beardmore that the café would not only increase the viability of the YDNPA and visitor satisfaction at the Museum, but also lead to an increase in the number of people visiting Hawes as a whole.
At the November meeting Hawes and High Abbotside parish council presented this statement to the Authority:
“It was very disappointed to note the unanimous decision (other than Cllr John Blackie) to approve the application for a café at the Dales Countryside Museum, contrary to the response of the parish council, and to hear that results of a rushed survey purporting to be of visitors to the DCM were only available the day before the planning committee meeting, were not circulated to members of the planning committee, or copies made available to members of the public attending the meeting itself, and to hear that an objector (Mr R Belton) who took up the opportunity to speak at the planning committee was denied access by the YDNPA to these results ahead of the meeting. It understands Mr Belton has complained to the Chief Executive, David Butterworth, and supports wholeheartedly his complaint.”
Hawes – October
An application for an extra care housing scheme at Turfy Top near the Wensleydale Creamary was unanimously refused by the committee.
One of the reasons Cllr Blackie gave for turning down the application was that a new site for an extra care home, close to the Medical Centre, had become available.
“We want an extra care housing scheme but we want it in the right location, and the right location is not Turfy Top. It is a huge hill for elderly people or even sprightly middle aged people to ascend from the town centre,” he said.
He added that there was a gap in the footpath along that route, and that the site at Turfy Top was only large enough for single bedroom apartments. “All new extra care housing schemes need two bedroom facilities – that is the latest standard,” he explained.
He told the committee that Hawes and High Abbotside parish council was unanimously opposed to the Turfy Hill site. Its reasons included that Turfy Hill was too far from the Medical Centre, the flood risk at the site, the possibility of further overloading the sewage system, and the detrimental impact upon the landscape and neighbouring properties.
Cllr Blackie also argued that the county council’s health and adult services division would not support an extra care home at Turfy Top.
In his statement to the committee 92-year-old Graham Watts said that he and his wife Mary, as the applicants, had had an on-site consultation with the county council’s head of extra care and its project coordinator. Both had confirmed that the county council would be happy to undertake an elderly person development at Turfy Top.
The Watts’s plan for a 40-unit extra care home with all necessary ancillaries was supported by the predominant neighbour – the Youth Hostel Association. The home would have had its own medical consulting room.
Mr Watts said that residents of Lancaster Terrace would have been offered sufficient land, free of any land cost, to provide off-road car parking and enough space to enlarge their back yards to make gardens. The former would have contributed to road safety by reducing the number of vehicles parked along the road.
He argued that there was adequate space for tree-planting on both the north side and the entrance area, and that the building would be on a similar scale and alignment as the Youth Hostel.
Mr Watts added: “The site is readily accessible to the town – the excellent Little White Bus service would get even partially disabled people to the town centre in three to four minutes. There is no flood-risk. All storm water can be absorbed into the site by adequate design.
“This is a major opportunity to provide the town with a facility already urgently required by many elderly folk and their families and would release many homes to the market.
“The site is secluded but a natural part of the urban area. It is capable of offering residents quiet enjoyment of a location they can be proud of. I submit that a better site than Turfy Top does not exist. The need is urgent and, as we are all living longer, becomes more urgent than ever.”
Healaugh – July
Harold Brown, who had just returned as a member of the Authority after suffering a stroke in January, supported Cllr Blackie in an attempt to life the S106 local occupancy agreement on the one-bedroom Martin’s Cottage at Healaugh.
The committee saw a photograph which showed that the bedroom was hardly big enough for a double bed plus the small bed for the two-years-old son of Ian and Charlotte Pybus. Cllr Blackie argued that policy of one size fits all should be put to aside when there were such exceptional personal circumstances.
The couple had told the committee that there had been no viewings since the converted barn had been put on the market one and a half years ago as the S106 local occupancy condition had put people off. If they reduced the price further they would be in negative equity and would not be able to continue living in Swaledale and supporting the local school.
“They are prisoners in that cottage. We must have compassion and understanding,” Cllr Blackie said. He added: “This isn’t a money making exercise – this is a life changing opportunity for the Pybuses.”
Some of the committee questioned whether such a one-bedroom cottage was suitable for a local occupancy condition. But Mr Graham stated that in 2007 when permission was granted for the barn conversion a survey had shown that 12 people in Swaledale were interested in one-bedroom accommodation. To that Cllr Blackie asked where was the precedent if there were very, very few one-bedroom properties with S106 agreements.
The majority of the committee, however, believed that they should adhere to policy, especially as the legal officer had advised that no legal weight could be given as yet to the emerging Local Plan. That plan will allow people to choose to have a S106 local occupancy agreement on a new barn conversion, or pay a commuted sum so that it could be sold later on the open market.
