All posts by Pip Pointon

Call for help from Immanuel Kindergarten

Teenage girls, graduates of the kindergarten in South Sudan supported by my friend, Carolyn  Murray MBE,  are selling themselves to pay for soap and food for their families as a result of the Covid-19 epidemic. So she is now seeking funding for a special educational project.

“Girls are now like chicks in an open space as prey for an eagle to feed on,” stated Malish Simon Lo Thomas, the head teacher of Immanuel Kindergarten School in Yei (pronounced Yay), in a letter to Carolyn. In this he and Juan Margret Lomora, Director General of the Ministry of Education in Yei and a kindergarten governor, outlined a proposal which will not only educate teenage girls but aims also to provide them and their families with the basic necessity for fighting Covid-19 – soap.

Malish said that due to civil war the majority of young people in South Sudan have only known war, violence and deprivation. He added that many people in Yei, which is near the Ugandan border, are weak due to the poor quality and limited availability of food and consequently vulnerable to the Covid-10 pandemic and other diseases. This is made worse by the lack of sufficient good quality health facilities and, as a consequence, there are high mortality rates, he said.

He explained: “Many people are traumatised with the magnitude of many bad occurrences they have witnessed and made them hopeless.

“All the learning institutions are closed … as a way to curb the Covid-19 pandemic. But it becomes a hazardous situation to our girls who are still school-going age. Many girls are now forced or run for marriage and others are raped.”

He told Carolyn that some girls were “selling themselves” to pay for soap and food for their families and that was resulting in pregnancies.

He said: “As usual, we are vigilant to issues facing our communities. We are seeking support to help our girls.”

The proposal is to use local radio broadcasts and workshops at the five senior schools in Yei to raise awareness and teach life skills.

Carolyn said that many girls were orphans or their parents lived in refugee camps. They had to live with relatives to have access to schools – and that meant they did not have priority when the host families were short of money.

Their budgets would not cover the cost of travel to workshops or the food provided after a teaching session. So those costs are included in the project proposal.

Carolyn explained: “They will bring the girls in in cohorts of 30 over five days to enable social distancing. They would ideally like to give each girl some soap (a long bar of five pieces) as part of the training will be about Covid-19.”

The project will also have to cover the cost of providing each girl with an exercise book and pen as well as flip charts.

“When I did teacher training in August last year I was amazed how folk lapped up anything I said and all notes were copied to be reviewed later,” Carolyn commented.

It is estimated that £3,000 is needed and donations can be made to the specific project via GoldenGiving/../Yeigirls  “Even if we don’t get anywhere near that any small amount raised will be used to help make a difference to the girls and their families,” Carolyn said.

For more about the school see  a story of hope from South Sudan and  Immanuel Kindergarten 

Death of Local Democracy in National Parks?

Death of Democracy in the Dales.

Tuesday June 30 was a black day for local democracy and representation in the Yorkshire Dales National Park according to the Association of Rural Communities. And it has warned that it is likely there is worse to come – disenfranchisement from local democracy for a quarter of England’s population.

At the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority virtual meeting on Tuesday the majority of the  members accepted a recommendation to slash the Authority’s membership from 25 to 16 to try and fend off the even more radical proposals in Julian Glover’s Landscapes Review. These include the creation of a new body, the Natural Landscapes Service, to oversee all National Parks (NPs) and Areas of Outstanding National Beauty (AONBs).

The Chief Executive, David Butterworth told members that Glover’s proposals on governance in the Review were quite startling. ‘He maintained that the main Boards should be between nine and twelve members all nationally appointed.’ And Butterworth warned that, even during the Covid-19 pandemic, the work on implementing the Review’s proposals had been made a priority by the government.

‘The introduction of a National Landscape Service … is proceeding at an astonishing pace. This is why we need to grasp this particular issue and get it sorted because, if we don’t, it will be sorted for us and not necessarily in a way we might find helpful for the Park or its communities,’ he said.

Member Nick Cotton commented: ‘We have got an express train heading towards us and we have to be aware that change is going to be inevitable.’

He was a member of the the working group set up to evaluate the membership of the Authority. He said: ‘We were caught between a rock and a hard place, the devil and the deep blue sea, the frying pan and the fire. We were forced into looking at every option that we had and if we didn’t make a difficult decision we would have an even more difficult decision forced upon us.’

Butterworth explained: ‘Glover and the panel working alongside him felt that National Park Authorities (NPAs) had lost sight of their national remit and the national purposes for which they were established. They hadn’t been successful in combating the decline in nature conservation; should be doing more to combat climate change and were too parochial. Our visitors,  like our staff and our boards, were not diverse enough. These issues were best addressed by more and better central direction through the establishment of a new body, the National Landscapes Service.’

He added that both the working group and the Authority’s Audit and Review Committee to which it reported had felt that Glover had seriously undervalued the importance of not only local representation but the important links that NPAs have with local communities through the services they provide.

‘It is not the size of the committee that matters. It is the efficacy of the membership. I find it much easier to work with those who are willing to work and not sit and simply talk,’ commented Lancashire County councillor Cosima Towneley

Jim Munday, deputy chairman of the Audit and Review  Committee, agreed with Butterworth that this was the best way forward. And, like the Glover Review, argued that the Authority’s membership should be more in line with the boards of charities and private companies. ‘We have to do this. This is a practical, pragmatic solution… and we have to move forward.’

