ARC News Service reports from Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority (YDNPA) planning committee meetings in 2020 with settlements in alphabetical order.
Most of the meetings were held remotely due to the Covid lockdown and all the speakers could be heard clearly – which made it so much easier to provide full reports. These reports are provided by Pip Pointon on a voluntary basis as part of the commitment of the Association of Rural Communities to local democracy.
Arncliffe – March
Despite the full support of Arncliffe Parish Meeting to see an ‘eyesore’ in their conservation area replaced with an extension which it believed would improve the visual appearance of the School House, the planning committee rejected the planning application by the owners.
The agent, Robert Groves, told the committee on March 10: ‘This [flat roof] is quite an eyesore and it is the most dilapidated part of the building. The proposed extension is modest…and it will bring about a huge improvement. It completely respects the original Gothic architecture of that part of the school house.’
He said the Parish Meeting had held a special meeting to discuss the application and had written to the YDNPA three times in full support of the proposals and revisions.
The majority of the committee members, however, agreed with the planning officer who stated: ‘The School House is an important and distinctive building in the Arncliffe Conservation Area [which] contributes positively to the character and appearance of the Conservation Area because of its Gothic character and appearance. The proposed extension would undermine and harm the overall character and appearance of the building by adding a large extension of unsympathetic proportions and architecture.’
She said that two flat-roof extensions had been built in the 1970s to provide additional facilities for the school. The application was for replacing one of these with a two-storey extension with a hipped roof to provide a garage and a home office with shower room above.
Committee member Jocelyn Manners-Armstrong said: ‘Due to the scale of the proposed extension it would dominate the building. A smaller extension would get a more positive response.’
Askrigg – October
Farmer Richard Scarr was told he would have to provide further plans to show how the impact of a replacement barn on the landscape of Upper Wensleydale could be reduced.
A planning officer said that Mr Scarr wanted to replace a semi-derelict traditional stone barn with a larger modern one but, as it was in an isolated and prominent position, it would cause real landscape harm. For that reason he recommended that Mr Scarr’s application should be refused.
Mr Scarr told the committee: ‘I am a four-generation farmer. We are traditional Dales farmers keeping Swaledale sheep and selling lambs in the local mart at Hawes. We have traditional hay meadows which we cut for hay each year. Since my childhood the hay has always been stacked in the field barn. We feed the hay to the sheep in winter and by the spring the barn is empty and is used for lambing. This barn has fallen into disrepair with the roof collapsing. We propose to replace it with a new building serving the same purpose.
‘This will enable us to continue the traditional practice of hay making to conserve the species in the hay meadows and avoiding the plastic black bales and secure the continuous traditional farming practices.’
He said he had already agreed to reduce the size of the new building, to increase the cladding and to stone face the north elevation, plus carrying out expensive tree planting.
He continued: ‘The location is very important. It makes not only storing hay easier but also feeding it to the sheep in winter, and lambing my sheep in the spring. Over the years working in the lower fields has provided an opportunity to engage with visitors using the public footpath. This is something I have personally enjoyed and also gives lots back to the visitors who can understand a traditional dales farm and be in connection with those who live and work here. Losing this would be a genuine loss to me and to those who enjoy visiting the National Park.’
Member Allen Kirkbride (an Askrigg parish councillor) commented: ‘As far as I can see he has done everything he can to make sure that this barn fits in and doesn’t stand out like a sore thumb.’
He pointed out that just over half a mile away there was another brand new barn that stood out just as much as Mr Scarr’s would.
Richmondshire District councillor John Amsden agreed. ‘There’s quite a lot of barns been put up in the last couple of years. I can see one from the top of my land on the other side of the dale which sticks out like a sore thumb because it’s on the hilltop… we also have the National Park building … which sticks out. By the time the trees have grown up I think [Mr Scarr’s] will fit in. It serves the farmer’s purposes.
North Yorkshire County councillor Robert Heseltine, however, commented that with modern tractors hay could easily be stored at the farmstead. The planning officer had said that there would be support for a new barn at the farmstead. ‘Two wrongs don’t make a right. We are not in the business of providing sore thumbs in a protected landscape,’ Cllr Heseltine said.
Lancashire County councillor Cosima Towneley retorted: ‘We need to take a pragmatic view of this. Farming does not stand still. This is not a chocolate box landscape. People have to live. ‘
Member Ian McPherson proposed deferral and stated: ‘I would personally like to see if there is a way the construction of the building can be ameliorated to make it more compatible with the natural environment.’ And the majority agreed.
Austwick – June
In December 2014 John Blackie (then the Leader of Richmondshire District Council) and the then chairman of the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority (Peter Charlesworth) warned about the loss of affordable and local occupancy homes in very rural areas due to the government’s new policy which would allow a developer to build 10 or less houses on one site without having to make sure there was a provision for affordable local housing. Charlesworth stated: ‘This… is likely to more than halve the number of affordable homes built in the National Park – homes that are essential to the long-term viability of local communities.’
Of the government’s policy Blackie said: ‘It’s a stab in the back for those who have the best interests of the future of rural and deeply rural communities at heart, and retaining the essential ingredient of young people and young families within them to maintain their long-term viability.’ (Northern Echo December 2014).
The government raised the threshold to 10 houses before which developers had to provide some on-site affordable housing. Instead they can pay a contribution towards affordable housing. The continuing frustration and disappointment with the government’s policy was very evident when the following application for a development at Austwick was discussed.
The application to build eight dwellings on land off Pant Lane in Austwick was approved even though the majority of the planning committee members were deeply disappointed that it did not include any affordable housing.
‘We are potentially giving permission for eight second homes or holiday cottages … with no specification for affordable housing,’ stated North Yorks County councillor Richard Welch .
And the chairman of the Authority, Craven District councillor Carl Lis summed up the feelings of most of the committee when he said: ‘There is no doubt that within the Austwick area there is need for affordable housing and I just find it disappointing that we can’t get that. Okay, we are going to get a financial contribution but that… doesn’t have to be used in Austwick. So Austwick loses its provision of affordable housing.’
Craven District councillor David Ireton added: ‘Small villages are requiring local need and local affordable housing. We are in danger here of somebody getting the cheque book out … and developing open market houses with no restrictions.’
