An ARC News Service report on the meeting of the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority’s (YDNPA) planning committee on April 9 2019 when decisions were made concerning: Hawes Methodist Chapel and Sunday School; a residential care home at Smardale; barns at Eshton, Litton, Threshfield, Thorlby, Bolton Abbey Estate (Stank House and Hazlewood); Starbotton, Cautley near Sedbergh, and at Akrigg near Killington; and the Angel Inn and Wine Cave at Hetton.
Residents from Hawes again applauded the majority of the committee for agreeing with them that the conversion of the town’s former Methodist Chapel and Sunday School into five holiday lets would be over-development and cause parking problems which would have a detrimental impact upon neighbours and businesses nearby. The committee, therefore, confirmed its decision last month to refuse permission.
But the story was very different for the residents of Smardale.
Violent and anti-social incidents at a care home for vulnerable children in Smardale have created so much fear in that small community that the residents appealed to the planning committee not to allow even more youngsters to reside there. But their request has been refused.
Gloria Venning told the committee in March that the trained staff at Cloverdale, run by A Wilderness Way Holdings Ltd, weren’t even able to control two children. She reported that the Police had been called when a staff member locked herself and another child in a safe room while a distressed teenager was left wandering around the area with a knife. She said there had been six incidents at Cloverdale so far including arson and anti-social and sexual behaviour.
“In less than two years this property has been transformed from a family home … to an offenders’ institution,” she said.
The planning committee accepted the request of Eden District councillor William Patterson to hold a site meeting mainly to see how difficult it was to reach Smardale. Cllr Patterson and residents pointed out that the nearest Police station was 30 miles away and the only route into Smardale was via a single-track road.
At the meeting on April 9 however, the planning committee by eight votes to six, gave approval for change of use from a dwelling house to a residential institution capable of housing six children.
At that meeting Cllr Patterson refuted a statement by a committee member that the residents of Smardale were prejudiced.
“If the people of Smardale were prejudiced they would have fought for it not to be there in the first place,” he said.
Rosemarie Lees on behalf of Waitby and Smardale Parish Meeting told the April meeting: “We agreed not to oppose the original application for four vulnerable children to be there – indeed we sought to welcome them.” She said the planning officer had trivialised the residents’ major concern – the fear of crime. “The fear is real – the incidents are serious,” she said and added.
“We have totally lost confidence in the management of Wilderness Way. The company does not communicate with residents.”
She and others pointed out that the nature reserve at Smardale was being publicised as a major tourist attraction by the YDNPA. But visitors would have to walk past Cloverdale to reach it.
Richmondshire District councillor Yvonne Peacock was especially concerned that the application was for the change of use of Cloverdale from a dwelling to a residential institution. She warned that members needed to be very careful as they didn’t know what sort of applications might be made in the future.
The agent for A Wilderness Way Holdings Ltd told the committee that the objective was to make Cloverdale similar to a family home for the vulnerable children residing there. She said that Ofsted, which inspects and regulates the services at Cloverdale, had asked that it should have the capacity to take up to six children in an emergency.
A Certificate of Lawfulness was issued in December 2017 confirming it could be used to provide care and accommodation for no more than four children under the age of 18 with the support of two carers on a 24-hours shift rota basis. To be able to accommodate six children with six adult carers Cloverdale needed to become a residential institution.
The agent added that the aim was to have a care home where the children could enjoy the wonders of the National Park.
The planning officer stated: “The proposed use would deliver a significant social benefit for the wider community in that it would provide care and respite for children/young people to recover from experiences that have rendered them vulnerable. Cloverdale is considered to be an appropriate location for such a use given its rural setting being ideal for therapeutic care and being remote from the home areas of children/young people where there may be significant risks to the success of their care.
“Concerns based on the fear of crime are not compelling given the lack of a reasonable, cogent evidential basis linking the use with criminal activity and given that the Police are satisfied with the applicant’s Statement of Purpose and admissions process.”
The chairman of the Authority, Craven District councillor Carl Lis, said that the Police and Ofsted were the experts – and Ofsted had asked for the residential capacity to be increased.
Committee member, Jocelyn Manners-Armstrong, stated: “This is an excellent location making a positive contribution to these children’s lives.”
And another member, Jim Munday, added: “This is about providing a safe home for vulnerable children. What is missing … is serious dialogue between the applicant and the local population. It’s important that the applicant and local population sit down and talk this through.”
The small village of Hetton in the Yorkshire Dales had to retain the services of a Queens Counsel at considerable cost in its bid to stop Michelin-star chef, Michael Wignall and his partners, from turning the Wine Cave at the Angel Inn into a fine dining restaurant with the loss of 16 car parking spaces.
Andrew Armstrong, representing Hetton cum Bordley Parish Meeting , told the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority’s planning committee last month, that the parish meeting had felt obliged to do this because residents believed that a considerable increase in on-street parking would have an unacceptable impact on highway safety and the community.
