ARC News Service reports on the meeting of the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority’s (YDNPA) planning committee on Tuesday, February 11. The applications discussed included Monks Church Bridge at Crosby Ravensworth, a time extension for Ingleton Quarry, and a proposal for luxury camping pods within Thornton-in-Lonsdale parish. A decision about an application from Hazel Brow Farm Visitor Centre at Low Row was deferred.
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.
The listed Monks Church Bridge at Crosby Ravensworth needs more than a “sticking plaster” repair the chairman of the parish council, David Graham, told the committee.
“Our community wants the bridge widened,” he said. “This is a working farming modern community – it is not a preserved museum. Our farmers don’t use horse and carts. They use very large modern farm machinery.”
He added that the drivers of large delivery vehicles also had difficulties – “Speed has never been a problem – it’s simply the size of the vehicles trying to use it.”
That has led to the bridge frequently being damaged, he said, with most of the repairs having been carried out using cement mortar. This time Cumbria County Council had applied for permission to use lime mortar to repair a 2m length of the bridge. The planning officer reported that this would reinstate the original appearance of the structure.
David Graham, however, commented: “This is a sticking plaster. It is not a solution to the problem we have got with the bridge. Our main concern is the on-going issue of bridge suitability for the modern age.”
He and another councillor, Ginny Holroyd, had taken photographs to the meeting to show how the bridge, which they said was constructed in the 19th century, had been widened in the past.
The parish council, he told the committee, agreed with the planning officer that an application recently submitted by the county council to alter the bridge would cause substantial harm to the bridge and surrounding conservation area.
He said: “It would not only remove important historic fabric but also result in harm to the character and appearance of the bridge itself and on the wider conservation area. That’s not something we want as a parish council either. Historic England experts suggested looking at road realignment. To realign the road would mean demolishing the wall of the churchyard, taking part of the graveyard and demolishing a two-metre high dry stone wall and taking part of someone’s garden – so totally unacceptable and totally impossible to achieve.
“The planners have been working with Cumbria Highways developing a proposal for road markings and signage. These include 50m of four-inch wide white lines across the bridge, ‘Slow’ road markings and signage, black and white bollards at each corner of the bridge, ‘Road Narrows’ and ‘Double Bends’ [signs], and 30 miles per hour repeater signs – a forest of modern signage.”
He questioned how that would solve the problem and said that the parish council had written twice to the YDNPA planning department asking for it to engage with them.
“We simply ask for a meeting on site with the planners and with interested parties so we can come up with a solution that will work for everyone. Our whole village wants a solution.”
Committee member and North Yorkshire parish council representative, Allen Kirkbride, asked for a decision to be deferred so that a site meeting could be held. But this was not accepted by the committee with some members stating that the only issue they had to deal with that day was the application to repair the bridge.
Member Jim Munday said: “I think this is something which needs to be worked out later but for today let’s have our sticky plaster to repair it.” And the majority agreed.
Richard Graham, the head of development management, said: “We are happy to meet with the parish council. What we would like to do is talk to the county council as [it is the] highways authority.”
Cllr Kirkbride requested that should be a joint meeting of all the parties involved.
At the beginning of his submission to the committee David Graham explained that he had worked for Cumbria County Council for 34 years and for the last 10 years until he retired he was responsible for all the highways maintenance in that county. For the past 20 years he has lived just round the corner from Monks Church Bridge.
Permission was granted to Hanson Quarry Products Ltd to continue mineral extraction and processing at Ingleton Quarry until the end of December 2025 instead of finishing work there in May.
North Yorkshire County councillor David Ireton said: “The damage to the landscape is already done so it is sensible to get out as much as possible from the quarry.”
Member Allen Kirkbride commented: “The company seems to have done all that it can do environmentally. It’s only five years… and its a good creator of work which is something we really do need in the Dales.”
Ingleton Parish Council had informed the Authority that, with the exception of its chairman, all the councillors had been in favour of approving the application. It added: “With the reduction of tonnage produced by the quarry the parish council would like to see a reduction in working hours with half the stone produced being transported by railway.
“Concerns were raised about effects on nearby dwellings and members would like to see monitors in place to closer properties. There was comment from members regarding the desertion of bird life from the area particularly with the introduction of the new crusher and it was hoped that the new bund would be completed as soon as possible.”
The planning officer told the committee that the company had agreed to three monthly monitoring beside nearby residential areas. He believed that the impact of the operations at the quarry could be successfully mitigated provided lighting, dust and noise controls were implemented, maintained and monitored.