As one member after another questioned the lack of provision for affordable housing the head of development management, Richard Graham, had to explain several times why they had no choice but to approve it. He said that the Authority’s previous Local Plan had required affordable housing to be provided on a site with that many houses. ‘It was impossible to sustain that policy position because the government’s policy changed. And Local Plans have to be in accordance with the government’s policy. As it stands at the moment [the application] complies with Local Plan policy and government policy.
‘The proposal will provide a financial contribution towards affordable housing. That can be used to help bring forward sites for affordable housing where the finances are marginal. We are talking to housing associations and community groups around the National Park about bringing forward various sites purely for affordable housing.’
The government’s policy and, therefore, that of the Local Plan meant, he said, that the planning committee could not add a condition concerning affordable housing. Cllr Robert Heseltine requested that because he said: ‘Every applicant will put this foot in the door approach and virtually nothing will be provided in the smaller villages in the National Park.’
A planning officer had told the committee she has encouraged the developer to include some affordable housing but complex negotiations would be required with Craven District Council and a housing association.
Two members, Allen Kirkbride and Cllr John Amsden, asked about including solar panels and charging points for electric cars. Cllr Lis agreed, pointing out that the Authority did have a policy on climate change. He added: ’We haven’t even got an indication as to the heating system. We need to encourage developers to install things into these houses which make them environmentally friendly.’
Austwick Parish Council told the committee: ‘The initiative to progress this Housing Development site is welcome as the availability of a number of new smaller houses could be of social and economic benefit to Austwick and may help to secure, for the longer term, the services and facilities we now have in place to support our community.’
It did not, therefore, object but had a number of concerns which included the lack of on-site affordable or local occupancy housing and renewable technologies. The planning officer reported that the developer had not yet decided what equipment to use for renewable energy technologies and he had been encouraged to consider alternative sustainable sources of heating.
Members queried giving permission before these details were agreed. “It’s totally wrong because they can walk away and do absolutely nothing,” commented Cllr Welch
The parish council also asked about the potential of surface water run-off and the developer had agreed to use limestone chippings instead of tarmac on the access road. There will now be only one access so that a portion of a high dry-stone wall will not be demolished. The planning officer explained that this and amendments to the design would mean there could be bigger gardens and more landscaping.
Member Jim Munday and Craven District councillor Richard Foster said it was a good development for Austwick. ‘It’s a great site and more houses are needed,’ said the latter.
And Cllr Cosima Towneley reminded the members that they didn’t have a foot to stand on due to the government’s policy.
Bainbridge – October
It didn’t take long for the committee to approve permission for 37 additional solar panels on the rear (south) roof slope of the YDNPA office premises (Yoredale) in Bainbridge. These will have black frames and low reflectivity glass to match the appearance of the existing panels.
A planning officer stated that the application was a direct consequence of the Authority adopting a ‘Carbon Reduction Plan’. He said Yoredale was a large modern office building within the conservation area of Bainbridge. The south facing roof was visible at close range from Cam High Road but not from medium to long distance views.
Bainbridge Parish Council had objected to the installation of so many solar panels on that roof believing them to be an eyesore to anyone using Cam High Road and nearby footpaths, negatively affecting the visual amenity of the area.
At the meeting Allen Kirkbride commented: ‘An awful lot of hikers walk up that road and they look directly onto it. People pass in cars. I have no problem with solar panels – I may have a problem with the number of solar panels they want to put on.’
And another member, Jim Munday, said: ‘I’m all for carbon reduction … but in my opinion the two items of modern technology that blight our National Park [because] they are intrusive and unsightly [are] mobile phone masts and solar panels. At the moment they seem to be necessary evils but we must encourage development to less intrusive solutions to the problems of telecom and power generation to minimise the impact of those by better siting and design.’
Braidley in Coverdale – October
Before the committee could discuss an application to convert a barn near Braidley in Coverdale into a local occupancy dwelling or holiday let the chairman, Julie Martin, stated: ‘I just want to make a few comments myself as cultural heritage champion not least because the … building conservation officer is unhappy about this one. I do feel that it is unfortunate that this application has come forward in this form.
‘I know the site … I have gone past there many times and it is very isolated and very prominent in the landscape. I do feel as our planning officer clearly does that [this] is too intensive a development for this site. The application doesn’t fully meet the requirements of our design guide and that is disappointing. Having said that I do think it is entirely possible that a smaller modified, more sensitive set of proposals would be suitable for us to approve.’
The planning officer said several times that the barn was on a sloping site and would, therefore, result in landscape harm due to what he described as a large curtilage, enlarged windows and three rooflights, especially as it could be seen from a footpath 300m away on the opposite side of the River Cover.
The majority of the committee voted to refuse the application.
Bolton Abbey – December
The committee unanimously agreed that Oliver Barker of Catgill Campsite Ltd at Catgill Farm could add four additional timber glamping pods to the three already there.
Mr Barker had removed hot tubs from the plans as Bolton Abbey Parish Council was concerned about the impact upon the private water supply. He is considering installing water storage tanks so as to apply for the installation of hot tubs later. The parish council had noted that providing water for hot tubs could affect the beck and so lead to problems for livestock and wildlife along that waterway.
Mr Barker said the present pods had proved to be a great success especially when many people were considering holidays in the UK due to the Covid epidemic. Providing more glamping pods would help to boost the local economy and provide more employment he added.
Cllr Robert Heseltine told the committee that the local water supply had always been very reliable and that the site would be well screened.
Member Neil Swain commented that it was a very good thought-out proposal.
The parish council had also reported concerns about the number of pitches at the camp site, the holding of caravan rallies, the length of time of operation of the camp site and also parking on the lane. The planning officer said these had been passed on to the enforcement team for investigation.
Crosby Ravensworth – February
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.’
Allen 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.
Embsay near Skipton – August
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 Richard 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.
Feetham, Low Row – July
Members again quickly agreed with a planning officer that a two extensions could be added to 1 Lilac Cottages at Feetham, Low Row.
The application by Stephen Muchmore was for a two storey extension to the west and a single storey extension to the rear of the end terrace cottage, as well as excavating part of the garden to form a level patio.
Melbecks Parish Council had objected for the following reasons: that lowering the ground at the rear would increase the potential for flooding to Lilac Cottages; the existing sewerage tank was insufficient if the cottage was upgraded and a package treatment plant should be installed; parking problems; and that increasing the number of bedrooms from two to three would reduce the opportunity for local young people to get on the housing ladder and stay in the dale. The parish council added that by extending the property it was likely it would become a second home or a holiday let.