Mr Charlesworth said that the present policy of having all new conversions restricted to local occupancy was because they were desperate to keep young people and families in the Dales. Cllr Robert Heseltine argued that they had to be consistent and that if they lifted the S106 on Martin’s Cottage it would deny another young family an opportunity of having affordable accommodation.
Neil Heseltine, a Malham parish councillor, agreed. He stated: “I have every sympathy with the Pybuses. But I think what is very important is that generation after generation of local families also get the opportunity and I think if we remove the S106 then it reduces the likelihood of any subsequent occupants whose children will attend the local primary school.”
Mr Brown, like Cllr Blackie, felt that the S106 agreement on Martin’s Cottage had served its purpose and was likely to lead to a young family leaving Swaledale. Cllr Blackie pointed out that Gunnerside School now had only seven pupils, and Reeth had 37 – a drop of over 50 per cent in 15 years.
Charlotte Pybus was as tears as she, her husband and son left the meeting following the committee’s refusal to lift the S106.
Discussion of the application was deferred at the June meeting because there were no representatives of Richmondshire District Council at the meeting following the recent elections. This meant that appointments to the YDNPA committees would not take place until the end of June.
For that reason, in line with what had happened in previous years Cllr Blackie asked that any decision about Martin’s Cottage should be deferred.
But Secretary of State appointee Jocelyn Manners-Armstrong stated: “We are all here in our capacity to act in the best interests of the nation for the Park and it is not a representative role as such.”
Cllr Heseltine agreed with her and added: “We do not represent – we are appointed.”
He said that if that decision was deferred then all the others would have to be as well. “In my opinion the proper procedure is to proceed,” he stated.
It was pointed out by Cllr Richard Welch that members would not be able to get legal advice on the issue as no legal officer was present.
Mr Graham advised: “It’s up to members to decide whether you feel you’ve got sufficient information in front of you to allow you to make a decision – or whether you take the view that you should include the representations from members who have greater knowledge of the local area and issues.”
Both Cllr Blackie and Cllr Harrison-Topham argued that it was important that the applicants, Ian and Charlotte Pybus, felt that they had been given a fair hearing.“We need to have a fair balance of representation given the importance of the decision to their future,” Cllr Blackie said.
When it came to the vote three voted for deferral and three were against, with three abstentions. The chairman, Chris Armitage, then voted for deferral stating that he felt it was an unusual case and that he accepted what Cllr Blackie had said about lack of representation.
Mr Colley told the committee that he had to declare an interest because he had applied for a variation of the S106 agreement on a recently built property that he owned.
Ingleton – September – Enforcement
Enforcement action must be taken swiftly to stop an unauthorised “settlement” at Storrs Common, Ingleton, becoming even larger, Cllr Lis warned the committee.
The enforcement officer had asked for approval of an enforcement notice with a compliance period of two months for the removal of a caravan cum cabin in the disused quarry adjacent to the B6255. The quarry is in a very visible location and is used as a car park by walkers as it is close to a route to the summit of Ingleborough.
Both Cllr Lis and Craven District Councillor David Ireton questioned giving the owner two months to move the cabin which he is using as his permanent home.
Cllr Lis said: “We need to stop it as soon as we possibly can. The ‘settlement’ – if you may call it that – it is getting bigger and bigger. There is evidence of further buildings going up. There’s no sign of him doing anything other than staying there.”
In support of reducing the compliance period to one month Mr Charlesworth pointed out that on June 4 the occupant had been given 28 days to remove the caravan. At that time he was advised that Craven District Council’s housing services could assist with finding him somewhere to live.
On July 2 a 21-day deadline had been agreed with the occupant for the removal of the cabin which had, by then, been separated from the truck. And in August a letter was delivered in person to the occupant offering seven days for the removal of the cabin and associated equipment.
The committee unanimously agreed that the enforcement notice should be complied with within one month.
Ingleton Quarry – November
The committee agreed that extraction work at Ingleton Quarry can continue until May 2020. But no-one knew whether or not Hanson Quarry Products Europe Ltd might later apply for another extension.
When asked if the gritstone being extracted from Ingleton Quarry was of such national importance that the Authority should grant an extension until 2020 David Parrish, the Authority’s minerals officer, said:“I would argue that it isn’t a national need but the company would disagree and that would have to be tested at a public inquiry with both sides expressing their views.”
He explained that due to technical problems on the south west side of the quarry extraction of gritstone would cease in 2016, two years earlier than planned. By moving waste from a tip and placing it in the base of the quarry the south west side could be re-aligned allowing for extraction to continue until 2020.
Planning permission was required to allow that and also the re-alignment of the quarry boundary wall as the existing permitted extraction area would be exceeded. All the work would, however, remain inside the quarry footprint.