Craven District councillor Robert Heseltine, however, retorted: ‘The National Park Authority is a public body… it is a local authority in its own right. It is not a private charity nor is it a private company. It is a public body and it should have proper public, democratic representation. Personally – these recommendations are a retrograde step for our rural areas and more importantly a retrograde step for the democratic process.

‘With the substantial geographical expansion of the Yorkshire Dales area that we have just assimilating to be followed by a 36 per cent reduction in membership is illogical, it is demeaning for local democracy, it is unnecessary and it is unwise. Also, to reduce the national representation in a national park down to four demeans the national interest in national park governance.’

He was one of the five members to vote against the recommendation. Another was North Yorkshire County councillor Richard Welch who stated: ‘Today isn’t D-Day, it’s a treble D Day: Death of Democracy in the Dales.

He spoke of how he regularly attended parish council meetings to report on what was going on in North Yorkshire and in the National Park. It was doubtful, he said, that he would be able to continue to doing that about the National Park. This was because, in  future there would be just one Craven District councillor on the YDNPA board – and just one from North Yorkshire County council who might not be from Craven. It meant less democracy and accountability, he said.

Allen Kirkbride pointed out that with 16 members the YDNPA would have fewer members than any other NPA. He argued that, given the geographic and population size of the YDNPA, 20 members would be more ideal.

It was also noted during the meeting that Lancaster City and Lancaster County Council would be over-represented with the reduction in membership. By law each local authority is entitled to appoint a member to the YDNPA: three county councils and five district councils. The membership of 16 will include eight Secretary of State appointees of which four are parish council representatives.

After the meeting the Association of Rural Communities commented: ‘The government’s decision to extend the boundaries of the Yorkshire Dales Park has led to the absurdities which now exist in the membership of this quango: that a Lancaster City councillor will have the same voting power as the single representative of Yorkshire County Council even if the former represents only a population with the Park of 139 while the latter will represent 2,689. That is no criticism of the individual councillors.’

Further comments from the Association of Rural Communities:

Compare that to the situation in the Lake District where there is just one county council. Its National Park Authority describes itself as ‘The Voice of the People’. Its Board includes five Cumbria County councillors, five from district councils and ten Secretary of State appointees (including parish council representatives). In addition to that it has the Lake District National Park Authority Partnership consisting of 25 organisations with representatives of public, private, community and voluntary sectors. This Partnership approach was recommended by Julian Glover’s Landscapes Review.

The Review begins by stating: ‘The underlying argument of our review, which covers England, is that our system of national landscapes should be a positive force for the nation’s well-being.’

It proposes that the  National Landscapes Service should be set up to bring the 44  National Parks and  the Areas of Outstanding National Beauty (AONBs) in England together as ‘part of one family’. The Review notes that 24.5 per cent of England is already covered by these national landscapes. And it expects that even more areas will be designated as national landscapes.

The sting is,  however, ‘in the tail’ when it proposes that all National Park Board members should be appointed by the National Landscapes Service and the chairs of Boards by the Secretary of State. That means a quarter of England would be taken over by the government and a new quango.  The Review contends that  this is because the government – and the taxpayer – pay for these national landscapes.  But what of all the services that the county councils are providing in those areas  such as highway maintenance, schools and  bus services. And how is the work of farmers and landowners valued? Without them who will physically maintain those special landscapes? And what of the communities?

So, while proposing to completely undermine local democracy  and representation, the Review states:

‘Our system of national landscapes works best when it works with people on its side. We can all agree that a village that is lived in, with an active school, people who work, and who are part of a living tradition, is better than a sterile place that is full of shuttered homes, empty pubs and derelict shops.

‘If we are serious about demonstrating the value of “lived in” landscapes to the global family of national landscapes, then we need to be serious about the people who live in them, and show how it’s possible to offer meaningful social and economic support for them.’

For that reason it proposes new purposes for the National Parks: Recover, conserve and enhance natural beauty, biodiversity and natural capital, and cultural heritage; actively connect all parts of society with these special places to support understanding, enjoyment and the nation’s health and well-being; and foster the economic and community vitality of their area in support of the first two purposes. If there is conflict between these greater weight will be given to conservation in line with an updated ‘Sandford Principle’.

The Review states: ‘We also think it is essential that communities have a voice in decision-making, which is why we want to keep local authority and parish representation on planning committees, and introduce community seats on Boards.

‘We’ve found local people often feel National Park Authorities are remote, despite the heavy presence of locally-elected representatives. The most is not made of Secretary of State appointees.’

So – the Review proposes to stop the selection of any Board members by local authorities and instead have all members centrally appointed.

The Association of Rural Communities has frequently pointed out that those who are most remote from local people in the Yorkshire Dales National Park  are often the Secretary of State appointees (not including parish councillors) and the local authority councillors on the Board who do not live in the National Park. This has been a constant complaint of local residents since the 1980s.