Ed Jagger, the agent for Mr Muchmore, however, assured the committee that the owners planned to move their family to Fleetham on a permanent basis and that the cottage would not become a second home.
He pointed out that the proposed extensions were similar but on a smaller scale to those at the other two properties in the terrace and the rear gardens had already been excavated at them. He said: ‘The rear of the existing building [1 Lilac Cottage] is constructed into the hillside using traditional stone walling with no cavity. Consequently the back wall suffers from significant damp. The excavation of the rear garden will allow the walls to dry out and any surface water be dealt with in a controlled manner rather than running against the rear wall.’
He added that there would not be any increase in the bathroom or kitchen provision. The proposal was for the existing bathroom to become an en-suite to an existing bedroom and for the downstairs shower room to be replaced with a new first floor bathroom.
The planning officer stated that although the availability of affordable housing was important to the Authority and was included in the Local Plan the issue was not addressed by placing restrictions on homeowners who wanted to extend or improve their properties.
Cllr John Amsden commented that it was only right to question whether the sewerage provision was up to date. ‘We have to keep in mind the environmental issues,’ he said.
Gaisgill, Cumbria – August
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.
Cllr 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.
Gawthrop near Dent – October
The walk through Gawthrop near Dent has been described as one of the best in the Yorkshire Dales, member Ian McPherson told the committee.
He said this was a site of great tranquillity which exemplified the wild and peaceful beauty one expected in the National Park, and was of great interest both historically and topographically. That was why he, unlike the majority of the committee, could not support an application to convert Upper Barn at Combe House in Gawthrop into a three bedroom local occupancy dwelling or holiday cottage even though he accepted that a refusal could be overturned at appeal.
He referred to the objection made by the Friends of the Dales. Besides stating that this was a remote and beautiful location that had many features of high nature conservation importance the society also objected on the grounds that the barn did not meet the definition of ‘roadside’.
Cllr Amsden also queried this. The planning officer replied that the policy was that a traditional barn was either roadside or within a building group to be eligible for conversion. She said that Upper Barn formed a group of buildings with Combe House.
She stated that the conversion of the building to a dwelling house or a holiday let would ensure the long-term future of the listed building. ‘Without such a use, the building is likely to deteriorate over time. There is, therefore, no satisfactory alternative.’
Dent Parish Council had objected on the grounds that the barn was a heritage asset and that the planned work would be detrimental and disproportionate to such an asset. The parish council also has a policy not to support any applications for short term (holiday) lets in Dentdale as it considers the number of these to be excessive.
The planning officer reported that the barn had been altered in 2005 when permission was granted to convert the barn into an ancillary domestic store and dwelling (the latter did not take place).
New openings had been inserted then and the planning officer had insisted that the insertion of any more would be harmful to the significance of the building. But as the barn had been re-roofed she believed there would be no loss of historic fabric by installing three rooflights. She added: ‘The harm caused to the listed building through the insertion of rooflights would be less than substantial when weighing against the public benefits of securing its optimum viable use.’
The latest plans were also amended to reduce the amount of curtilage. She reported that there was a public right of way immediately behind the barn where the proposed new curtilage will be. However, a diversion order (not yet legally sealed) has been made to redirect the path further to the east. The only advice was that the public right of way should remain free from obstruction.
Grassington – October
All but one of the committee voted to approve a farm visitor attraction with agricultural museum, whisky distillery and tea room at Gam Farm even though there were warnings that Grassington could be overwhelmed with traffic.
‘Grassington will wonder what’s hit it,’ commented Allen Kirkbride about the increase in traffic that could be expected following the new series of All Things Great and Small. And Cllr Robert Heseltine warned that the visitor attraction at Gam Farm could also become very popular.
Which was why Cllr Richard Foster was very concerned about the impact on Grassington. ‘I do see the need for diversification. I do see that this could be a benefit to Grassington. But the main street is one car wide with cars going up and down.’ He agreed that people should be encouraged to park at the National Park’s car park and then walk along Main Street to Gam Farm.
The planning officer reported that North Yorkshire County Highways Authority had stated, following a transport assessment commissioned by the applicants, that it didn’t expect the increase in traffic through Grassington to be significant.
Grassington Parish councillors had been divided with some supporting the application and others being very concerned about the increase in traffic and parking at Grassington.
The application included a 25 space car park to the immediate north of the farmstead with 11 overspill spaces to the rear of the whisky distillery.
One of the owners of the farm, Chris Wray, told the committee: ‘We will encourage everybody to park at the bottom of the village … and everybody will be encouraged to see this as a day out in Grassington and to walk up through the town.’
He explained that he and his wife had built up the farm from 10 acres about 17 years ago to 235 acres now. ‘It is now home for a whole variety of rare breeds which includes sheep, goats, pigs, poultry and cattle. We are particularly proud of our cattle as we have northern dairy shorthorn [Dales Dairy Shorthorn]. These cattle were virtually extinct but we have built up a herd of 60 cattle and it is one of the largest herds in the country.’
He added that the farm was not viable with livestock sales alone. ‘I have to emphasise how everything has to link together and unless we join everything else together it will fail.’ The application included an agricultural worker’s dwelling because, he said, it was absolutely essential to live on site.
The planning officer stated that the Wrays will specialise in traditional farming practices and rare breeds and an agricultural surveyor had confirmed that the existing farm was large enough to require 1.4 full time workers and, therefore, a dwelling. The planning officer said the four-bedroom dwelling would be relatively large but there were substantiated personal circumstances which included the possibility that the principal worker would require assistance sometimes at unsociable hours.
Residents had been concerned about the scale, height and prominence of the house due to it being on the brow of a hill. The planning officer reported that the building had been reduced in height and the design had been simplified so that, within the context of the farmstead, it would not have an adverse landscape impact.
She said modern farm buildings will be converted to create the tea room, the farming museum, a stable, a craft display area and storage for the whisky distillery. A new large building will house the distillery and, once the open farm is operational, visitors will be able to taste and purchase it.
As the whole farm is on the brow of the hill the owners have agreed to extensive tree planting to screen the site.
