ARC News Service reports on the meeting of the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority’s planning committee on October 25 when the following were discussed: additional guest rooms for The Angel Inn, Hetton; a new Technology Centre at Sedbergh School; additional livestock housing at Gildersbeck Farm, Melmerby; an agricultural building at Hebden; an ice cream trailer at Burnsall; and additional route for timber lorries from the Ingleborough Estate passing through Austwick to the A65.
These reports are prepared by Pip Pointon on a voluntary basis as part of the commitment of the Association of Rural Communities to local democracy.
It was decided that the number of guest suites at The Angel Inn complex in Hetton can be increased.
The decision was deferred in August because committee members were very concerned about the impact of a new wall on a livestock shed and questioned if the car park would be adequate. Wellock Estates Limited, which owns The Angel Inn, had applied to create five new guest rooms and to alter the car parking provision at Fell View Barn.
The planning officer told the October meeting that an amended application there would be a wall only at the end of the proposed extension which would be 500mm from the livestock shed.
North Yorkshire County Councillor Robert Heseltine argued that it would still be difficult for the farmer to maintain the livestock shed if there was such a small space between it and one end of the extension. He added that the three guest rooms in the extension would be so close to the shed that there would be complaints about the smells and noise. ‘This could lead to the disappearance of another Dales farming business,’ he said.
He agreed with Craven District councillor Richard Foster who commented: ‘This is over-development in a very small village. The car park will not accommodate what the business is producing.’
They proposed that the application should be refused. But the head of development management, Richard Graham, said that if the majority voted for refusal the application would be referred back to the next meeting. He explained: ‘I have doubts about the soundness of the reasons put forward. If it went to appeal officers would have to produce evidence to convince an appeal inspector that the North Yorkshire County Council’s highways engineer is wrong [about the car park] and that Craven District’s environmental health officer is wrong on health issues.’
The environmental health officer had stated that although noise and odour from the cattle shed would affect the hotel suites that would not be classed as a statutory nuisance given the temporary nature of the accommodation. They did not believe this would jeopardise the farm business but might affect the uptake of the hotel accommodation by guests. The officer explained: ‘Therefore it would be at the risk of the hotel to build new suites there. There is guidance on new agricultural buildings not being built within 400m of an existing residential dwelling … as this is for guest accommodation, I’m not aware of any similar guidance.’
The planning officer reported that the applicants had submitted an amended parking plan which showed 23 parking spaces each measuring 2.4m by 4.8m in line with the county council’s specifications. The highways officer had confirmed these dimensions were acceptable and that vehicles would be able to manoeuvre within the site.
The majority of the members felt that the amendments were sufficient and voted to approve the application.
Sedbergh School can build a Technology Centre which will not only transform the educational facilities of its own students but also serve other local schools and businesses.
The committee unanimously approved the school’s application even though the Authority’s own senior listed building officer and trees and woodlands officer had objected to the application.
Richard Graham told the committee: ‘ It has been a difficult planning application for officers to assess. There are clear elements of harm in this proposal – the removal of trees and harm to heritage assets. On the other hand there are clear benefits both to the local and wider economy.’
The committee accepted the planning officer’s recommendation to approve the application which included a replacement of the car parking area and the demolition of a toilet block. She reported that the school with 450 employees was the largest employer in the National Park and the development would create a further seven full-time jobs.
Peter Marshall, the school’s Chief Operating Officer, told the committee: ‘The purpose of the Technology Centre is not just for a new technology-based curriculum. It will enable the transformation in teaching to our children for tomorrow’s jobs, and to maintain our competitiveness as a major employer.’
He said that several sites had been considered but it was believed that on the north side of the listed buildings would be the best option for movement between the academic facilities and would form a new heart of the school around a central courtyard. He added that more trees would be planted including a memorial plantation.
Member Mark Corner commented: ‘I think it’s a very impressive facility and I have got no issue with the need for it or the benefits it will bring. I just want to be convinced that all the alternatives have been assessed. I realise that a trade-off has to be made if they want students to get to their lessons quickly but there must be alternative sites which would work without damaging the trees and the historical assets.’