The company’s agent, Jack Tregoning, explained: “It is very important to note that this quarry is one of the small number [15 or 16] in England and Wales capable of producing high specification aggregate high polished stone value gritstone … which make it the choice for road surfacing particularly on heavy traffic roads. It is relatively scarce and in high demand.” The extension, he added, would allow them to make the best use of the one and a half million tonnes still at the quarry.
He said there had been two isolated incidents which had led to too much dust being produced and lighting being left on overnight. Steps had been taken to make sure this did not happen again. They would continue to have liaison meetings with the parish council and local residents he said and added: “We encourage people to report any issues and we take action where necessary.”
The planning officer said that restoration of the site was expected to be complete by 2026 especially as a lot had been done already. He reported: “The deep quarry excavation will fill with water when pumping ceases creating a lake almost 100m deep with an outfall to the River Doe. Calculations indicate it may take about 12 years for the void to fill. The remainder of the site will be restored to grassland and woodland.”
The Friends of the Dales objected to yet another extension stating that the quarry should close this year and be restored. As a trustee of the Friends of the Dales the chairman of the planning committee, Julie Martin, declared an interest but said she was not on that group’s policy committee and had not taken part in its consultation process. She did, therefore, take part in the discussion and voted to approve the application. Ian McPherson also declared that he was a member of the Friends of the Dales.
Craven District councillor Carl Lis declared an interest as he is a member of Ingleton Parish Council. He said he had not taken part in the discussion or voted at the parish council meeting.
Thornton in Lonsdale
Even though Thornton-in-Lonsdale Parish Council had been unanimous in its opposition to the siting of six luxury timber camping pods at Kirksteads on the A65 near Ingleton the committee approved the application.
The parish council had questioned the need for the pods as, it said, the parish was already well served by similar types of holiday accommodation. The planning officer, however, reported that in 2013 a visitor accommodation study had identified a gap in the provision of sustainable short stay self-catering accommodation. Cllr Lis agreed because, he said, the pods would provide a cheaper option for those wanting to stay in the area.
The parish council was mainly concerned about the access from Masongill Fell Lane onto the A65 and what it described as the dangerous pedestrian access to local amenities.
Highways North Yorkshire, however, had no objection and an engineer stated: “There are several other camping/caravan sites in the same vicinity which could have similar comments so I cannot see why this particular application will create a safety issue of people walking along the A65.”
Cllr Lis commented: “The parish council has tried to do something about the speed of traffic on that road but the argument that comes back constantly from Highways is that there haven’t been any accidents on that road. But if would be good if Highways looked at it longer term.”
Following a question about the access from Craven District councillor Richard Foster, Richard Graham said a condition could be added that there should be no access from the pods through the rest of the site where there are two buildings one being the Escape Bike Shop and the other housing the applicant’s plumbing, electrical and security business. These businesses have access onto the A65 via a slip road.
The planning officer said there had been considerable discussion with the owner about the siting of the pods so as to minimise the visual impact. They will now be close to the existing buildings and one of the conditions is that there will be a substantial amount of planting to screen the site.
Mr Kirkbride observed that if the application was for a barn conversion it wouldn’t have got over the first hurdle as the new twin-wheeled access track was so long.
The committee unanimously approved the application.
A decision on an application from Hazel Brow Farm Visitor Centre was deferred as it was felt more time was needed to consider an amendment which had been received just before the meeting.
The original application was for: the conversion of former joiner’s shop to two holiday lets; the demolition of an agricultural building and part of a retaining wall to the southern edge; construction of a new retaining wall, path and dry stone wall; to re-design the visitor centre ground floor cafe and play barn with doors; to alter the first floor of the visitor centre to provide family accommodation; extend that first floor to provide additional accommodation; and install a treatment plant for the joiner’s shop and visitor centre.
The Richmond depot of Highways North Yorkshire had objected because, it stated, the existing accesses were unsatisfactory with limited visibility splays and so the intensification of use would be unacceptable in terms of highway safety. The planning officer accepted its recommendation that the application should, therefore, be refused.
In the amended application the first floor extension to the visitor centre and all the visitor accommodation was removed. The only development proposed at the visitor centre was to refurbish the ground floor through the insertion of glazed double doors. It proposed to continue to operate the building as a visitor centre with ground floor cafe only for those visiting it and the craft space on the first floor. The development proposed at the joiner’s shop was unaltered.