Ben Ayres, representing Hanson, told the committee that 17 jobs would be secured by allowing work to continue at the quarry until 2020. He said the gritstone was used principally by Lancashire and North Yorkshire county councils for surface dressing of roads.The company would discuss with Ingleton parish council the development of a sleep zone to ensure that heavy goods vehicles (HGV) didn’t pass through the village before 6.00 and that it would contribute towards highways improvements such as a new footway and repairing manhole covers.
It would also set up formal quarry liaison meetings to improve communications with residents. Those living nearby have raised concerns about the impact of blasting upon their homes.The company agreed with the parish council that starting vehicle movements later each morning will have a detrimental impact upon the community at the beginning of the school day.
As there will now be no HGV traffic on Saturdays the planning committee agreed that the parish council should be re-consulted about the starting times for transport movements on weekdays. “The key issue here is to minimise the disturbance to Ingleton village,” said Mr Parrish.
There will be no change to the working hours at the quarry as the company had argued that any reduction would have a disproportionately harmful impact upon the business. The recommended working hours are between 6.30 and 17.30 on weekdays and from 6.30 to 12.00 on Saturdays.
When asked about the amount of gritstone that would be transported by rail Mr Parrish said this would remain the same, and explained that the problem was not loading it at Ribblehead but distributing it from the depot at Leeds.
He added that the company did want to discuss with the National Park the possibility of moving from the Ingleton quarry to that at Horton. There were considerable reserves of the gritstone at Horton quarry and rail haulage could be increased. The level of employment would also be retained, he said.
Mr Colley commented that the efforts of Threshfield Quarry Trust to attract other businesses had shown that the closure of a quarry did not always mean a loss of employment.“It is a change of employment – and when quarries finish they can be regenerated and can be wonderful for wildlife and can have an awful lot of benefits,” he added.
When extraction at Ingleton Quarry does finish it is intended that a deep lake will be created with the remainder of the site being restored to grassland and woodland. The site is already screened by trees and a bund.
Kettlewell – April
Ponies can be kept on an iconic field in Kettlewell and a field shelter can be erected there even though many residents and the parish council appealed to the planning committee not to give permission.
The chairman of Kettlewell with Starbotton parish council, David Belk, told the committee: “There has been such an overwhelming response from parishioners in the last week – they do not want anything built in this field.”
He added that until such time as the field – Maypole Croft – was designated as an important open space the application for the change of use of the land should be denied. Another resident, Jack Heseltine, said that the field could be destroyed by over grazing.
He pointed out that the owners had stated at a parish council meeting that the field was not big enough for their two ponies. According to the Equine Trust these will need 2.5 acres whereas there is just 0.825 of an acre at Maypole Croft.
There was concern that the field was next to the village playground used by both local children and visiting school parties. He asked:“What will happen when children kick the ball over and go to retrieve it and they are confronted by unknown ponies which are unsupervised by the owners? Will the next move be that a dwelling will be needed on the site so they can supervise the ponies?”
Cllr Harrison-Topham also wondered if there was a “Trojan Horse” element to the application.
Andrew Colley reported that the late John Roberts supported the parish council’s view. Mr Colley added: “I can’t think of a worse place for horses and ponies. It is iconic. It is right next to the maypole near the centre of the village and it’s the view that everybody gets when they walk down the village. Let’s not spoil it.”
The planning officer’s report was quoted by Cllr Marshall as she felt it made the case for refusing the application. This stated that the field provided an open backdrop to The Green and the maypole as well as making a significant contribution to the wider quality of the conservation area, affording important views into and out of the historic core of the village.
The planning officer, however, told the committee that the owners did not need planning permission to graze ponies on the field. The application for change of use and to erect a field shelter, therefore, gave the Authority the opportunity to have more control.
When the majority voted to approve the application Cllr Marshall asked that strict conditions should be imposed. These will mean that no jumps, old tyres or any other equipment can be placed in the field, cars cannot be parked there, and there must be no muck heaps. There can be no outside storage except behind the shelter.
Kettlewell – April – Enforcement
An enforcement notice will be served on the owner of 2 Town Head in Kettlewell for the removal of hard standing for parking and for the area to be re-grassed.
The committee was told that the area had been registered by the owner of 2 Town Head as in his ownership. But until the autumn of 2012 Kettlewell with Starbotton parish council had paid contractors to mow the grass there on a monthly basis. Until that time the area had the character and appearance of a village green or common land.
The enforcement officer had been negotiating with the owner of 2 Town Head since late 2012 after the parish council complained about a hard standing surface being laid to create a parking space. The owner claimed that the area was part of the curtilage.
The enforcement officer noted that such permitted development could only take place if the area had been used for residential purposes by 2 Town Head for ten years.
As there was evidence that this had been a communal area until 2012 the creation of the hard standing for car parking for 2 Town Head had, she said, triggered a material change in use. She stated: “Both the use of the land for ancillary residential purposes and the creation of the hard standing are unauthorised.”