Herring fishing in 1894

A Night in a Herring Boat’ by the Rev A M Fosbrooke, then curate of Stoke-on-Trent

fishing

It was three o’clock in the afternoon when we started from Port Erin. There were eight of us on board, seven fishermen and myself. The dingy having been hauled up, and the sails hoisted, in a few moments the strong breeze blowing carried the Puffin out of the bay and westwards towards the Irish coast.

We had a mackerel-line out and, though the boat was going much too fast for satisfactory fishing, about half a dozen were caught before evening. The sky became dark and cloudy and, before long, the rain descended in torrents, so as to make one thankful for the oilskins, sea boots, and sou’-wester which a sailor had kindly lent. About 8pm the sky cleared and we were favoured with a beautiful sunset. The wind fell and practically no further progress could be made, so it was decided to ‘shoot’ the nets.

We were about mid-channel – the Manx coast on the one hand and the Mourne Mountains on the other being distinctly visible. A large number of puffins and other birds were flying about which made the men think they might have a successful night. The sails were lowered with the exception of a small jib; and as the boat slowly moved on by means of this one sail the net was cast out, it being connected at intervals to a strong rope called the ‘spring-back’, the same length as the net, the purpose of which will be explained in a moment. The two are connected together by one of the men as they are thrown out.

Let me try and explain the nature and position of the net as it lies in the water. On the surface there are large cock floats about every ten yards; from these  hang down thin ropes, called the ‘straps’, about nine feet long, which are fastened to the spring-back. From this, again, hang thin ropes called the ‘legs’, about 12 feet long. These are fastened to the rope along the top of the net which is called the ‘back’, and the net itself, weighted at the bottom to keep it perpendicular, is about 30 feet deep; so that from the surface of the water to the top of the net is about 21 feet, to the bottom of the net 51 feet. The length of the net is about one mile or sometimes longer than that.

The object of having the net so far below the surface is partly, of course, as being more favourable for catching the fish, but also to enable any ship which might happen to cross the net to do so without causing any damage. Even still, a ship drawing a great deal of water such as our ironclads, will sometimes carry away their nets to the great loss of the fishermen.

The whole of the net having been ‘shot’ out, the large mast is lowered in order that the boat may not roll so much in a rough sea and also to prevent the wind catching her so much. A small sail at the stern keeps her steady with her head to the wind. A light is put up as a danger signal, one man stays on deck to keep watch, the rest retired for the night. And there the boat lies tossing aobut on the rolling waves, looking very much like a wreck, with her mast lying down and her ropes hanging loosely about.

Before we lay down to rest in the small cabin … an evening hymn was sung and prayer offered by one of the men, commending themselves and their loved ones to the care of our Heavenly Father and asking Him to ‘preserve to them the produce of the seas.’ This is an old time-honoured custom among the fishermen; it is still kept up on many of the boats, though not on all. It was rather a remarkable fact that all  my seven companions that night were total abstainers. Nothing of an intoxicating nature is allowed on board the Puffin.

It was very hot and stuffy with seven of us in the small cabin, about three yards long by two yards wide, and a hot fire in the grate on an August evening! This heat and the rolling of the boat in a rough sea were very conducive to sea-sickness. I was not sorry when at 3am the day began to dawn and all hands were called on deck to haul in the net. This, of course, is the most interesting part of the proceedings.

The net is no drawn in from the two ends, enclosing the fish, as many of us might suppose, but just hauled in from the one end in the following manner: Two men work at the winch, hauling in the spring-back. The boat is thus gradually drawn along by the weight of the net. Another man unfastens the cords connecting the spring-back to the net; two others haul in the  net and set free the fish; one arranges the net in order in the hold as it comes in, another coils up the spring-back in another part of the hold; so that the seven men are really required for the work. The fish are caught by swimming into the net and getting fastened by their gills in its meshes. Then, as the net is hauled over the bulwarks, they are pulled off one by on or, if the catch is a large one, they are shaken off on to the deck by jerking the net.

Unfortunately, the fish seem to be leaving the Irish Sea; for the last four or five years only very few have been caught. Only 400 were taken on this occasion and many a night they do not take so many as that, whereas in the good days they could take as many as the boats could carry. They have sometimes been known to take as many as 100 ‘mease’ (a mease = five full hundreds of 120 each). One cannot help feeling great sympathy for the fishermen in the poverty and distress which seem to threaten them at present. The hauling of the net took over an hour. Then the mast of the boat was re-erected, the sails hoisted, and her bow turned towards home.We caught a few more mackerel with the trawling-line while returning.

Breakfast was prepared on board consisting of coffee, bread and butter, and a real fresh herring, which was most delicious. The sun rising over the Manx hills and lighting up the sky with very varied tints made a beautiful picture. A strong, favourable wind bore us on at a great speed and by 8am I was back again in Port Erin Bay after a very interesting and enjoyable experience.

 

transcribed from The Church Monthly annual 1894 with permission of Aysgarth Parochial Church Council.

Lighthouses with Paraffin lanterns in the 1890s

inchcaperock_lighthouse

 

From ‘Up in a Lighthouse’ by F M Holmes, published in The Church Monthly annual 1894

Above: The Inchcape Rock Lighthouse

‘Take care! Mind how you go! These steps were not built for unaccustomed visitors.’

‘All right, I can manage, I am used to strange places.’ And clinging tightly to the rail we mount the almost perpendicular stairs.