Grinton – March
It has taken several hearings at planning committee meetings and almost certainly a high cost financially and emotionally to a young farming couple before they finally gained permission to convert Shoemaker Barn at Grinton into their home.
In October 2018 an application to convert the barn was approved – but against officer recommendation. So it was referred back to the meeting in December 2018 when the majority accepted the officers’ recommendation to refuse it (see Barns and Yurts). Chris Porter applied again in 2019 once he was working full-time in the family business of JW Porter & Sons which farms lands from Oxnop and Summer Lodge to Grinton in Swaledale. This meant he could apply for permission to convert the barn into an agricultural worker’s dwelling.
Member Allen Kirkbride told the committee at the meeting in November 2019: ‘This will turn an eyesore into a home for a young family which is going to live in the Dales and farm in the Dales.’
And Mr Porter’s agent, John Akrigg, stated: ‘This Authority is aware of the fragility of hill farming and is committed to work with stakeholders to safeguard its future. If members support this application … they will do something positive and send a message to other young people that they have a place here.’
But the planning officer had recommended refusal arguing that there wasn’t evidence that the farm business’s land at Grinton did require a full-time worker even though the proposal included a new agricultural building to house rams over winter and lamb sheep in the spring. So when the majority of the members voted in favour of approval the application was once more referred back.
At the meeting in December 2019 the members again accepted there was a functional need for an additional agricultural worker’s dwelling to serve the JW Porter & Sons business. But the majority agreed with the planning officers that if the barn conversion could be approved only if tied by a legal agreement to the farm business as a whole. They did not want the converted barn to be sold later and the family then arguing there was a need for an additional dwelling at Oxnop where most of the business is located.
At the March meeting the planning officer informed the committee that he had been told by the agent that a legal agreement could not be completed as the land ownership was complex and the business did not own any of the land. The agency stated that various family members and some non-members made land available to the business by virtue of a combination of gratuitous licences, tenancy agreements and grazing licences. This meant the applicants could not compel the various owners to enter into such a legal agreement.
The planning officer had, therefore, recommended that the application should be refused. But after negotiations with the couple it was proposed to tie the barn legally to a person employed in full time agriculture on the land at Oxnop, Summer Lodge and Crackpot.
This was agreed unanimously. As he left the meeting Chris Porter thanked the members and staff for making it possible for him and his wife to achieve their dream of being able to continue to live and work in the National Park.
Horton in Ribblesdale – August
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.
Horton in Ribblesdale, Arcow Quarry – August
The road between Arcow and Dry Rigg Quarries near Horton in Ribblesdale is often covered in silt Cllr 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.
Ingleton Quarry – February
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 2020.
Cllr 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.’
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.
Cllr 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.
Ingleton – March
A decision to begin enforcement action against the owners of the Falls Country Park at Beezley Farm, Oddies Lane, Ingleton, was deferred because ‘real willingness’ had been shown by the owners to reduce the visual impact of the recently installed hard surfacing for caravan pitches.
The head of development management, Richard Graham, told the committee: ‘There is a real willingness to resolve the situation. They have offered to do work to reduce the visual impact of the site with a range of measures including tree planting.’ He explained that some of the suggested work would require planning approval and the applications would take time to prepare.
Cllr David Ireton pointed out that the caravan site was near Ingleton Quarry and a large car park. He added that tourism was a key part of the area’s economy.
Member Jocelyn Manners-Armstrong, however, believed that approval should have been given for enforcement action but with a longer time for compliance because of the history of the situation.
The enforcement officer had reported that an enforcement case had been opened in June 2017 when she had seen that land had been excavated to level the field. On a later visit she saw that aggregate had been laid forming a formal circular track and hard standings for siting caravans. Tarmac had been laid on the newly created gateway.
The agent had maintained that the 1992 planning permission was not clear and the works carried out were permitted as a requirement of the site licence. The enforcement officer, however, stated: ‘It is clear that the conditions and reasons within the planning decision notice support the conclusion that short stay caravans refers to touring caravans. The planning permission does not authorise the siting of any static caravans.’
She added that Craven District Council Environmental Health Team had confirmed that there were no provisions for levelling the land, the laying of hard standings and for the installation of tracks under the terms of site licences for touring sites.
She reported that the field was located in a highly visible location and the engineering operations had resulted in a fairly naturalised grassed field being materially altered. It would be possible to see the hard surfacing even when the site was closed between January 14 and March 1 each year. ‘The extent of the engineering operations carried out to date are wholly inappropriate for a touring site having a harmful impact on the natural beauty of the National Park landscape,’ she said. (The hard standings are very apparent on a Google Satellite map.)
Cllr John Amsden suggested that the aggregate should be replaced with grasscrete because that would blend in better.
Langcliffe, Settle – August
With just days to spare an application to develop part of the disused Langcliffe Quarry was fully supported by the planning committee 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.
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.
Cllr 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 YDNPA, unlike neighbouring district councils, did not provide full details of objections and representations on its website.
Linton Camp – October
Permission was granted for a 67 bedroom visitor complex with a spa, a gym, a bar and a restaurant to replace the now derelict Linton Camp even though there were many objections from local parish councils.
Ms G Wilkins, who spoke on behalf of the Linton community, told the committee: ‘Running a hotel and spa at this scale would require around the clock activity creating noise and light pollution and thereby destroying the tranquillity of the area.’ It would, she said, have a detrimental impact upon the local Dark Skies Festival for generations to come.
Linton Parish Council had informed the Authority that it considered the amount and scale of the proposed development to be excessive and inappropriate in such a rural location within the National Park. It stated: ‘Government planning policy advises that such major developments should be refused in National Parks unless there are exceptional circumstances. No such circumstances exist.’
Member Neil Heseltine said there were many concerns about the scale of the development and asked for clarification about the definition of a major development.
The head of development manager, Richard Graham, responded that there were two pieces of legislation referring to ‘major developments’. In the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) it was defined as a test as to whether or not a development, due to its scale and setting, would have a significant adverse impact that would compromises the purposes of a designated special landscape. According to the NPPF it was up to the planning authority to decide if a proposal was a major development or not. He continued:
‘Officers do acknowledge that [this] is a relatively large development in a sensitive landscape. However, because of the nature and the setting of the site and the nature of the proposals we believe that the effects… can be mitigated such that they wouldn’t have a significant adverse impact…’
Under another piece of legislation, he said, a major development was categorised as being over 1000 sq m or more than 10 dwellings. ‘Because the same term is used its often confused that the major development test refers to anything that’s over 1000 sq m or over 10 dwellings. That’s not the case. It’s a decision made based on the nature, scale and setting and potential impact of the development would have. As officers we considered that this proposal isn’t a major development.’