She added: “To date no evidence has been submitted to the Authority to demonstrate that this land has either a functional or historical connection to 2 Town Head for it to be considered to form part of the curtilage of the dwelling.”
The land had also been included in an area of Important Open Space in Kettlewell and so development was not permitted if that would result in the loss, or significant harm to, the character of it.
“The arrangement of the pre-1851 buildings around an open ‘green’ at Town Head produces an attractive and characterful space within the village. The open quality of the space, its undeveloped (grass), informal appearance and communal character are important elements of an important part of the village,” she said.
(The applicant has appealed this decision)
Kettlewell – Brightwaters
At the May meeting approval was given for an enforcement notice for the removal of a patio and railings at Brightwaters. In 2006 planning permission was granted for a barn beside Kettlewell Beck to be converted into a local occupancy home with limited curtilage so that there would be little impact upon that part of the village. The patio was constructed in 2012.
The owners subsequently made a planning application which was discussed at the December meeting. That application was deferred to allow time to obtain an independent report as to whether the concrete barrier and patio was providing protection from flooding.
Matthew Koslow, on behalf of his parents, told the committee that the structure was a retaining wall which did protect the building, and that the railings were need to ensure the safety of anyone there, especially children. The Koslow’s had lodged an appeal against the enforcement notice.
See the February 2016 YDNPA planning committee report.
Kirkby Malham – September
Approval was given for a single storey rear extension to West Bank Farm at Kirkby Malham, despite a Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority planning officer maintaining that it would undermine the character of the Grade II listed building.
South Lakeland District Councillor Brenda Gray, stated: “I do think it’s a bit nit-picky to say that it isn’t suitable.”
And Ian McPherson commented: “Prior to the site visit I was inclined to refuse permission. I had the impression from the officer’s report that this was a substantial addition to the property. In fact it’s really quite small and so not overly dominant nor incongruous as the planning officer suggested.”
The applicant’s architect, Barry Birch, told the committee that the single storey link from a family room to the rear hall of the house would be only an extension of five per cent to the existing building. As it could not be seen from any public views there would be no adverse impact and no distinguishing features of the house would be obliterated.
He added: “By comparison a property in West Burton was granted an extension the size of a moderate house in front of the original vernacular longhouse which although not listed is a significant piece of architecture in the dales landscape.”
Cllr Harrison-Topham said that 25 years ago permission had been granted by a YDNPA planning committee for a similar extension to his own house. “If I was to do anything other than recommend acceptance of this I will be one of the world’s greatest hypocrites,” he told the committee, and added:“I think the argument against this is overdone. I don’t think there’s detrimental visual harm to the building.”
Mr Charlesworth agreed with him but was concerned that there were two procedures running in parallel – the planning application and a listed building application which had been refused under delegated authority and which was now the subject of an appeal.
Mr Graham explained: “If members grant planning permission for the extension then one would hope that the applicant would withdraw the appeal because you are always in danger of the inspector taking a different view to the planning authority. We would assume they would then resubmit an application for listed building consent which would be taken in light of the committee’s decision.”
As the majority voted in favour of approving the extension Mr Graham said that the decision would not need to be referred back even though the planning officer had recommended refusal.
Kirkby Malham – October
Dark anodised aluminium rather than wooden doors can be installed in the summer house at Clock Cottage in Kirkby Malham. The committee agreed to this even though Kirkby Malhamdale parish council had objected.
The parish council opposed this variation to an existing planning approval because it felt that aluminium bi-fold doors were not in keeping with the Grade II listed building. It stated: “All existing windows and doors on this historic property are of timber or wood construction.”
The planning officer, however, said: “Aluminium is in keeping with the distinctly contemporary design.”
He reported that the summer house was low key on the site and little was visible close to the original cottage. He added: “This finish to the framework would ensure that the sunroom would remain a visually understated modern addition to the building group, which would not detract from the character of the host property or the village setting.”
Langcliffe – February
The owners of a house in Main Street, Langcliffe have three months in which to screen the lantern roof of an extension – and the work must be carried out in strict accordance with the plans approved by the planning committee.
In February 2012 the owner was unsuccessful in an appeal against an enforcement notice for the removal of the extension. The planning officer told the committee: “Since that date the Authority has delayed taking further formal enforcement action in an attempt to resolve the matter amicably.”
This, he said, had been achieved by agreeing that a road side wall should be raised by 80cm using matching local limestone to screen the lantern. A large planter box which had been placed on top of the present wall will be removed.
Cllr Welch proposed that the retrospective application for the extension should be refused and stated: “This has been turned down, appealed, turned down, enforcement to remove – it goes on and on. In my opinion the fresh application hasn’t changed anything. This is a conservation area (and) it’s next to the village green. The whole point is – it should never have been there in the first place.