So solid is the masonry around, so firmly jointed together and so smooth for the raging sea to slip past without doing any damage, that the broad-based tower seems as thought it might live for ever.

Look below at the foundations. ‘Aye, they are cut deep into the solid rock,’ says the lighthouse keeper; ‘and then for 20 or 30 feet up the tower is built strong blocks of granite dovetailed together.’

At about that height the dwelling rooms commence, one above another, and are reached by ladders. Three men always live here, the full staff being four; but one is usually away  on shore, the men going off duty in rotation.

lighthouse_lanternAt the top of the tower rises the lantern – of strictly speaking, the lamp-room – about 10 feet high, whence the guiding light flashes forth over miles of sea.

The lantern is largely made of glass, like a hothouse; and splendid views you can gain through its glazed sides of miles of heaving seas. A blue expanse it appears this afternoon, flecked with white in the summer sunshine.

In the room itself glass and bright metal glint everywhere. It is domed with copper, and fitted with quarter-inch or half-inch plate glass ‘sides supported in diagonal astragals, or mouldings of gun-metal. These are so arranged that they do not intercept the light when it is required to beam forth.

In the centre rises the lighting apparatus and, at first sight, it seems something like a mound of prisms. What can be the reason for all these ribs of glass? The answer is that they  help to condense the rays of light into one strong beam.

‘Why, I suppose our light here,’ says the lighthouse keeper, ‘can be seen for nearly 20 miles – 17 at least, and perhaps more.’

‘But I can’t see how these curious triangular ribs can accomplish that.’

‘Well, you must know – nearly everybody knows – how much a shining reflector behind a lamp intensifies its light in one direction. And the mirror is usually concave to bend the rays that radiate above and below more decidedly into one line. That is what these reflectors accomplish; only far, far more effectually. A parabolic reflector 20 inches or so across will increase the light-giving power of the lamp about 400 times, or even more.’

‘Then these prisms are to bend down the rays of light that would rise too high, and to bend up the rays of light that would sink too low?’

‘Exactly; we do not want to try and illuminate the sky and the sea; we want to send strong beams as far as we can round the horizon. A lighthouse is a guide, rather than an illuminator, like a street lamp.’

‘And why have you several reflectors group round like this?’

‘In order to send several beams of equal power all round the horizon, where these is sea. That arrangement gives what we call a fixed light. For a revolving light, if the reflectors be grouped on a frame, with only two or more faces as required, and the frame be caused to revolve, light and dark intervals are, of course, produced – for the light only shines through the faces. In a similar manner, by a suitable arrangement of the reflectors, a group-flashing light is produced – that is, a light giving two or three flashes and then a brief period of darkness. Light of different colours can also be shown.’

‘Ah, just so. It is by such means as these that lights are given their characteristic and distinguishing features.’

‘And, by nothing their number of flashes or other peculiarities, a sailor can tell what light it is and consequently determine, more or less, his position.  Of course, we have a lens as well – even a policeman’s bull’s-eye lantern has a lens – and with the numerous wicks and large lamp-flame now used, and the big prisms bending above and below, there is not a ray of light that escapes.’

This system is called holophotal. The word means reflecting or refracting light without loss of light. Paraffin is the illuminant. ‘Nearly every sort of oil haws been used,’ says the lighthouse keeper, ‘but paraffin comes to the top. It burns brighter, and it is cheaper.’

Peering into the midst of the prisms to see the gigantic lamp itself, we distinguish not one wick but many – seven in fact, like concentric rings – one within the other.  Some lights, indeed, have nine wicks; this multiplication of them, of course, greatly increasing the illuminating power. With these numerous wicks, the oil has to be supplied by clock-work pumps, or pushed by a heavy piston. An overflow pipe permits the paraffin to run back to the fountain should it at any time rise above a certain point.

The electric light has also been used with great success at various lighthouses; and for harbour lights, where gas may be readily obtained, that illuminant is sometimes employed. But at times even the most powerful illuminants are obscured by fog – what then?

Then this curious-looking trumpet comes into play. Terrible is the nose it makes. No human breath blows it. Gas engines are needed, and in some lighthouses oil engines and compressed air are used to evoke its ear-splitting but useful sound. When the day is dense with obscuring fog and even the light of a nine-wick  lamp, focussed into a few powerful beams by many prisms, can struggle but a poor mile or two into the bewildering gloom, then this trumpet, called by strange irony a siren, will shriek forth its warning blasts.

There are two discs in the siren-trumpet, each disc a foot in diameter, and with a dozen radial slits. One disc is fixed but the other rotates rapidly, nearly 2000 times a minute.  Sirens can be so arranged as to give signals, such as two or three blasts in rapid succession at certain intervals; and the passing sailors should then know the lighthouse, even as if they could see its characteristic light. The shriek of the siren can be heard sometimes for ten miles. Charges of detonating powder are also fired at some stations, electricity being used to explode the cartridges; so that when the light fails to piece the shrouding fog, the lighthouses still strive to perform their duty of guiding and warning, by means of thunderous sound. A little-known explosive called tonite is sometimes used for these warnings. Tonite appears to be a mixture of gun-cotton and nitrate of baryta forced into a cartridge like a candle.

eddystone_lighthouse‘And what are those panes?’ you ask; looking a frameworks of copper filled with glass.