The planning committee was told that Michael and Johanna Wignall and their partners, James and Jo Wellock, wanted to create a fine dining restaurant at the Wine Cave. But their plans included the removal of 16 car parking spaces in the rear yard, the construction of a rear extension, and the creation of a landscaped courtyard.
In March the planning committee did approve plans for internal and external alterations at the Angel Inn including extensions at the rear. Hetton cum Bordley Parish Meeting objected because, it said, the increase in guest bedrooms would lead to more cars being parked along the road especially if the parking area behind the Wine Cave was no longer available.
The parish meeting was so concerned when the planning officer recommended approval for the applications by Wellock Property Ltd that it asked Lichfields Planning Consultancy for advice. Justin Gartland, the chairman of that consultancy, told the committee in March: “It is not acceptable practice to suggest that the parish meeting should secure its own consultancy.”
The parish meeting’s representative, Andrew Armstrong, said: “Hetton parish meeting has been obliged to go to the length of employing the Queens Counsel who represented [the Authority] at the 1995 planning appeal.” The Authority’s decision at that time to refuse a planning application involving the Angel Inn was upheld at the three-day appeal on the grounds that it would be detrimental to highway safety and the amenity of the local community. Mr Armstrong said that the same issues still applied.
Carl Tonks of the cTc transport consultancy told that meeting that a survey had been carried out in September 2018 using a nationally accepted data base. This had shown, he said, that there would still be significant capacity for car parking within the area even after the proposed alterations at the Angel Inn and the Wine Cave.
The parish meeting, however, argued that the survey had been carried out at a quiet time in the village and when the rear car park at the Wine Cave was operational.
Also at the March meeting Charles Reeday, a farmer whose house is next door to the Wine Cave, told the committee that the alterations to it would greatly affect his garden and home. “We already suffer noise from the Angel across the road but the rear of our house is away from this.” They would not be able to escape the noise if the back of the Wine Cave was developed, he added.
Another resident, Richard Jackson, said the increase in noise and light pollution would have an impact on the neighbours. Mentioning the expense of employing a QC he said: “We are wondering how and why the National Park is still considering to give approval. What more is it possible for the village and the parish meeting to do?”
As the majority of the committee at the March meeting did not accept the planning officer’s recommendation to approve the application the decision was referred back to that on April 9. The head of development management, Richard Graham, reminded members that the traffic survey had been carried out in accordance with a nationally accepted model to industry standards and that evidence would be needed to counteract that.
North Yorkshire county councillor Richard Welch commented: “This is the over development of the site and detrimental to the residents and other road users. It will also have a detrimental impact on the residents’ amenities.”
The committee unanimously agreed with him and refused permission for the application.
Barn conversions in Craven District:
Six out of the eight barn conversions in Craven District approved by the planning committee on April 9 will be primarily for holiday accommodation.
David Staveley, however, made it very clear that he wanted to convert Lane Head Laithe at Throstle Nest, Eshton, into a three-bedroom home for him and his wife on the family farm. North Yorkshire
County councillor John Blackie commented: “I don’t think any member could make a more compelling case for the approval of this application than David Staveley himself. What better case can you make for a redundant building.”
The Highways Authority had, however, objected because it did not believe there was sufficient visibility at the access onto the road. The planning officer reported that about 12m of the boundary wall would be set back to improve visibility.
And Mr Staveley stated: “We are very aware of the danger as we have been using this as a farm access for 19 years.”
Even a planning officer described Nether Hesleden Farm Barn near Litton as being in the open countryside and it is in the Littondale Barns and Walls Conservation area.
He explained that the power supply to this roadside barn could be undergrounded from Nether Hesleden Farm, that there would be little change to the exterior of the building, and that the garden had been reduced to the minimum. He added that the converted dwelling would be used primarily as a holiday let.
North Yorkshire County councillor Richard Welch said: “I can’t think of a more classic example of what defines a roadside barn. I can’t see any problems with it. It ticks all the right boxes in the right places.”
The application to convert Ellis Laithe at Grisedale Gate Farm near Threshfield was solely for conversion to a holiday let. The planning officer stated that only the existing openings would be used and the proposed parking and external area would be modest and contained within the existing width of the walled lane to the south. No extension is required.
An application to convert this barn into a home for a farm worker was refused by the committee in December. The planning officer told the committee that the Authority was discussing with the applicant the possibility of applying to build a family home at the farm. Ellis Laithe will now become part of the farm’s holiday letting business.
Stirton-with-Thorlby Parish Meeting had told the Authority that not all residents were happy with Manor Farm Barn in Thorlby being used solely as a holiday let. As with most of the other applications the owners, Trustees for Roman Catholic Purposes Registered (TRCPR) had applied for both local occupancy or holiday let in line with the Authority’s conservation policy for roadside barns and those within settlements.
