ARC News Service reports on the meeting of the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority’s ( YDNPA ) planning committee on August 2. The applications discussed involved: Fell View Barn and The Angel Inn at Hetton; glamping pods at Town End Farm, Airton; and by GTEC to convert at barn at Hawes.
Pip Pointon attends and reports on the YDNPA planning committee meetings as part of the commitment to local democracy by the Association of Rural Communities.
A decision concerning the application by the owners of The Angel Inn at Hetton to increase the number of guest suites at Fell View Barn has again been deferred by the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority’s planning committee.
When proposing deferral at the planning committee meeting on Tuesday August 2 North Yorkshire County councillor Robert Heseltine said: ‘This application is anti-social and disruptive to the quiet living of Hetton residents.’
He quoted the planning officer’s report that Hetton had a quiet, traditional character and that The Angel already had a dominant and busy business in the centre of it. ‘The plan before us today will significantly exacerbate this already unacceptable dominance,’ he said.
The reasons he gave for deferment were: the inadequate and unworkable parking arrangements; significant increase in parking on the highway; the detrimental impact on the well-being and health of livestock in an adjoining agricultural barn; a new residential unit (holiday suite) within six inches (15mm) of a livestock building and the removal of any maintenance facility to the latter.
He said the construction of a residential unit and a storage shed so close to a livestock barn would completely stop any ventilation which was critical for livestock. He pointed out that planning officers would never support a substantial livestock barn being built that close to a residential unit. And he was concerned about a new 1.9m high stone wall being built 150mm from the barn.
‘It does concern me greatly that we are going to allow buildings so close to a farm and we could easily end up losing the livestock on the farm. I have seen that happen,’ said North Yorkshire County councillor Yvonne Peacock.
The planning officer stated that whether it was legal or not to construct the wall was a private matter between the owner of the farm building and the applicant and was not a planning requisite. But Cllr Heseltine and several other members pointed out that the wall was included in the planning application.
Cllr Heseltine reported that there had been a professional survey of the parking situation in the village which had concluded that the proposals in the application would be dangerous to both drivers and pedestrians in Hetton. He said that North Yorks County Highways had not carried out due diligence on the critical parking proposals and had accepted on face value the provisions by the applicants.
Both he and Craven District councillor Richard Foster questioned the lack of parking for those employed at The Angel and Fell View Barn. Cllr Foster told the meeting that there was no bus service in the evenings and so staff had to drive to Hetton.
Some members were also concerned about the lack of biodiversity especially in the car park at the front of Fell View Barn and the impact on the appearance of the village.
The majority of the members of the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority’s planning committee voted to approve the siting of four glamping pods at Town End Farm, Airton, subject to a new landscaping plan.
The planning officer had recommended refusal. She stated: ‘The proposed pods, lighting and associated development would form prominent and incongruous visual features within the landscape as well as introducing a high level of human activity in a landscape with a quiet and undeveloped character.’
But North Yorkshire County councillor Robert Heseltine told the meeting: ‘This is a small scale development related to the existing business and I would have thought that, subject to tree planting, that the proposal will blend into that landscape. I do think, in this instance, that the recommendation for refusal is rather a harsh one.’
Richmondshire District councillor Richard Good agreed with him and stated: ‘This is an excellent plan. I cannot understand refusing it.’
Member Mark Corner, however, said that although the Authority had a duty to support economic development it also had a duty to conserve the landscape and the natural beauty of the dales. Unlike Member Allen Kirkbride, he did feel that in the proposed location the pods would stick out like a sore thumb. He asked why the pods could not be sited nearer to the farm instead of in the open fields.
The farmer, Chris Hall, told the committee: ‘With the support of the YDNP in 2003 my wife, Jane, and I diversified by converting a modern agricultural building into a farm shop and tearoom, and a traditional barn into three self-catering holiday lets. These businesses have been a great success – the PO [post office] is now part of the farm shop, providing another service to the community. Town End is at the heart of Airton and needs to continue in its role within the community, ensuring its future by this small scale addition of alternative guest accommodation.’
He said that his children wanted to take over these businesses now he and his wife wished to retire but there wasn’t sufficient income to support two families. The glamping pods would, therefore, provide crucial income he explained.
The pods, he said, would be well screened from the south, west and east by the farm steading and drystone walls. ‘They would be positioned in such a way that only the top of the gables will be visible from the north above the dry stone wall, when driving south from Kirkby Malham. The planting of mature trees will further screen them.’
He added: ‘We have visited other sites where pods, shepherd’s huts and caravan sites within the YDNP have been approved and noted that they are far more visible than this proposed site. We also note that these approvals haven’t requested that dry stone walls and mature trees exist at the time of application, only that they should be put in place during the development of the sites.
‘The chosen site for the pods is the best site for them, taking landscape and the visual impact into consideration and we do want to make the least impact possible.’
He also told the committee: ‘Over 95% of the National Park is in private ownership, our farm being part of that and, therefore, it is us and other local people who farm the land and run the businesses who are the custodians of the National Park. We, as custodians, acknowledge that this is a special landscape and want to keep it as such.’
When asked later if the decision would be referred back the head of development management stated: ‘The application will not be referred back to the next meeting but will be determined pending the submission of an acceptable landscaping scheme. We have not had an acceptable landscaping scheme yet so the application is still outstanding.’
Once again an application to convert a barn in Old Gayle Lane, Hawes, into a dwelling has been refused by the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority’s planning committee.
At its meeting on Tuesday August 3 Neil Heseltine, who is chairman of the Authority, told the committee that there had been no significant change in the latest application submitted by GTEC Property Holdings since an Inspector dismissed an appeal in April this year regarding the previous one. ‘To agree with it at this stage after that inspector’s assessment, would be to drive a bus through our own Local Plan,’ he commented. He added that the present application was contrary to five of the policies in the Authority’s Local Plan.
Member Allen Kirkbride, however, maintained that it did fit the Authority’s policy for a roadside barn including having had a track to it. ‘A barn of this size would have had a track to it [and] it would have been used two to three times a day,’ he said.
He and North Yorkshire County councillor Yvonne Peacock argued that it was not in the open countryside as stated by the planning officer, because there was a caravan site on the other side of the road, and dwellings and a cattle market nearby.
Craven District councillor Richard Foster said that without another use the barn would decay. He added: ‘We have a barn policy that doesn’t specify definitively how close to a road a barn has to be. I would like to see some work done with the applicant about the curtilage – let’s pass this and put the right conditions in.’
‘We are a bit hypocritical about roadside barns,’ commented Richmondshire District councillor John Amsden. He, like Kirkbride and North Yorkshire County councillor Robert Heseltine, pointed out that sometimes applications to convert barns had been refused permission even when they were right next to a road, and others had been granted permission when there was no track across a field to them.
The majority of the committee, however, agreed with the planning officer who stated: ‘The traditional field barn, some 29m from the roadside and not served by an access track, does not accord with the locational requirements of [Local Plan] policy. Furthermore, the proposed development would lead to a significant degree of landscape harm through the creation olf a dwelling with a large curtilage and the associated domestic paraphernalia that would be expected with it, the proposed parking area and a widened access track. The proposal would harm the rural, pastoral setting of this visually isolated farm barn and the scenic beauty and pastoral character of the landscape.’