‘Storm panes,’ is the answer; ‘they are kept in readiness should a pane of glass be broken in the lantern.’

‘And do you often have to use them?’

‘Very rarely; and then it is generally because birds or stones are blown against the lantern glass in a tremendous gale. It is very seldom that the wind alone breaks the glass. You see these gun-metal mouldings and thick plate glass panes are very strong.’

‘Do birds break the glass?’ exclaims some one in surprise.

‘They do so, and no mistake. You might be watching here some dark night and see scores of birds beating against the glass, and blown hard against it. Perhaps they are migrating to another country at the change of seasons, or perhaps they are coming to this land. Anyhow, there they are; likely enough they are tired out with their flight and attracted by the light, or knocked against the glass by the wind.’

What a different scene is thus conjured up, from the calm, bright summer sunshine of the lovely afternoon. But whatever the moods of weather – though tempests rage and torrents of rain lash the streaming glass; though the storm-tossed billows strike the house with thunderous sound, and dash the spray high up the sides; though the blasts seems to shake the massive tower with the fury of wind and wave; though choking fog encompass it around, or the calm moon rides in a cloudless sky – yet still in every change of changeful life this friendly beacon sends forth its warnings of light and sound.

 

Reproduced with permission of Aysgarth Parochial Church Council

YDNPA – Planning committee June 2020

ARC  News Service reports on  the meeting of the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority’s  (YDNPA) planning committee virtual meeting on Tuesday June 9. The two items discussed were a housing development at Austwick and a proposed barn conversion near West  Burton.

Pip Pointon reports on the YDNPA meetings on a voluntary basis as part of the Association of Rural Communities commitment to local democracy in the Yorkshire Dales National Park.

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 a provision. 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 at the June meeting of the  YDNPA planning committee.

Austwick:

An 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 to its approval concerning affordable housing. North Yorkshire County councillor 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 Richmondshire District councillor 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 on-site of 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 has 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 Lancashire County councillor Cosima Towneley reminded the members that they didn’t have a foot to stand on due to the government’s policy.

West Burton:

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 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.’

A Book to Dance to

book_coverThe local musicians who led Dales folk dancing right through the night in the early 1900s are celebrated in a book full of fascinating detail and music published as part of the Yorkshire Dales Folk Dance and Tunes Project at the Dales Countryside Museum (DCM) in Hawes.

The author, Bob Ellis of Gayle, has entitled it There was None of this Lazy Dancing, quoting a concertina player, Sam Fawcett of Baldersdale (1878-1960). Fawcett said: “When we get a drop of beer… and got into full blast, there was none of this lazy dancing!” (Pictured on front cover are Peter and Jackie Beresford.)

And a popular accordion player, Harry Cockerill (1914-1994) who farmed in upper Langstrothdale told of how he would milk the cows on the way home from an all-night dance.

Bob doesn’t just give detailed biographies of musicians such as Cockerill, Brian and Jackie Beresford and their family, and Dick and John Wallbank, but also transpositions of their music some of which was almost certainly unique to the Dales.

He can assert this because of the meticulous research he has carried out since 2011. “Although the project was my idea, it was prompted by comments and suggestions made by Fiona Rosher [the DCM manager]. I was already playing a lot of British and European folk dance music and wanted to add a local element to my repertoire.

“I discovered there were only two people in the Dales (both quite elderly) who were still playing that type of music and that it was in danger of dying out,” he said. Those men were Tim Boothman from Threshfield whose late wife, Rosie, was the daughter of Jackie Beresford, and Sam Fawcett’s son, Septimus.

The result is the most complete record to date of Dales musicians and their music in a very easy to read and enjoyable format. Ellis has drawn together all previously published material and, through his own research, been able to add that which has never before been published. As more is coming to light he plans to post it on his website (www.dalestunes.org.uk).

The book is in A4 format which has allowed him to print a tune per page along with what is known about its history. One of Peter Beresford’s tunes can be traced back to an itinerant bagpiper in Vienna in the 17th century.

Ellis points out that most of the Dales musicians couldn’t read music. They learnt tunes by ear and then adapted them to the needs of the barn dancers.

The music begins with that of William Calvert (1780-1847) thanks to Lynn Wood of Haworth acquiring his tunebook at an auction in Leyburn in 2002.

Calvert’s family probably paid for his gravestone at Spennithorne churchyard but for the Dales Minstrel, William Bolton, friends raised the funds for his gravestone at Burnsall churchyard when he died in 1881.

Many of these Dales’ musicians came from very straightened circumstances but they provided something very important for Dales folk.

Bob comments:“Dances provided opportunities for people in the scattered neighbouring villages to meet up, exchange news, socialise and enjoy themselves. No wonder village dances were popular – few other events in the lives of Dales folk provided a relief from the drudgeries of daily life, an opportunity to enjoy yourself and socialise and, for the younger people, a chance to meet members of the opposite sex with a view to finding a partner for life.”

Bob is sure there was a Dales’ style of dance music. When quoting Sam Fawcett that there was “none of this lazy dancing”, Bob writes: “To cater for this energetic dancing, the musicians adopted a vigorous, unadorned style of playing that focused more on rhythm than melody.”