Craven District councillor Richard Foster was obviously not fully convinced for later he pointed out that an application to extend a caravan site had been refused on the basis of being a ‘major development’. ‘This seemed to be not major because it was a derelict site,’ he said.
Allen Kirkbride commented that some years ago there had been a lot of objections to the development of a derelict site in the centre of Askrigg. ‘One of our main arguments was traffic – that cars would be going in and out endlessly. The fact of it is that you don’t notice its there. A lot of people park up for days at a time and they go out walking. They have brought an awful lot of financial input in the Upper Dale. The development has been nothing but a success in Wensleydale.’ He said he was impressed at the lengths the developers had gone to to hide the site near Linton.
Cllr John Amsden commented that the site was an eyesore and something had to be done with it. To that Cllr Robert Heseltine responded: ‘This site has shamefully been neglected with virtually no management or care for many decades,’ and asked if, by approving the application, the owners were being rewarded for having let the site become an eyesore.
The planning officer told the committee that Linton Camp, which was established in 1939 to provide holiday accommodation for city children, was classed in the Local Plan as an allocated business opportunity site which included visitor accommodation. She stated the site was highly prominent in an attractive open landscape and that the proposed development was extensive with part of the hotel extending into the greenfield area. She said the height of the building had been reduced so that it would not be so visible and would have a curved grass roof. The applicant had also reduced the number of units from 61 to 49 and the scale of the lodge developments, with the latter partially below the ground levels of those outside the site.
‘The siting of the buildings represents the most sensitive solution to ensuring that such buildings work with the topography to minimise their landscape impact,’ she said.
Neil Heseltine also asked what protocols the Authority had in place to ensure that all the conditions included in the approval of the application would be discharged.
The planning officer responded: ‘We will carefully word conditions to make sure they are carried out at the appropriate times in the development. Some will be at a relatively early stage and will need to be confirmed and the details agreed with us. We work with the developers very closely to make sure that the details are what we anticipated when permission was granted. If conditions are not complied with we have the option to enforce those conditions.’
Cllr Cosima Towneley stated: ‘I will support this on the grounds that I think it is innovative – a very good plan and it will have long term gains for the National Park.’
The majority agreed and voted to give permission to the head of development management to complete all the detailed work on the application including conditions. These will include: tree planting and landscaping, archaeological evaluation and recording, lighting strategy [to try and minimise impact on Dark Skies], noise mitigation, and the implementation of a sustainable travel plan.
Thorpe Parish Meeting and Threshfield Parish Council had also objected to the application and, like Linton Parish Council, were especially concerned about traffic congestion on the narrow roads around the site. The very detailed objection from Linton Parish Council included photographs showing the problems that had been experienced in the last few years.
‘The sustained influx of visitors to the YDNP and to Linton specifically has placed a number of unbearable burdens on the local community. The local services are already failing to cope with visitor numbers. If approved the development would add a material, additional population to the village and broader area that is failing to cope with the current influx of visitors, traffic, litter and anti-social behaviour. We feel that this would irrevocably destroy the delicate fabric of the community that makes the Dales such a unique special place,’ It stated.
Low Row, Swaledale – March
The planning committee unanimously approved a much reduced extension to Hazel Brown Farm Visitor Centre.
Cath Calvert, who created the visitor centre in 1996 to supplement the income of their farm in Swaledale, told the committee: ‘At this stage I would like to hand over to the next generation. I am very fortunate that my daughters, Ruth and Beth, are keen to step up to the challenge.
‘I feel this is a great opportunity not only for the farm but the tourism offer in the Dales.’ She added that they had worked with the planning officers to try and adapt the application. ‘We appreciate your support,’ she said.
The original application included a first-floor extension to the centre that would have five hotel-style rooms but the Highways Authority and local residents objected because of the increase of traffic using the access lane from the B6270.
At its meeting in February the planning committee deferred making a decision to see if a solution could be found. The Highways Authority recommended refusing the next application, again because of the limited visibility at the junction with the B6270 even though the five hotel-style rooms had been removed. It stated: ‘The intensification of use which would result from the proposed development is unacceptable in terms of highway safety.’
This led to further discussions between the applicant, Ruth Calvert, and planning officers. The planning officer told the committee at the March meeting that the visitor centre would continue to operate in accordance with the opening times agreed when permission was granted for the visitor centre with opening times restricted to 9am to 6pm and limited operation to the months March to September.
He said that given that there would be no extension of the building and no change of use, it was reasonable to assume that the number of vehicles using the sub-standard access would remain at a similar level as now. The Highways Authority had now raised no objections but the planning officer added that a management plan, secured with a legal agreement, was necessary to ensure that only groups which had booked in advance to visit the centre could use the cafe and play space. Many schools book educational visits to Hazel Brow.
The reconfiguration of the ground floor of the visitor centre was, therefore, approved so that it will become a multi-purpose area with a cafe, reception and play area, and that glazed doors could be inserted so as to provide more light.
Permission was also granted for converting the Joiner’s Shop into two holiday lets or for local occupancy (with legal agreement). The access to the Joiner’s Shop is different to that to the visitor centre.
In his report the planning officer stated: ‘It is proposed that courses and workshops based around traditional farming techniques such as butter making, spinning and weaving, as well as yoga and photography, would be provided at the visitor centre.’
Member Allen Kirkbride commented: ‘I am pleased that in the month since we deferred this that the planning officer and the applicant have been able to get together and come up with a good solution.’ He added that for years the visitor centre had been very popular tourist attraction with many people going there to experience farming.
The committee quickly approved an amendment to the application from Hazel Brow Farm Visitor Centre which for a path to be relocated so that it wouldn’t affect the amenity of a neighbouring dwelling.
The footpath will provide access from the visitor centre with holiday accommodation to the main road in Low Row.
Malham – July
It was agreed that a small barn adjacent to the village green at Finkle Street in Malham can be converted into a takeaway refreshment kiosk.