The planning officer reported that several mature trees would be felled and that the toilet block to be demolished was within the curtilage of listed buildings. She said the Technology Centre would be close to and affect the views of three listed buildings.
She told the committee, however: ‘It is considered that the proposed development would cause less than substantial harm to several heritage assets.’ She said that the benefits to the local economy and community had been considered as well as the proposed building being of high quality design and materials and added: ‘[This] would create a a visually interesting and highly sustainable feature building. The loss of the mature trees is highly regrettable. The trees have significant amenity value in their own right but also contribute to the setting of the listed buildings.’
South Lakeland District councillor Ian Mitchell said the advantages outweighed the disadvantages and the application was supported by Sedbergh Parish Council and South Lakeland District Council.
The latter had informed the Authority: ‘The development would assist in building the wider South Cumbria area’s reputation as a centre of science, technology and engineering with the opportunity to link the centre to the advanced manufacturing and engineering businesses in Kendal, Ulverston and Barrow-in-Furness and to local universities. It would provide opportunities for other local schools, such as those listed in the Community Access Opportunities Report, to make use of the facilities and improve their education provision.’
Despite a strong objection from a parish meeting the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority’s planning committee voted unanimously to approve two applications for further livestock facilities at Gildersbeck Farm at Melmerby in Coverdale.
The applications by J H Simpson & Co were for a 30m extension to an existing cattle shed and an additional livestock building. The planning officer explained that these would be in a complex of large farm buildings which were widely visible particularly from across the dale as they accommodated an intensive enterprise with 650 dairy cows and 200 dairy followers.
About the new building she said: ‘The landscape and visual impact is considered minimal relative to the scale and layout of the existing farm complex.’
The committee accepted that this applied to the extension as well and that the facilities were needed. The chairman Neil Swain commented, however: ‘I am concerned about the scale of this particular operation.’ He felt limits needed to be set within the National Park.
Coverham with Agglethorpe Parish Meeting had strongly objected. It had told the committee: the farm was overstocked and further intensification was not appropriate; the proposals were more suited to an industrial estate; all the feed stock was brought in by road and so would increase pressure on the road network; degradation of water quality of the River Cover; and the severe impact on dark skies from the existing development on the south side of the dale.
The committee also unanimously approved an application for a new agricultural building at Daisy Farm, Hebden.
The planning officer said that an unsightly building close to a listed barn would be demolished which would significantly enhance the appearance of Hebden Conservation Area. The new building, which would not be much larger than that demolished, will be on the site of an open storage area and would be seen in the context of the rest of the farm, she said.
Burnsall Parish Council, however, objected because it believed the building would be too large for the location and its size could not be justified for the number of sheep currently on the farm.
Cllr Foster explained that it was an expanding sheep business.
The committee unanimously agreed with a planning officer that an ice cream trailer could be parked in the car park at Burnsall from April to October.
The application was brought to the meeting because Burnsall Parish Meeting had objected. It had informed the Authority: ‘ Concerns were raised about a loss of amenity in that the ice cream trailer looks unsightly and spoils the view of what is a beautiful village green with the bridge and river in the background.’ There was also concern about the impact upon trees nearby.
The planning officer told the meeting: ‘The proposal represents a minor commercial addition addition of a small trailer to a busy car park. The development is semi-permanent and will be removed from the site for five months of the year. The proposal provides some part time employment.’
The applicant had confirmed that there was no desire to carry out tree works.
Ingleborough Estate, Clapham
Permission was granted for the timber lorries from Thwaite Wood on the Ingleborough Estate to take a different route through Austwick to the A65 when necessary.
The committee was told that when the work began the lorry drivers found it was dangerous turning left onto the A65 from Clapham Lane as, due to the length of the lorries, they crossed the white line onto the opposite carriageway. The applicant asked permission for lorries to use Greystonber Lane from the centre of Austwick to the A65.
The committee had approved an application in October 2021 for preparing for and extracting timber from Thwaite Wood, with no more than 12 lorries a week passing through Austwick along the approved route via Clapham Lane to the A65.
Residents have pointed out that lorry drivers already found it difficult to drive through Austwick where many cars were parked, and that there were also cars parked along Greystonber Lane even though it was quite narrow. The Highways authority accepted the amended route.