He has included a detailed section on Morris and Sword dancing in the Dales. He states: “Whilst not entirely unique to Yorkshire because isolated examples have been recorded in the Shetland Islands and on the Isle of Man, all the other known longsword dances in Britain originated in villages in Yorkshire (87 in all) or in neighbouring counties. The teams in the Dales that survived longest were at Kirkby Malzeard, Bellerby and Hunton.

“An unlikely organisation that helped some of the longsword dances to survive the lean period during the first half of the 20th century, when many teams stopped dancing, was the Women’s Institute, which encouraged the creation of women’s teams in some local villages. In 1929, for instance, Middleham W.I. …came third in a longsword competition held at Castle Howard.”

Bob Ellis PhotoBob (left)has been playing the melodeon since 1994, has organised Melodeons in Wensleydale weekends at the DCM as well as two traditional dance evenings for the Friends of the DCM.

His book can be laid flat so that musicians can easily read and play the tunes. And those who buy the book (£20 plus £4 postage) will be able to download and play the audio files. For more information see www.dalestunes.org.uk.

Pip Pointon

Out with the Fire Brigade in 1894

From The Church Monthly in 1894: “Out with the Fire Brigade” by F M Holmes

fire_fireThere is the alarm bell!

The startling clang rings through the room and a tablet has fallen on the wall, not far from your head, revealing the name of the London street whence the alarm was given.

Some one has broken the glass and pulled the handle of the fire-alarm post in that thoroughfare, and instantly all the arrangements of the station for proceeding to the fire are set in motion.

There are always men on duty, and more alarm bells ring with noise enough to wake the proverbial Seven Sleepers of Ephesus. A pair of horses are always in readiness, their noble heads, full of animation and expectancy, turned towards the stable door and the light  harness hanging over them,  ready to descend at a second’s notice, is dropped on their backs.

The intelligent creatures know the ring of the alarm bell as well as the men and are as eager to be off. The preparations are so complete that, when a rope is pulled, down falls the harness. Full of excitement, the steeds are led to the engine which, in its turn, is as fully prepared as are the horses. The traces are hooked on, the men  jump to their seats, and with the startling cry of ‘Fire! Fire!’ screamed as only a London fireman can utter it, the engine tears out of the station and into the street. Less than two minutes has elapsed since the ringing of the alarm bell; and the engine is already on its way.

Most exciting is the rush through the streets. Quick movement through the air is usually exhilarating at any time and to this is added the excitement of the fire and the startling cries of the firemen. Everything scatters before us. Even the red carts of the Post Office – which may trespass on the thoroughfares reserved for royal processions – have to give place to the dashing Fire Brigade.

With steam hissing from the boiler, with horses all aglow with excitement, and with alarming cries of ‘Fire! Fire!’ ringing along the street, a pathway opens as if by magic through the most crowded thoroughfares; and almost before you know it you have arrived at the scene of the fire.

Here the excitement is no less; but the men are as cool as cucumbers. ‘Play on that part of the building’, comes the order, hardly sooner said than done. The engine, which a few minutes ago was quiet at the station, is now at vigorous work some miles distant from its home.

fire_ladderThe flames burst out through the veil of smoke and leap upward to the sky. The gathering crowd press forward with excited faces and are, with difficulty, kept back by the few policemen on the spot. A cry raises: ‘Somebody is in the building!’ And here comes the fire-escape which will reach the highest windows. It is placed against the house and quickly a fireman mounts. See! he has rescued a mother and child, and he brings them down amid excited cheers. Sometimes he has a much harder task; for he enters the burning building and gropes amid the blinding smoke and scorching heat to rescue the half-suffocated sufferers from the flames.

Meantime, other engines have arrived. Each fulfils its part. While some are playing on the fire itself, others are drenching surrounding walls with water to prevent the fire from spreading; and ere long the officer in charge will be able to report that the fire is localised and mastered.  Wise forethought, as well as smart promptitude on the part of the men, have contributed to these satisfactory results.

If you had inspected the engine you would have found everything ready for instant departure – the fire laid, axes, hose, and apparatus in position; but you would also have found two things which perhaps you would not expect. Under the boiler is placed a movable gas jet which keeps the water always hot; and by the funnel is  large fusee [a large-headed match capable of staying alight in strong winds].

When the alarm sounds, one of the men on duty ignites the fusee at once – he knows exactly where to find it – and drops it down the chimney. The fusee is certain to flame well and lights the material below, already prepared to receive its fiery touch. The quick rush of the engine through the air does the rest; for the speed creates such a strong draught that the engine fire soon roars in its box, and raises the heated water to steam.

The steam in the fire-engine is used for pumping the water and throwing it on the burning building. But, successful as it is, the steam fire-engine has not superseded the use of manuals; while for small fires – of which there are a great number in the Metropolis – the little portable hand-pumps are said to be of the greatest value. These little pumps can be used anywhere, and taken into rooms where the fire may be burning. Speedily used they will, in ordinary circumstances, quickly extinguish the flames and prevent a little conflagration from becoming a big one. The water for their use is contained in a bucket which is supplied by other buckets of water handed up by assistants.