“The planning policy seeks to promote and reinforce local distinctiveness. Any extensions should respect the architectural integrity (of the area). Are we in period when any developments can have high walls to hide developments?”
The majority,however, agreed with Mr Colley that as the application was the result of negotiation between both parties they should accept the officer’s recommendation to approve.
Low Row – December
Approval was given for a barn near Low Row to be converted into a bunk barn to be used by school groups and DofE expeditions no more than 24 times each year.
The committee had refused a similar application in October 2014 because it was felt that it would have a negative impact upon those using the adjoining Turnip House and that there was insufficient evidence that any groups staying there would be effectively supervised. There were also concerns about unmanaged car parking on the common land outside the barn.
The planning officer this time recommended approval because:the number of group bookings had been considerably reduced; the length of stay limited to no more than two nights with a member of Hazel Brow Farm staff always there to supervise any group; and that sound insulation would be installed on the wall adjoining Turnip House.
The committee was told that any minibus bringing the groups to the Dales will park in Low Row and the school children will walk to the barn.
Alistair Lewis, speaking on behalf of the owners of Turnip House, asked if all the children would be able to walk up such a steep track. He argued that the application by Cath Calvert of Hazel Brow Farm was still contrary to the Authority’s existing and emerging policies which allowed for the creation of bunk barns if they were within a group of buildings and beside a road.
He also felt there was still the likelihood that groups could be at the barn when members of the family which owned Turnip House were there. Mrs Calvert, however, stated that groups would be there on educational visits during school time and not during school holidays.
She told the committee: “We are not doing it because we are going to make lots of money – we are doing it because we feel passionate about sharing that special environment.”
Cllr Blackie was fully in support of the application. His amendment that DofE groups could also, under the same supervision, use the bunk barn was approved.
Harold Brown reminded the members that many of the traditional barns, which are such an iconic feature of the Yorkshires Dales, were falling down as there was no use for them.“This is going to protect this barn and give it another life,” he said and added that it was good for the barn, good for the young people who would stay there and so be in line with the National Park’s policy to encourage people to visit the Dales.
He explained that very few farms in Swaledale and Arkengarthdale now had dairy herds and were only just getting by. But it was the farmers who were maintaining the landscape and the walls.
The chairman of the committee, Chris Armitage, stated he wanted more children from the cities to have the opportunity to enjoy the beauty of the countryside and to understand how farming contributed to their lives.
Malham – May
A plea by Kirkby Malhamdale parish council to protect the village from what it described as an inappropriate development was not accepted by the committee.
Pat Wherity, on behalf of the parish council, told the committee: “I have heard today that the National Park Authority has a duty to conserve and enhance. I heard you say that if nobody else will protect it you have to.”
On that basis both he and Stuart Gledhill felt that the committee should reject the application for five houses to be built at Cherry Tree Croft. Three will be rural discount homes and the other two will be affordable rented homes.
Mr Wherity and Mr Gledhill were disappointed that the committee did not accept the request by Cllr Marshall to hold a site meeting at Cherry Tree Croft. “I don’t think you can really get an impression of what this place is like from the slides,” commented Mr Wherity.
He argued that the scale and size of the development was too large compared to the buildings nearby and explained that it was the green spaces which gave Malham its distinctive character. “This will remove one of the key green spaces and replace it with a domineering pattern of ribbon development along Finkle Street with housing more suitable for an urban environment.”
This, he said, would be exacerbated by having the houses too close to the road and so creating a tunnel effect disproportionate and contradictory to the style of the village.
The parish council and almost all of the residents were united in their objection to the application, he added. Their reasons included the substantial increase in traffic along what to them was already a dangerous, narrow road.
Mr Gledhill compared putting five houses on that site to sardines in a tin. This, he said, was a totally inappropriate development which would set a precedent for spoiling iconic villages in the National Park. “This is one of the most iconic villages – you are the custodians and guardians – you should not let this happen,” he told the committee.
The planning officer had recommended approval of the development as a rural-exception site. The parish council did not agree with her that the development would fulfil the requirements of the National Planning Policy Framework.These are that it should respond to the local character and history, and reflect the identity of the local surroundings and materials as well as being visually attractive as a result of good architecture and appropriate landscaping.
Mr Gledhill also argued that the site did not fulfil two out of three of the criteria for such a rural-exception site as it was not adjacent to the development boundary, and there was no longer sufficient evidence of the need for affordable housing in Malham.
Over two years ago the parish council with Craven District Council had surveyed the village and found there was a need. But since then that need had diminished, he said, leaving just one local couple wanting such housing.
Caroline Sunter, speaking on behalf of the agent, told the committee that they had spent a lot of time with planning officers and had made changes to the design as requested. The development had the support of both the highway authority and the district council. She added that it was the only site at present available for affordable housing in Malham.