Kirkby Malhamdale Parish Council reported that there had been a high level of concern in Malham about the application for several reasons. These included wanting to protect the village green and any increase in car parking.
It stated: ‘We have extreme problems with parking already in Malham and are working with Area 5 Highways and NYCC to implement further traffic management initiatives in Malham village, some of which will be established and finally implemented during 2020 after many years of effort on our part.’
Rachael Caton, who had made the application with her husband Ashley, told the committee during its virtual meeting: ‘Our family have lived and worked in Malhamdale for over 100 years and we are very respectful of the surrounding village green and the need to protect its unique status.
‘The concerns of local residents have been very carefully considered in the management plan submitted as part of this application and these are reflected in the proposed conditions relating to opening hours, lighting, signage, bin storage and the lack of parking for customers.’
She said there would be no seating for customers outside the kiosk which would be accessed from a new door onto their own land. ‘The barn benefits from the footfall of walkers [going] to Gordale Scar via a permitted footpath which runs across our farmland.’
This farm-diversification project would not only provide walkers and cyclists with locally-sourced refreshments but also employment as both she and her husband were busy farming, she added.
The planning officer told the committee that staff and deliveries could use the existing track to the barn. There would be limited seating available inside for those waiting to be served with takeaway food.
He explained that the barn was substantially rebuilt around 2009 and so was not considered to be a traditional agricultural building. Some of the features introduced previously will be removed, such as replacing the ornate arch over the cart opening with a simple flat lintel, and blocking up one of the new windows on the upper floor.
He added: ‘Malham is a key visitor centre in the National Park. The proposal makes use of an underused building within a prominent location. [It] would contribute to the attractiveness of Malham as a visitor location of more than local importance. This is an important factor in consideration of the potential impact of the Covid-19 global pandemic on the economy of the National Park.’
Local councillors including Cllr Richard Foster were happy that the concerns of the parish council had been met.
Mansergh – December
The application by Gareth Cowan for two additional holiday lodges at Hawkrigg Lune Valley Park at Hawkrigg Farm, Mansergh, was also unanimously approved.
Mansergh Parish Meeting had told the Authority: ‘Whilst most people were sympathetic about farms needing to diversify to maintain income, a substantial majority believe that the existing 20 lodges is enough. The site has grown considerably over the years in small numbers and, in the event of this application being approved, there will be another next year to extend again.
‘Any extra lodges will add to the traffic problems already being experienced on the road leading from the B6254 to the farm entrance. This road is now extremely busy due to there being a horse livery yard further down … and there is a big increase in the number of cyclists and walkers.’
Kirkby Lonsdale Town Council did not object because, it said, as only two lodges were proposed and natural screening was already in place. But it did state it would oppose any further proposed additions.
Mr Cowan told the committee that the additional lodges would be a benefit to the local farm shop and that they encouraged those staying at the lodges to participate in community events. He added: ‘This is our home and our livelihood.’
Members agreed that the two additional lodges would not have a detrimental impact on the landscape and accepted the advice of the Highways Authority that the slight increase in vehicular use was unlikely to have a significant material affect on existing highway conditions.
Millthrop, Sedbergh – July
Land available for housing in the Yorkshire Dales was so precious it should not be wasted a planning officer told the committee.
A planning officer stated this at the end of her lengthy analysis of the application for permission to erect eight new houses on land opposite Derry Cottages in Millthrop, Sedbergh. The committee voted unanimously to accept her recommendation that the proposal should be refused.
She reported that 15 dwellings could be built on the site rather than eight, and that was a wasteful use of land. She said: ‘On the face of it, it would appear that the proposed layout has been contrived to avoid the provision of on-site affordable housing contribution particularly through the provision of large executive-style homes on the majority of the site. Fifteen units would go much further to delivering the Authority’s housing objectives as well as delivering more community benefit.’
She stated that half of the proposed houses with their gardens would take up two thirds of the site and that the design and layout of the proposed development was contrary to the prevalent character of Millthrop which, in a good proportion of the hamlet, has a very high density.
The proposal was for a terrace of four properties, semi-detached houses and two large detached ones. The planning officer did not feel that any of the houses were in keeping with the Authority’s design guide and said: ‘The larger semi-detached dwellings are neither a bespoke modern dwelling nor a good barn conversion style. It is considered that they are a poor hybrid that cherry picks architectural features from each building type and mixes them together in an unsuccessful manner.’
Member Ian McPherson, who is a Sedbergh parish councillor, commented: ‘Millthrop is arguably one of the most attractive hamlets in the Park. It is far too attractive to be spoiled by the proposed development.
‘This application offends in almost every particular. It is seriously flawed.
‘First of all there is the failure to meet the density required which, if it had been done, would have required on-site affordable housing. Second, we have heard the design, siting and layout are inadequate and would be detrimental to the character of Millthrop.
‘Thirdly, we have many, many instances where the applicants have failed to provide adequate information requested by the planning officers regarding, amongst other things: the impact of the development on neighbouring amenity; surface water run-off; the problems regarding foul sewerage and highway safety.
‘On top of which the applicants have been particularly unwilling to engage in constructive discussion with the planning officers on alternative ways forward.’
Sedbergh Parish Council had told the Authority that although some new open market housing would help to balance the market locally it was concerned about highway safety issues and the concept of the developer paying a commutable sum towards affordable housing instead of building some. It stated: ‘As the application represents a significant development for the Parish it was unanimously felt it would be better if the developer could be encouraged towards other options that would actually benefit the community.’
Three members of the committee (Julie Martin, Ian McPherson and Cllr Robert Heseltine) had declared an interest as they were members of the Friends of the Dales, which had objected to the application. Martin, who was re-elected as chair of the planning committee, declared that she was a trustee of the Friends of the Dales and stated: ‘I haven’t been party to any discussions on this issue.’
All three said they believed they could participate in the planning committee discussion and vote – and did.
Stainforth – July
Stainforth Parish Council had objected to the application for a lambing shed on land west of Sherwood Brow because the building had already been erected and as it was close to the roadside.
Cllr David Ireton commented that it was a shame that the farmer, Mr Newhouse, had not applied first but all the committee members agreed with the planning officer that the retrospective application should be approved.
The planning officer explained that the building was set down from the road and its eaves were roughly at road level. He showed pictures to support his argument that the timber-clad shed was not too visible and would not have a negative impact upon the landscape.