Valuable as these little pumps are for small fires, however, there is need, of course, for the glittering and powerful steam fire-engines for bigger fires; and of these ‘steamers’ the Brigade have fifty on land and about ten floating on the Thames. There are also a large number of manuals. Their wheels are broad and tired with wavy iron bands which project in some places beyond the sides of the wheels themselves.

Many persons, no doubt, would puzzle for hours over the reason for these strange iron tires; but the reason is simple. They are used to prevent the wheels from canting or tripping at the tram rails which seam so many London thoroughfares. It would be a bad accident, and a terrible hindrance at a critical time,  for a fire-engine to be overturned when driven at a headlong pace to a fire. In the same way, should a horse fall when tearing along, the harness is so arranged that the turning of a swivel-bar at the end of the engine-pole dividing the two horses, will free the animal in front, and he can be unhooked and helped to his feet again in a trice.

The hose also is subjected to a most severe testing before being used. At a fire, the water is forced through the hose at a pressure of a 110 pounds to the square inch. For a hose to burst under this strain would be a great disaster. Consequently, every length is tested up to the severe strain of 300 pounds to the square inch, so that it is as certain as anything mortal can be to stand firm in actual work. The hose is now made of strong, India rubber-lined canvas which is light and flexible as well as tough and tenacious, and has quite superseded the old hose, made of pieces of leather and riveted together by metal fastenings. The hose for the suction-pipe, communicating with the water supply, is usually stiffened by spiral wire and is still very flexible.

A fire-engine, therefore, has to do two things: it has to draw large quantities of water from a suitable source of supply; and it has to throw that water, steadily and continuously, and sometimes to a great height, on to the fire. This is accomplished by means of force-pumps in the engine and an air-chamber. The pumps draw water through the suction tube from the water pipes under the street, or other suitable source of supply, and force the precious fluid into a strong air-chamber or chest, thereby compressing the air in that chest to a high degree. But, having pressed the air to a certain point, the air itself will, in its turn, become stronger than the fore-pumps, and exert pressure on the water, which it forces out through the host to the fire. It will continue to do this until the water sinks in the chest.  So long, therefore, as the two pumps force water into the chest, up to or above the requisite level, so long will the compressed air expel the water to the fire in a steady and continuous stream. The two pumps are arranged to work reciprocally – that is, one is drawing water, while the other is forcing it into the air-chamber, each in its turn.

The rule is that a steamer shall go from one station and a manual from another station in the neighbourhood.  Thus, the stations are not left without resources should another fire break out in the district. All the Metropolitan stations are connected by telegraphic or telephonic communications, so that the Headquarters at Southwark can be acquainted with all that occurs as regards fires in the Metropolis, and a large force concentrated speedily, if necessary, at any point. In addition to Headquarters there are five District Stations, each having a superintendent in control of the district, and having telephonic speech with Headquarters, and with each station in the district.

Being liable to be rung up in their sleep, firemen are, so to speak, kept constantly on duty, except for 24 hours in every 14 days which is their ‘day off’. Should, unfortunately, several fires occur about the same time in the same neighbourhood, the men may have to work for some 36 hours at a time. And, on returning from a fire, the hose has to be cleaned and scrubbed, and hung up in the hose-well to dry; the engines have to be kept in good order, and prepared for another journey at once should necessity arise.

Constant vigilance is the order of the day with the Fire Brigade; and to this is added elaborate preparation and daring bravery. Most of the outside public see only the headlong speed and feel the exciting thrill of the fateful moment; but behind and around that dashing ride lies the most careful fore-thought.

Reproduced with the permission of Aysgarth PCC.

Steam fire engines were in use from the 1840s until the 1920s. For more about them and a photo of horses pulling one at speed  click here

The Telegraph Messenger Boy in the 1890s

telegraphBoyOn her Majesty’ Service

by Frederick Sherlock:

Everybody knows the telegraph messenger. All over the kingdom, in  town and country, his bright, smart uniform is to be seen and, next to the postman, no public servant of the Queen is more in request. His office is one of great responsibility and usefulness; and if on any given day the electric telegraph suddenly came to an end, business would speedily become disorganised, and a great inroad would also be made upon the happiness of many  homes.

The messenger has no knowledge of the contents of the brown envelopes which are put into his hands to deliver with all speed. When he knocks at the door and hands in his message, he cannot tell whether he is a bearer of good news or ill. Sometimes his visit means nothing but sorrow. It may be the loss of the breadwinner by a fatal accident; or the news of a loved soldier son’s death in a far-off clime; or the tale of an attached daughter’s end in a London hospital after a lingering disease. Ah, well! for good or ill the telegraph messenger bustles about day after day, proud to be in Her Majesty’s service, and conscious that his calling is of real use to the community.

The conditions on which boys are taken into the service are not without interest. The limits of age are from 13 to  15.

Candidates between 13 and 14 must be at least four feet seven inches in height, without boots, and candidates between 14 and 15 not less than four feet eight inches. They must have passed Standard V of the new Educational Code, or some equivalent test, and are required to produce a satisfactory certificate of health from their own medical attendant, and certificate of having been satisfactorily vaccinated within the last seven years.