Cllr Marshall, however, stressed that Malham was one of the jewels in the crown in the National Park and, like the parish council, she believed this development would be inappropriate. She said that the design of the houses was urbanised and they would become a dominating feature in an area of old cottages.
“I don’t believe this would be considered for approval if it wasn’t being viewed as an exception site. I think the approval of local housing for a need is leaving a legacy of a totally inappropriate design of housing in that village in perpetuity,” she said.
Mr Charlesworth observed that the committee was in a no-win situation. “We are desperate to do what we can to keep young people and young families in the Dales and indeed to attract them by providing low cost affordable housing wherever possible.
“It is clear that the parish council and local residents do not want this development. But we do have this need for affordable housing for local young people.” He added that he felt it was a sensitive design and would be highly appropriate.
Mr Colley disagreed and stated that the development would be like the modern-looking houses which had recently been built at Grassington that failed miserably to blend in with the surrounding countryside. He was one of the three who voted against approving the application.
At the November meeting the committee heard that the registered provider – Home Housing – had pulled out from an agreement to take ownership of the two houses for rent and to be responsible for the three others described as affordable intermediate houses.
The Authority therefore needed a fall-back mechanism to ensure that the houses would remain affordable for local people in perpetuity. This mechanism, approved at the meeting, will be that all five can be affordable intermediate houses verified by Craven District Council through the National Park Authority, if no registered provider can be found.
Andrew Colley asked if the Authority could have a valuation carried out at the planning stage to ensure that the construction cost of a housing development was not more than its end value. “We as a planning authority require houses to be built to our high specification to fit in with places like Malham. But these houses are very expensive to build. So we don’t want any developer falling into the trap… of building something which ends up not being affordable. I know we have no legal obligation.. to do a viability study – but I think it is morally right that we should,” he said.
Cllr Marshall quoted the example of a builder who went bankrupt when constructing affordable houses in the National Park as neither he nor those interested in buying the homes could get mortgages.
But the head of development management, Richard Graham, replied: “Development is a risky business – that is their responsibility.”
Cllr Marshall, like North Yorkshire County Councillor Roger Harrison-Topham and Ian MacPherson, believed that permission should not have been granted for the housing development at Cherry Tree Croft as the parish council and residents had so vigorously opposed the application.
“We got it wrong. I hope any members who voted in favour of the application last time will have second thoughts,” said Cllr Harrison-Topham.
Cllr Blackie warned that the Government’s proposal to extend the Right to Buy scheme to housing association tenants could mean that there will be far fewer new affordable rented houses in rural areas. He said that housing associations were walking away from new developments in rural areas due to the Government’s plans and guidelines.
He said: “The local community looks to us to provide the planning permissions and because of the emerging Government policy they are not being implemented and we are not getting the houses that we need. It is a very serious situation.“This is a real concern that we will not find housing associations prepared to develop in the National Park. They just don’t want to lose money – and the losers are the local communities here in the Dales.”
Millthrop – May
The committee also refused permission for an affordable local occupancy house to be built in Millthrop near Sedbergh. This application was supported by the parish council but the committee accepted the planning officer’s argument that it would be contrary to too many of the Authority’s policies.
Graham Milburn told the committee that his plan was to build a two-bedroom house on land which at present forms part of the family’s builder’s yard and use the capital to refurbish Spedding House. Several generations of Milburns have lived in Spedding House which is a grade II listed building. He, his three brothers and his mother all live in that part of Millthrop.
The planning officer recommended refusal because the new house would be so close to Spedding House that it would a detrimental impact not only upon this listed building but also on the amenity of anyone living there. The trees which screen the builder’s yard would either have to be severely cut back or removed altogether, and there was no space to plant any more.
In addition the site is outside the building development boundary and the house would not provide accommodation for someone involve in agriculture or another rural-based enterprise. And employment land would be lost which, the officer stated, would undermine the viability of the remaining employment site.
See also the February 2016 YDNPA planning committee report.
Reeth – July
The committee took under ten minutes to decide unanimously that this time an application to re-develop Orton Works at Reeth could be approved.
This application was for full planning permission for the erection of a guest house and demolition of some existing buildings on the site, and the extension and conversion of the existing office building to form manager’s accommodation.
Reeth, Fremington and Healaugh parish council fully supported the application subject only to the comments of the immediate neighbours. The concerns of the latter included being overlooked, the overbearing and overshadowing impact of the guest house, and the close proximity of a laundry room and kitchen to some homes. The latter will be created by the conversion of an existing garage.
The planning officer reported that there had been three previous applications for the redevelopment of the site since Orton Works closed in 2011. The third – for the erection of a guest house – was refused by the planning committee in June 2014 having been deferred on two occasions for the submission of amended drawings but still deemed to be a poor design.
