An ARC News Service report on the meeting of the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority’s (YDNPA) planning committee on June 11 2019 when decisions were made concerning: a proposed campsite at Grassington, and barn conversions at Hellifield, Settle and Sedbergh. The committee refused an application to convert a barn at Hawes.
Pip Pointon reports on the YDNPA meetings on a voluntary basis as part of the Association of Rural Communities commitment to local democracy in the Yorkshire Dales National Park.
An application for a small campsite at Grassington would probably have got the green light from the planning committee. But the majority of members agreed with the planning officer that the proposal by Jason and Claire Simpkin to use a large field and construct two buildings would have too much of an impact upon the landscape.
The officer commented: “The concerns with the current proposal are a matter of scale rather than a matter of principle.”
She said that a modest campsite and one building for facilities in the northeast section of the field adjacent to the B6265 Hebden Road would be acceptable. The Simpkins planned to use all of a one hectare field on a plateau above the River Wharfe for approximately 25 seasonal pitches. They proposed two buildings, one to provide facilities for the campers, and the other to include the manager’s accommodation. Mr Simpkin told the committee that Grassington did not have a campsite.
He read a letter from the Grassington Chamber of Trade which noted that there had been a dramatic drop in the footfall of tourists in the town in the last couple of years and that the creation of a family friendly campsite would lead to an increase. “I hope this development will enable a greater range of visitors to Grassington, especially young families,” Mr Simpkin said and added that his plans were in line with the National Park’s statutory purposes.
He had informed the Authority that a smaller campsite would not be a viable business. He argued that having a manager on site would help to alleviate some of the concerns raised by residents such as the possible increase in noise and nuisance, and the impact of lighting.
North Yorkshire County councillor John Blackie agreed that having a manager living on the site would be helpful and added: “I am amazed that Grassington hasn’t got a camp site. Campers spend far more in the local economy than any other form of tourist and so keep the shops and services going.”
Other members, however, accepted the officer’s contention that a two-storey stone building to house an office and reception on the ground floor and a self-contained manager’s flat on the first floor was too much. The planning officer did not accept that a seasonal site for 25 tents needed a manager to supervise it, especially as there was a site for 24 tents at Kettlewell which did not provide such accommodation.
She reported that the proposed new buildings would replace a static caravan and the dilapidated remains of a railway carriage. She said there was also concern about the possibility of campers walking along a road to the village where there was no footpath as that would be the shortest route to the pub.
“This is where I would like to retire to in a few years’ time,” Michael Stapleton told the committee concerning the proposed conversion of a barn at the farmstead at Little Newton, Hellifield, near Long Preston.
The planning officer explained that the main problem with that at Little Newton was the relatively poor condition of the barn including the partial collapse at the first-floor level on the front wall. The original plans included taking down and rebuilding the front wall.
The planning officer pointed out that this was in conflict with the Authority’s policy that buildings should be capable of conversion with no more than minor structural work.
She added: “Furthermore, much of the historic significance of the building is due to the evidential value of the windows and doors visible on this frontage, which would be lost if the front wall was rebuilt.”
Part of the barn had once been a farmhouse.After an independent assessment it was agreed that the walls could be retained by using special shoring systems.
The committee quickly approved the application by Andrew Morrell to convert a Grade II listed barn at Cleatop Park, Settle, partly to be used as a holiday let, and partly to create a private garage and artist’s studio.
Mr Morrell had originally wanted to add a glazed artist’s studio on the east elevation but this did not conform with the Authority’s policy which is based upon conserving traditional barns.
Approval was given for the 18th century bank barn in Howgill Lane at Sedbergh to be converted into a local occupancy two bedroom dwelling.
The planning officer told the committee: “The building in question is a characteristic Dale’s barn that is prominent in public views when travelling along Howgill Lane. However, the proposed conversion scheme has been sensitive to the character of the building and amounts to minimal external change to both the structure and its surroundings.”
Sedbergh Parish Council had stated that it considered the development would improve what was currently an eyesore on the outskirts of the residential centre of the town and at the same time retain a heritage asset in a sympathetic manner. It would provide valuable accommodation for a local family subject to the appropriate 106 restrictions.”