He said the lambing shed would serve the needs of a small farming enterprise and that no alterative sites within the owner’s ownership had been identified that were still easily accessible.
Tebay – May
A camping cabin purpose-built for providing holiday accommodation for the disabled can be erected at High Woodend Farm overlooking Tebay.
The chair of Tebay Parish Council, Adrian Todd, informed the committee that if the farm was not allowed to diversify if would become uneconomic and cease to exist.
And a member of the committee, Allen Kirkbride, pointed out that such specialised accommodation for handicapped people was very rare in the Dales.
A planning officer had recommended that the application should be refused because the cabin with its decking and parking area would be in such a prominent position on a hill that it would harm the character and visual quality of the rural landscape.
Member Jim Munday agreed and stated: ‘For my money one of the best sights in Britain is when you drive north from the Sedbergh turnoff of the M6 and on the east side of the road you see the Howgills. They are fantastic. Sadly, in my opinion, this structure would stand out like a sore thumb in what is an outstanding landscape.’
Another member, Ian McPherson who is a Sedbergh parish councillor, disagreed. ‘I know this area very, very well. The view that you get of Tebay [from the M6] is a mix of commercial, agriculture and residential housing. This is a matter of interpretation but I cannot agree with Mr Munday that [the cabin] would stand out like a sore thumb. I do not think you will notice it at all.
‘I think credit can be given to the applicants for the thought and consideration that they have put into planning this particular building and putting it in the only place they feel is viable for their farm to continue to be a working farm but provide good facilities as well.’
In his statement to the meeting Cllr Todd, said: ‘The application is for a single camping cabin providing much needed purpose-built disabled family accommodation for tourists in the Upper Lune valley. The cabin is specifically and carefully designed to include a wet room, fully adapted kitchen and other essential disabled facilities. Tourism is vital to the local economy, and it is important that the needs of every sector are catered for.
‘The building [will be] within the curtilage of the farm and located on the only suitable site taking into account the practical needs of this small working hill farm which is a factor that [planning] officers have failed to appreciate or properly and sensitively consider.
‘The survival of this upland livestock farm – and the way of life that goes with it – is hanging in the balance. If the farm is not allowed to diversify it will become uneconomic and cease to exist. This would be a devastating blow to the local community which places a very high value on its agricultural heritage.’
In her statement the applicant’s agent said: ‘Due to health and safety, accessibility and animal health reasons there is no option to locate the cabin elsewhere within the site that is less open. The chosen location allows the cabin to nestle against the backdrop of the existing farm buildings.’
The majority of the committee voted to approve the application against the officer’s recommendation. That usually meant the application would be referred back to the next meeting. But on this occasion Mr Graham stated that it would not be as members had put forward very good reasons and material considerations for approval.
These were that the development would provide an opportunity for farm diversification; provide tourism accommodation specifically designed for disabled and wheelchair-using visitors; the structure would not be overly prominent or out of place in the landscape; and that the design was innovative and would not be unduly harmful to the landscape.
Thornton in Lonsdale – February
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 Cllr 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.
Allen 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.
West Burton – June
If someone wanted to know all the reasons why an application for a barn conversion should be refused they should look at that for a barn in Eastfield Lane, near Eshington Bridge, West Burton, said member Ian McPherson. The application was refused.
The planning officer reported that the barn was roofless and that there was a large full-height crack on the right hand-side of the eastern gable. As there was no structural assessment, it was not known how much rebuilding work would be required to make it sound enough for conversion into a three-bedroom family home, he added. Nor were there any details about the provision of electricity, telephone or broadband access.
The highway authority had objected as the access to the site would require significantly improved visibility splays, a larger parking area and passing spaces along the narrow lane. The highway engineer had noted that the proposed parking area would obstruct access to the agricultural building for which permission has already been granted. This might mean that the parking area would have to be enlarged and so intrude further into the field, the planning officer said.
The applicants had stated that the access to the traditional barn would be on foot from the parking area and the planning officer believed this could mean that a paved path would have to be created.
He pointed out that traditional barns could only be converted into dwellings if they were within existing settlements, building groups, or in suitable roadside locations. As this barn did not have a track leading up to it, it was in the open countryside and was not covered by that policy he said.
The committee was told that it was much the same application as that refused by an officer under delegated powers in 2018.
Cllr John Amsden had asked for the committee to consider the application because the applicant, Mike Bell, had said he needed to be near his farm to look after his livestock. The planning officer reported that there was nothing in the application to show that Bell had an essential full-time agricultural need to live and work on the land.
Cllr Amsden accepted that there was a lack of information from the applicant. ‘As you are going to refuse it, he will just have to come back again with more information,’ he said.
Cllr Robert Heseltine commented: ‘If an application came back it would have to have full justification for agricultural [need].’
When answering a question from Cllr Towneley Mr Graham stated: ‘A bunk barn or camping barn is a much easier use than a dwelling and most camping barns require very little work to be done…to enable them to function. I think a well-designed camping barn in this location would probably fit with policy as it wouldn’t require curtilage. It wouldn’t require an extension, it wouldn’t necessarily require services to be provided, car parking, or any of the other attendant things required for the more intensive use that a permanently occupied dwelling requires.’
West Stonesdale – May
A young couples’ dream of diversifying their farm by the re-occupation of a Victorian moorland house near Keld in Swaledale has been held up due to lack of information and wildlife surveys.
The majority of the members voted to refuse an application by Mark and Linda Rukin to restore the two bedroom house known as High Frith at West Stonesdale, replace the roof to the rear lean-to and create a twin wheeling stone track to the property.
The head of development management, Richard Graham, told the committee that the decision could have been very different if the planning officers had received all the information they had requested over the past four years.
When asked why it had taken four years Mr Graham replied: ‘This was a finely balanced application. If you keep on asking for the information knowing these issues can be resolved and it might result in a positive recommendation then that’s what you do. We haven’t brought this application to committee at the drop of a hat just asking for refusal. It’s taken a long, long time and a lot of consideration. What’s been a little disconcerting or frustrating is that we only found out last week that the applicant had actually been changed. The ownership had been changed over two years ago.’