He said that the latest application was for the guest house to be built on the southern part of the site over the footprint of existing buildings and so avoiding the sewer and the most sensitive part of the site in terms of impact on those living in Hill Close.
“Overall the proposal is a significant improvement in terms of its siting, and general arrangement, from the previous submissions,” he added.
Scott Trial – July
Richmond Motor Club has accepted responsibility for surveying the 70-mile route of the annual Scott Trial across Arkengarthdale, Gunnerside and Reeth Moors and for carrying out any mitigating work afterwards.
The club’s agent, Robert Halstead, said that it had set up a sub-committee which had already begun to research the baseline level of data requested by the Authority. Photographs of the route would be taken immediately after the trial in October and these would make it possible to identify vulnerable areas which should be avoided in the future.
He added that previously the burden for all that had fallen on the Authority and he felt that it was right and proper the onus should now be on the motor club.
In these circumstances the committee agreed unanimously to a five-year extension so that this internationally recognised motor bike trial could continue.
Cllr Blackie and Mr Brown pointed out that “The Scott” as it was known gave a tremendous boost to the local economy and supported both employment and tourism in the area. In addition it raised about £10,000 a year which was donated to good causes such as The Friarage Hospital at Northallerton and doctors’ surgeries in the Dales.
Mr Brown said The Scott had the full support of all the parish councils and added:“It only operates with the goodwill of the farmers, the game keepers and even land agents as well. It has local support all round and that is the reason it is so successful. They are a very well respected and responsible body. It is a motor cycle trial conducted under the heaviest supervision.
“They train the youngsters from something like the age of six or seven years – even the girls. You will see from reports that we have some fantastic girl riders – Katy Sunter and Harriet Peacock to name a few.”
He added that he believed the damage caused to ancient monuments like the disused lead mines was minimal and that some tourists had inflicted more.
Sedbergh – February
A traditional building in Sedbergh, which is at present used for storage, can be converted into a two-bedroom house.
The majority of the committee members agreed that it would make a very good local occupancy dwelling even though Sedbergh parish council had objected to the application.
Sedbergh parish councillor, Ian McPherson explained that the parish council was very concerned about the loss of one to two roadside car parking spaces when the vehicular access was created for the house, or for possibly creating a precedent for turning gardens along Highfield Road into car parking areas.
The parish council was also concerned about the impact of the dwelling upon the Grade II listed Palmers Hill (the Widows’ Hospital), or the possibility that in the future there might be more noise emanating from the businesses adjourning the new house.
Sedbergh – October – Removal notice
It was agreed that a double-sided sign at Café Nova in Sedbergh must be removed as it significantly exceeds the limit for permitted development.
The committee gave approval for the Authority’s solicitor to serve a Removal Notice to be complied with within 28 days. If the Notice is not complied with the Authority can remove the sign and charge the proprietors of the café for the costs incurred.
The enforcement officer told the committee that not only was the sign too big and so having a harmful impact upon the conservation area, but it was also attached to the corner of the building. This, he said, was not a traditional method of sign display and hid the distinctive quoin stones.
Spout, Sedbergh – August
The committee approved an application by Susan Woof to convert a traditional barn at Spout near Sedbergh into a bunk barn capable of accommodating six people.
Sedbergh parish council and others who own properties at Spout had questioned how the bunk barn could be effectively managed and supervised when those nominated to do that did not live close to it. Ms Woof and her partner live ten miles away, and a relative is two miles away.
The parish council had, however, also pointed out that there was little difference between a small-scale bunk barn and a holiday cottage which could accommodate six or more people – and the latter did not require a management plan.
Dr Barron, who owns a holiday cottage a few metres from the barn, told the committee: “This is the wrong development in the wrong place.“
He added that a bunk barn would dominate such a small hamlet of seven residential properties and have considerable impact upon the tranquillity of the area. The increase in traffic he said would also cause problems along the narrow, winding road. “It will create a precedent for intrusion on the landscape and for traffic on a substandard road,” he told the committee.
Ms Woof said that she had worked closely with planning officers for 18 months to prepare an application that would be in accordance with the YDNPA’s policies, including how to safeguard the amenities of neighbours.
Cllr Blackie and Jocelyn Armstrong-Manners agreed with her that those who booked such places for a holiday enjoyed and respected the tranquillity of the area.
Ms Woof commented that 20 years ago there would have been more traffic on the narrow, winding road because her family were farming the fields more extensively. Now the barn was no longer suitable for agricultural use and they wanted to find a way of ensuring its future and to provide her with a job. She told committee she intended to make sure that the bunk barn would not cause problems for the neighbours.
Mr McPherson acknowledged that the decision was finely balanced but still felt that the application should be refused for the reasons put forward by objectors.