The agent for TRCPR, Robert Hodgkiss, told the committee that the application was not contentious and was in accord with national and local policies. It would, he said, have a sustainable use within the village once converted.
Three of the applications were made by the Chatsworth Settlement Trustees (Bolton Abbey Estate). For speed of approval none matched those dealt with by the planning committee in February.
The Trustees applications to convert the former Wesleyan chapel at Barden and Harry’s Barn at Storith were submitted on January 7 and approved by the planning committee on February 12 which might be a record! Both will have hot tubs installed as they will be primarily for holiday accommodation.
Those two applications did not require any amendments whereas the three submitted on January 17 did. The amendments to the plans for the Shippon at Stank House to the west of Bolton Abbey included moving the hot tub to a less obvious position!
Permission was granted for the conversion of both the Shippon and the barn at Stank House, which is already used as a holiday let. The access to the complex is via an existing private driveway.
The third application from the Trustees was for the conversion of Laneside Barn at Hazlewood to the east of Bolton Abbey. This is near two cottages on what the planning officer described as a very quiet lane.
She said that the proposed garden and parking would be contained in the yard serving the barn and so would be screened from public view.
The eighth successful application was by the artist Victoria Russell to convert a toft barn at Starbotton into a studio and dwelling.
Despite a warning by a parish council that the conversion of a barn at Starbotton would lead to further inappropriate development in a conservation area created to protect a medieval “toft” system the planning committee approved the planning application by artist Victoria Russell.
Kettlewell with Starbotton Parish councillor Ian Macefield told the committee that Tom Lear Barn was an integral part of Starbotton’s medieval toft (croft) system.
“The toft system is the key charm, character and essence of the village,” he said.
The planning officer agreed that the barn had a very high heritage significance as there was evidence of it originally being of cruck construction and so likely to date from the late 16th century.
She said there had been extensive negotiations over the design to produce a sensitive scheme which would also enable the owner to use it as an artist studio as well as a two-bedroom local occupancy dwelling.
The parish council had objected to the original plans because they included a glazed gable which, it said, was out of character with the barn and other buildings in the conservation area.
This was not included in amended plans. Instead there will be patent glazing providing light to the first floor. The planning officer stated: “Although patent glazing can be a significant feature on a roof, on this building it will appear as a single strip of glazing running the length of the rear roof and will avoid the requirement for several roof-lights or new windows which would alter the simple character of the barn and impact on historic fabric.”
A committee member, Julie Martin, pointed out that the Authority’s senior listed building officer had commented extensively on the application but that had not been included in the planning officer’s report. She noted that this had happened with several reports to the committee that day.
The parish council had also objected to the proposed access. The planning officer explained that access via Back Lane or Long Lane had been considered but it was concluded these green lanes of medieval origin were too narrow and unsuitable for modern vehicles. It was also unlikely, she said, that Ms Russell would obtain legal right of access down those lanes.
Instead the application included using a track across the toft but stopping a short distance from Tom Lear Barn. The medieval wall line is to be reintroduced in order to separate the majority of the field from the proposed parking and garden, she said.
“It is considered that the important landscape setting of the barn and the Conservation Area will therefore be retained, with some enhancement in the form of the reinstated medieval wall line compensating for the introduction of the track within the field,” she added.
The parish council, however, had stated: “The proposed track will have a serious visual impact, being visible from the footpaths above the village. In addition, the track and the soakaway on a medieval toft will require earthworks on a potentially important archaeological site.”
Cllr Macefield said that Back Lane was at least 8ft wide and was already being used for access to Tom Lear Barn and the Quaker burial ground. He added that a vehicle with good ground clearance could be driven over the hump back bridge along that lane.
The parish council was also concerned about the installation of a cattle grid as this, it maintained, would be an alien feature in a medieval village setting. It added that a cattle grid was not especially good at controlling stock and would present a danger to children and small animals.
Cautley near Sedbergh
Permission was granted for a barn at Cautley Thwaite Farm to be partially converted into a local occupancy dwelling or short-term holiday let.
Sedbergh Parish Council had questioned leaving part of it as a barn as it felt converting all of the building would better ensure long-term maintenance of a heritage asset, provide valuable family scale accommodation and that it would remain as a single planning unit.
The planning officer, however, stated: “The retention of part of the byre (including internal stalls) in the southern end of the building is supported as this area contains older timbers and furniture that pre-date the barn itself. It is likely that some materials used in the construction of the building were salvaged from an older barn on or near the site. By not converting this area to habitable accommodation, allows the historic features to remain in place as evidence of the past history of the building.”
She added that the existing access to the barn could be used to provide a parking area behind the barn as a new dry-stone wall would be built to screen them from open view.
The majority of the committee yet again voted to approve an application for the reconstruction of a partially collapsed barn at Akrigg to create a dwelling. This confirmed the decision made at the meeting in March.