ARC News Service reports on the virtual meeting of the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority’s (YDNPA) planning committee on August 25 2020 at which the following were discussed: the proposed redevelopment of Langcliffe Quarry; the use of cedar shingles on a garage roof at Embsay near Skipton; silt covered road between Arcow and Dry Rigg quarries near Horton in Ribblesdale; and how serial planning applications have held up enforcement action at Gaisgill, Cumbria, as well as a garage rebuilt to create two businesses at Horton in Ribblesdale.
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.
With just days to spare an application to develop part of the disused Langcliffe Quarry was fully supported by the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority’s so that Craven District Council could make a ‘meaningful start’ by Tuesday September 1 in order to obtain European Development Funding for the project.
‘This will be the last opportunity to obtain a European grant so we do need to move forward. I can understand some concerns about conservation but I think that it is an industrial site and it needs to return to some sort of employment [use],’ said Richmondshire District councillor Richard Good at the YDNPA planning committee meeting on Tuesday August 25.
The committee was told that the proposed development represented the only credible solution to have come forward for the site for decades which would not only result in a significant level of employment in the area but would also secure the long term sustainable management of the Craven Limeworks monument, habitats and woodland at the quarry.
The committee’s chairman and member champion for cultural heritage, Julie Martin, said: ‘Any application may not be absolutely ideal but I think this is a one-off chance to secure the site for the future and secure its management. I certainly feel it’s going in the right direction and, on balance, we should approve it.
‘It’s unfortunate that we haven’t had a site visit prior to determining this application for various reasons not least the time constraints that we are working under.’
She declared an interest as a trustee of the Friends of the Dales and said she had not been involved in any way with that society’s objection to the application.
The committee was informed that Historic England considered the development to be well thought-out and designed to reference the history of the site and to enhance the industrial feel of the monument, as well as securing its management, the detail of which it expected to be laid-out in a Management Plan.
Members decided that many details of the application could be determined by planning officers. As it was not fully approved that application did not, therefore, provide the basis for work to start on September 1.
So a planning officer, under delegated authority, approved a separate application by Campbell Driver Partnership to demolish a disused industrial building on an adjoining site in the quarry. This approval was given on August 26 – the day that the consultation period ended.
The committee was told that the main application also needed to be approved to provide a degree of certainty when obtaining funding for the overall development. The applications affect sites associated with the Craven and Murgatroyd Limeworks which is a Scheduled Ancient Monument and the Stainforth Sidings within the Settle-Carlisle Conservation Area, all owned by Craven District Council. Neither development site includes the Hoffman kiln (a continuous burning horizontal lime kiln) which is a key feature of the Scheduled Ancient Monument.
A planning officer told the committee that the quarry ceased operation in the 1930s and was then used as a landfill site until 1993 when it was capped and restored to grassland. The committee was told that the district council’s Environmental Health officer has requested a further investigation into any potential contamination in the landfill area.
The main application split the development site into sections: the construction of six new buildings and the conversion of two stone buildings on the area nearest to the Hoffman kiln ‘all designed to respect the retained historic buildings’; more contemporary industrial style buildings further south; an industrial depot with a single storey workshop and store on the existing car park; and a new car park on the former quarry floor. Much of this, she added, was in the allocated site for business development in the Local Plan.
Richmondshire District councillor John Amsden pointed out that the proposed wooden staircase to the new car park would not be in accordance with the Disability Act and said there should be wheelchair access.
The chairman of the Authority, Neil Heseltine, asked if there could be a rail link to the quarry and also about how the loss of 0.8 of the one hectare of Open Mosaic Habitats on Previously Developed Land (OMHPDL) will be compensated for. Such land has been defined as a UK Priority Habitat.
The planning officer replied that the district council’s ecologist was confident replacement land could be found but more clarification was needed before the application was fully approved. She reported that the applicants had agreed to reduce the size of the car park so that less of the priority habitat was affected.
Natural England has requested a landscape assessment and the district council has confirmed it will sign a legal agreement to secure the conservation management plan for the whole quarry. The district council has agreed to reduce the scale of buildings, retain trees and to have new trees planted. Provision also has to be made for bats if the buildings they are roosting in are demolished or converted.
A lighting assessment and plan has also been requested to evaluate the impact of the development on the dark skies of the National Park.
Further conditions may also be required to safeguard the amenity of those living in a privately owned cottage in what was part of the former limeworks workshop. In her summary of objections the planning officer listed: the lack of assessment submitted with the original application specifically relating to the historic environment and to ecology; the increase in traffic crossing the public footpath, the need for a better cycling infrastructure, the development being too large, the need for renewable energy and the potential for flooding. The planning officer reported that one of the planning conditions would be that there should be a sustainable drainage system.
As usual the Authority, unlike neighbouring district councils, did not provide full details of objections and representations on its website.
Embsay near Skipton
The use of cedar shingles on the roof of new garage at Hill Top Farm, Embsay, was questioned by the parish council and by Craven District councillor …. Foster.
‘The roofing material should be either stone or reclaimed slates instead of shingles which are alien to the character of the locality,’ stated Embsay with Eastby Parish Council.
Richard Graham, the head of development management, said: ‘One of the most important buildings in the National Park, Scargill Chapel, which is a grade II star listed building, is covered entirely in cedar shingles. Its roof is the most dominant feature of the building.
‘It is very difficult to get hold of the right stone slates for new buildings in the National Park. Some of the materials that we have traditionally used are very expensive. So cedar shingles is one material that has been used on a number of buildings in the park and we have been very happy with the way they have weathered. Over time they weather to a grey colour that looks just like limestone. So it’s a material that, for a number of years, we have advised people to consider.’
