When a friend begged me to go and take some photographs of Aysgarth Lodges Holidays site in February I didn’t realise how important they would be later. Even though that was the ‘low season’ I was shocked at how much light pollution was emanating from that site just before the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority’s Dark Skies Festival. The site, which is close to Bishopdale Beck, is now closed due to the Covid 19 lockdown.
In the photograph above the Aysgarth Lodges Holidays site is that illuminated by strings of lights in the middle. Above it to the left is the eastern end of Aysgarth.
In February the Association of Rural Communities, Burton cum Walden Parish Council and Aysgarth and District Parish Council questioned the Authority about the situation at the Aysgarth Lodges Holidays site.
The owner of the site, Leisure Resorts Ltd, has now made a retrospective planning application to the Authority for the siting of a caravan for use as a reception/office and site wide lighting plan.
The Association has told the Authority that the application does not answer the concerns of many local residents or the two parish councils about light pollution.
In its Design and Access Statement the company states concerning lighting: ‘The type of lighting provided on site is low-level lighting which will prevent unnecessary light pollution in this sensitive environment. The location of individual lights has been selected in order to provide light and therefore safe passage for customers accessing and egressing their holiday units and moving around the site during the evening and early morning when natural light levels are low. Every effort has been made to minimise the number of lighting bollards used whilst providing a safe and usable environment.’
In the application it is stated that the reception/office unit (below) complied with the statutory definition of a caravan and therefore reflected the form of the holiday lodges located on the site.
see also New Village in Bishopdale
The lodge site was developed on Westholme farm in the 1970s by Margaret and Tom Knowles into a family holiday caravan and camping site. From 2007 to 2008 Mr Knowles tried for over a year to to make the Authority aware of how and why the site was being turned into a luxury lodge site with no place for campers or touring caravans. He told the Authority that when he and his wife were running the site it was not visible from the other side of Bishopdale.
With the Association of Rural Communities he campaigned to protect the right of campers and those using touring caravans to enjoy the beautiful landscape of the Yorkshire Dales.