When presenting the planning report he said that this wasn’t a case of a young family in need of a home to be able to stay in the Dales as they already had one. The proposal was, he explained, for High Frith to be re-occupied to form an open market house. It was, he said, in a very remote upland location characterised by its wild natural beauty and tranquillity.
‘The house would need to be connected to central services which will entail providing 500 metres of electricity line. The agent says that this could be undergrounded but it is not clear that the very high cost or the feasibility of doing this has been properly investigated. It is not always possible to underground electricity cable in upland locations particularly where the bedrock is very close to the surface.
‘In addition, the building has potential to support bats and protected bird species. Unfortunately the original applicant considered that a proper survey would be an unnecessary expense. The lack of a proper survey of the building for protected species is a significant stumbling block. Without that information the Authority cannot discharge its legal duty under the Habitats Regulations and the Habitats Directive. The Authority would be acting unlawfully if permission is granted without a proper assessment.’
‘On one hand the proposal would conserve a traditional building albeit not one of any special significance. On the other hand there are questions about undergrounding power lines and protecting wildlife that have not been adequately addressed. The proposal would realise an asset for the farm business but in doing so would have a negative impact on the scenic beauty of a wild and tranquil upland landscape through the creation of a new track, the re-occupation of the building with lighting and curtilage developments, all of which is required for a house in permanent occupation.’
A statement from the applicants, Mark and Linda Rukin, was read: ‘We are a young couple and we have always lived and worked in the area. We’ve got two daughters aged six and four and we are expecting our third child in August. We are both from farming families in Swaledale and our goal is to continue living and working in the dale whilst raising our children. In the current climate with the future of farming being so uncertain, we’ve been encouraged to diversify where possible. We hoped that re-occupying High Frith would help to provide an additional income to allow us to continue farming traditionally in the uplands.
‘As custodians of the countryside, we’d hate to have to watch the former dwelling fall into a worse state of disrepair and become an eyesore, which we know will happen without some attention but without a use we just cannot justify any spending on the property.’
The Rukins pointed out that over time the stone used to resurface the twin-wheeling section of the track would blend into the landscape the same way as many other farm tracks have done.
Several members of the committee agreed with Mr Graham that the decision was a finely balanced one and that the lack of information, and especially the survey of protected species, was a major stumbling block.
However, Cllr Robert Heseltine commented: ‘To my mind the only justification for re-occupation would be the agricultural land management need and that would be with a clear agricultural tie.’ He also argued that a family dwelling in that remote location would be unsustainable due to such issues as the provision of local authority services and other services.
Cllr Richard Foster wanted to know what the family intended to do with the house if it was restored. He commented: ‘If its going to be sold off its not really going to help the farm business [but] holiday accommodation would.’
Member Allen Kirkbride proposed that the decision should be deferred for a month to give the family time to provide the information requested. He didn’t feel that the new proposed track would be so visible and pointed out that in Swaledale, Malhamdale and Upper Wharfedale there were many solitary farm houses up on the moors.
He said: ‘To have this one lived in again would be a great benefit. For the wildlife species the applicant is willing, if approval [is given] to do a wildlife survey up to the standard that is necessary. He can’t really see the point of having to spend a lot of money (he’s a dales farmer) to do a survey if it’s not going to get planning permission.’ Cllr Foster, who is a dales farmer, was not impressed with the reluctance to pay for the required surveys.
Supporting the call for deferral Cllr John Amsden said: ‘We have got to bring these houses back again. Is the National Park going to keep these barns and old houses in good condition or are you going to leave it to the farmers to do it? There’s a lot of houses high up [on the moors] and we want to bring these houses back [into use] again. It’s ridiculous just letting them fall down.’ He added that there had been a curtilage wall and a track at High Frith many years ago.
Cllr David Ireton asked what would happen if the application was refused. Mr Graham replied that the applicants would have six months in which to come back with a fresh application without having to pay another application fee. He added: ‘The list of information that members require and what we have asked for in the report is going to probably take longer than a month to provide.’
And so the majority voted to refuse the application.
Yarnbury – May
An application cannot be rejected because of supposition and rumour stated Cllr Cosima Towneley.
The committee unanimously approved a listed building application for internal alterations to the ground and first floors of Yarnbury Lodge in Old Moor Lane, Grassington, plus changing a door to a window after accepting the advice of the head of development management, Richard Graham, that the works would not cause significant harm to the Grade 2 listed building. The alterations include creating two new bathrooms.
In a statement to the meeting Maria Ferguson, the agent for the owners (Mr and Mrs Law) explained that the alterations related almost entirely to an extension which was built in 1998 and had no historic significance.
She told the committee: ‘There is suspicion and rumour that they intend this to be a commercial shooting lodge…or a hotel. This is not the case. There is no secret in the fact that Mr and Mrs Law live in London. Mr Law hails from the North of England and it is important he has a base here. His parents still live in the North. The intention is to use the property solely as a private residential dwelling for himself, family and close friends.’
She added that in objecting to the application Grassington Parish Council had failed to recognise the significant sum required to restore the property nor the economic benefits to the area as the Laws intended to employ locals to carry out the work. She explained that the Laws had also applied to improve and alter The Smithy which was near Yarnbury Lodge so that his parents could use it.
Cllr Richard Foster commented that it was a shame to lose two family homes but he accepted that the Laws did intend to live there some of the time. He also accepted Mr Graham’s advice that there was no reason to turn down the application.
Grassington Parish Council had commented that the application sought to change the internal layout from an historic family home and office to what could only be described as a mini hotel. The parish council asked what justification there was for such a change which would inevitably mean the loss of a historically significant building.
The Authority’s senior listed building officer stated that the amount of bathrooms was an issue because of the increased moisture content within the historic building; the application of waterproof materials such as paint and tiling could trigger more damp in an historic building; the number of bathrooms exceeded what was proportionate to the use and upset the balance between service rooms and other rooms expected in a historic house; and that the amount of tiling and bathroom fixtures would have a visual impact and the associated pipework could result in loss of damage of historic fabric and features.
A planning officer reported that in the mid 19th century the house had once been the home of the Duke of Devonshire’s mineral agent. He stated: ‘Yarnbury Lodge is an imposing house. It is listed in its own right but the listing description notes that it was probably part of the development of the whole site in association with the development of the lead mining industry at that time. There are four houses within Yarnbury, all the buildings within the area are listed and much of the surrounding area is a Scheduled Ancient Monument.