Mr Charlesworth said that the site meeting had convinced him that the conversion was entirely appropriate and acceptable. And several members reported that there had been no problems with so many cars being there for that meeting.
Harold Brown commented: “A lot of hill farmers are going out of business because they can’t get a proper price for their produce. So I am in favour of this support for a hill farm.”
Stainforth – October
Stephen Raine won the sympathy of the committee when he explained that he was the full-time carer for his elderly mother and was travelling each day to his farm at Stainforth to care for the animals there and to complete some walling for Natural England.
He said he had not intended to do anything illegal by again siting a caravan at the farm. He explained that he was not living in it but instead was using it as a shelter and somewhere to make hot food and drinks.By January the work for Natural England should be completed and he will move the livestock away from the farm. “I would be more than happy to move the caravan at that time because there is no reason for me to take shelter and have meals,” he said.
The committee agreed with Cllr Heseltine that prosecution proceedings should be put off until March.
As Mr Raine had said he might start work on building a farmhouse in March the committee accepted the recommendation of the legal officer, Clare Bevan, that the decision to prosecute or not should the caravan still be there after March 31 should be left with the solicitor.
The enforcement officer had asked for prosecution proceedings to begin now because by siting another caravan at Garth Nook Farm Mr Raine had failed to comply with an enforcement notice served in August 2008.
The deputy chairman of the planning committee, Harold Brown commented: “I have every sympathy with the position of Mr Raine as a fellow (uplands) farmer struggling to keep walls up, to keep the livestock in good health, and on top of that to be carer for an elderly person – and a building thrown in. Jack of all trades we are known as.”
Stainforth – November – Enforcement
At the October meeting members gave David Parker a month to submit a planning application for an agricultural worker’s dwelling at Bargh House, Stainforth.
If this had been done it was likely that the committee would have allowed him to continue having a caravan at that site. As he hadn’t, it was agreed unanimously that an enforcement notice should be issued for the removal of the caravan.
Last month the committee heard that planning permission had been granted in 2007 for the conversion of a building to form a preparation area for meat and game, a chiller room and a store, as well as the erection of an agricultural building. Permission was also given to site a caravan there for three years until January 2010.
Since then Mr Parker has been repeatedly advised to either apply for further permission to have the caravan there or to make an application for a dwelling. If he did the latter he could ask for permission to retain the caravan until the house was ready to live in. Mr Parker now has six months notice to remove the caravan.
Threshfield – June
The application to re-develop Threshfield Garage, including the provision of a Spar convenience store, replacing the motor vehicle workshop and reconfiguring the filling station forecourt, gained the unanimous approval of the committee.
Grassington parish councillor Andrew Colley said: “Up and down the dale it’s going to be absolutely invaluable. But it has to remain a filling station and a garage workshop as well as a convenience store.” He told the committee that both Grassington parish council and Chamber of Trade supported the application made by James Hall & Company.
The company’s agent, Graham Love, assured the committee that it had carried out everything that had been asked of it by the planning officer, including reducing the proposed height of the buildings.He added:“It does have the potential of improving local convenience shopping in terms of the range of choice and availability of goods and products. This will allow a greater number of people to carry out more of their shopping locally so less will travel to Skipton for their main shopping.”
John Midgley, whose company, Midgley Motors, will continue to operate the vehicle and MoT facility, told the committee that since 1965 seven local garages had closed.“We have seen the demise of the country filling station. Petrol is no longer a stand-alone product. The reality is that unless Threshfield Garage follows this business model there will be no fuel or car repairs, MoT servicing or car sales,” he said and added:“The current building is beyond its useful lifespan. It was hard to make a profit throughout last winter because of the extra heating costs. I can’t expect my staff to work in that dungeon of a workshop – the rain comes in, the electric fuses on a regular basis, and there is a lack of heating.”
But Rob Crolla of Indigo Planning, representing some concerned retailers in Grassington, stated: “We consider there is no substantial or reasonable justification for why the existing buildings cannot be re-used from a commercial perspective.”
He said that the housing policy had been misapplied to justify the retail proposal and that the applicant had not provided a detailed assessment of the retail impact, as compared to need. “There is a real danger that this proposal will kill a number of businesses in Grassington to the detriment of the health of that centre.”
He argued, therefore, that the application was fundamentally flawed both in terms of the strength of the support information on retail matters provided to justify the scheme and the proposal itself in terms of the proper planning for retail services in the area.
Cllr Marshall said it was known that only three traders in Grassington were against the application and that the majority of residents in the area were supporting it.
Threshfield parish council also supported it especially after the applicant had agreed to reduce the hours that the store and filling station would be open to 7am to 10pm. This. it was stated, will reduce the impact upon the amenity of the neighbouring properties.
West Witton – See the March 2015 report for the report on the discussion about telecommunications aerials at West Witton.