Cllr Foster asked if cedar shingles were included in the Authority’s Design Guide and another member said they were. (See Appendix A of the Design Guide)
The parish council had thanked the planning officer and the applicant for making what it described as a number of significant changes to the original plans. But it felt that, as the site was within a conservation area further amendments should be made. It said that the weatherboarding on the top half of the garage should be vertical instead of horizontal to reflect the character of traditional agricultural buildings.
The committee did approve the application to erect a single storey double garage in the rear garden of Hill Top Farm – with cedar shingles and horizontal weatherboarding. The conditions included further landscaping to screen the garage.
Horton in Ribblesdale
The parking problems in Dales villages must be taken seriously the chairman of the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority, Neil Heseltine, stated last week.
He spoke after the Authority’s planning committee (of which he is a member) approved an application to which Horton in Ribblesdale Parish Council had objected on the grounds of lack of parking spaces.
‘I think we have got to take these parking issue seriously in Dales villages. I know we have got a really big issue with it in Malham. I just think we have to take that into account when we are dealing with planning applications, and take the parish councils’ objections seriously,’ Mr Heseltine said.
The committee unanimously agreed that a garage at Fourways in the centre of Horton in Ribblesdale could be replaced with a new building which will be used for the applicant’s beauty business and as a bed and breakfast letting rooms.
The application was for altering the planning permission granted in November 2019 so that the building could be larger. The planning officer said it was understood this would make the B&B more suitable for disabled guests and provide space for a carer to stay.
Horton in Ribblesdale Parish Council objected because, it said, there would be no additional parking space on the site. The planning officer told the committee that there would be the same number of spaces available as before albeit with less space around them.
She added that it was not considered that the building would have a significantly greater impact on the character and appearance of the area, nor on the amenity of neighbours.
Mr Heseltine asked if the new building could be legally tied to Fourways and that was included as a condition to the planning approval.
Arcow Quarry, Horton in Ribblesdale
The road between Arcow and Dry Rigg Quarries near Horton in Ribblesdale is often covered in silt Craven District councillor David Ireton told the planning committee.
‘The times I passed [that road] it was an absolute disgrace,’ he said and asked the Authority’s minerals officer, David Parrish, what had gone wrong with the wheel washing machinery at the quarries.
Mr Parrish replied that he had not seen the road in that condition and said that anyone who did so should contact the Authority or Tarmac.
‘I agree it is important to keep onto the company to ensure the roads are kept in a clean condition,’ he added. Horton in Ribblesdale Parish Council had also expressed concern that vehicles running between the two quarries had led to dirty road conditions.
Mr Parrish reported that a wheel wash had been installed at Dry Rigg recently and a more modern, efficient road sweeper was being used. He added that one of the planning conditions for quarrying to continue was that the road were kept in good condition.
The committee approved an application for the siting a mobile washing plant at Arcow Quarry where quarrying is permitted to continue until 2029. The plant will be used to wash and separate mixed materials with the higher quality aggregate being exported by rail.
Three planning applications in 15 months have meant that the Authority has not gone ahead with enforcement proceedings for the removal of a cabin at a small holding in the open countryside near Gaisgill. Each application has been refused, the last one by the planning committee at the August meeting. The planning officer said it was likely the applicant would now appeal that decision.
The planning officer reported that the present owners bought the smallholding a few months after an enforcement notice should have been complied with. This was served in January 2018 and required the removal of the cabin and restoration of the land by August 2019.
He said that the latest application was similar to the previous ones being for the retention of the residential cabin for an agricultural worker for a further three years. The previous temporary permission granted by Eden District Council expired in November 2016.
Richmondshire District councillor John Amsden commented: ‘There is an enforcement notice on [the cabin] and it should be fulfilled. You can’t keep stringing it along as far as possible because it has gone on too long as it is.’
Ian McPherson said: ‘My understanding is that it is perfectly possible to have an enforcement action being taken contemporaneously with a planning application. In view of the history of this I’m not totally clear why we haven’t taken steps for enforcement.’
Richard Graham explained: ‘The next steps in enforcement would be prosecution of the applicants for non-compliance. Obviously that is a very serious step for any planning authority to take against someone. If an application has been submitted then it has always been felt right to consider that and determine it prior to taking the next step of going to court.
‘There has also been a degree of delay this year due to the Corona virus outbreak and the various restrictions that have been placed on the planning system and the court system.’
The planning officer told the committee that on the small holding there was a converted barn being used as bed and breakfast accommodation and another barn which had been partially converted.
The applicants’ agent, Andrew Willison-Holt, said that the conversion work on the second barn had stopped in order to divert funds into buying more stock and land. The cabin allowed them to develop the farm into a diversified business.
He argued that the application was in accord with what the government called a trial occupation.‘We are asking you for three years to prove our case with the expectation that after the three-year period we will be in a position to justify a permanent dwelling. All [the applicants] ask, like every other farmer, is to be given the opportunity to prove themselves regardless of the enforcement history.
Mr Graham, however, stated: ‘Where there are two dwellings that are available to the applicants it is clearly, in our opinion, not appropriate to allow temporary permission.’
Cllr Amsden said he could understand why they wanted another holiday cottage but the priority was somewhere to live without having an enforcement order hanging around their necks.
The planning officer reported that the applicants had not shown that there was a need for a full time worker on the small holding and that the cabin did harm the character and appearance of the open countryside in a tranquil and visually attractive area.
Mr Willison-Holt disagreed and stated that the cabin sat on rising land alongside farm sheds. Neighbours, however, said it was easily visible from the road and was an eyesore which detracted from the surrounding area.
The committee agreed not only that permission should be refused but that the enforcement notice should be enforced.