Duty does not commence, as a rule, before 8am and it continues for nine hours. The wages are 7s a week, rising by 1s a week annually to 11s, and uniform is supplied, including boots. All candidates have to sign a declaration, stating they are fully aware that this employment will not entitle them to promotion, compensation, or pension. That their services will be discontinued on their attaining 16 years of age, unless they then succeed in passing a competitive examination for direct appointment as postmen on reaching 18 years of age, or elect to remain two years longer as messengers, on the understanding that if they then enlist as soldiers, they shall, after serving the prescribed time with the colours, have preference over soldiers who have never been in the service of the Post Office, in obtaining employment in that department.

The other day I had a peep at the small Blue Book of ‘Instructions for Messengers in London’, which each messenger is required to produce at every inspection, and also whenever asked for by the messenger’s superior officer. The instructions cover conduct and delivery.  Rule 6. ‘You are at all times to keep yourself scrupulously clean, and to have your hair short and neatly cut.’ Or Rule 9… ‘You must take off your cap when in the Office, and you must always be respectful in your manner when spoken to by any person.’ City messengers are specially cautioned against sliding down handrails of the staircases! This is certainly a hard saying, for most health, high-spirited lads are under the impression that sliding down the handrail is an expeditious and graceful way of coming downstairs!

Rules 11 and 12 will command the sympathy of many people. 11. ‘You are strictly forbidden to smoke in or abut the Office, at any time, or in the streets when you are in uniform. Gambling, raffling, playing cards, and practical joking are strictly prohibited’. 12. ‘You must not, on any account, go into public-houses during your hours of duty except to deliver telegrams,’ which leads me to say that the Post Office.

At Christmas time severe temptations are placed in the way of the postmen and telegraph messengers. The ‘Christmas Glass’ has been the ruin of many fine fellows. Let us hope that this year the Christmas box to the postman and to the telegraph messenger will be in current coin, so that the receiver may take it  home, and spend it in the way he thinks best, or put it by in the Savings Bank for the rainy day which is sure to come when least expected.

 

From Church Monthly  1893, pp336-338. with permission of Aysgarth PCC.  The illustration was drawn by H Johnson

YDNPA – Planning committee May 2020

ARC News Service reports on the first internet online meeting of the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority’s (YDNPA) planning committee held on  Tuesday May 12 2020. The items discussed were: the proposed re-occupation of a house at West Stonesdale, Swaledale;  the erection of a camping cabin at High Woodend Farm, Tebay;  and a listed building application for alterations to Yarnbury Lodge near Grassington.

The most significant factor about this meeting was that every speaker could be clearly heard. There are regularly occasions at the meetings at Bainbridge when it is very hard, often impossible to hear what some speakers (usually the same ones) are saying.

West Stonesdale

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, North Yorkshire County councillor 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.

Craven District councillor 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 Richmondshire District councillor 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.

North Yorkshire County councillor 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.

Tebay

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, Cllr 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 means 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.

Yarnbury

An application cannot be rejected because of supposition and rumour stated Lancashire County councillor  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.

Craven District councillor 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.

 

Pip Pointon reports on the YDNPA meetings on a voluntary basis as part of the Association of Rural Communities commitment to local democracy in the Yorkshire Dales National Park.

VE Day 2020 celebrations in Aysgarth

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Jean Cockburn (93) and Irene Pickard (85) have been friends in Aysgarth for over 65 years and not even a pandemic can keep them apart, especially on the 75th anniversary of VE Day.

Jean slowly made her way into the centre of the village twice that day. The first time was after the National Moment of Remembrance for which she and many others stood at their doorsteps while the Last Post and Reveille were played on the speakers at Aysgarth Institute. She then joined Irene for a short walk and to sit and chat on the benches on the village green. There they watched children with their parents taking part in the Fairy Door Trail organised by James Metcalfe and which raised £30 for Yorkshire Air Ambulance.

At 3pm Winston Churchill’s Victory speech was played over the institute speakers. At 9pm Jean made her way into the village centre again – this time to join about 40 others who had gathered to listen to the Queen’s speech and  We’ll Meet Again  broadcast from the Institute. The activities were organised by Aysgarth Institute and social distancing was maintained.

Many had decorated their houses and windows for the occasion and these were judged by Steve Jack from Aysgarth Garage. He reported that it was not easy to judge the displays with slim margins between them but declared the winners of the best dressed house as Jane and Michel and those for the best dressed window as Max and Molly (ably assisted by their parents Rachel and Nick).  Each winning household received a box of slimline Quality Street chocolates.

It all added up to a very sociable, enjoyable and memorable day.

Above: Jean (left) and Irene meeting each other at the village green — and then enjoying a suitably distanced chat (below).

 

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Above: Irene and Derrick Pickard with their son David. 

Below: Jean with her son Stuart just after the two-minute silence. 

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Above: the VE Day celebration display created by the Pickard family.

Below: Jill and James Metcalfe, with their son Richard above.

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Above: Max and Molly (at back) who, like several other children in the village, had a great time decorating their homes (with a little help from their parents). Their efforts won them the prize for the best dressed VE Day window.

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Above: Lily-Anne and Aiden.

Below:  the window decorated by Charlotte and Abigail.

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Above: Thomasina with her dad, Jason.

There were two French flags and the Welsh flag flying in the village that day – the former as the households had connections with France, such as Jane and Michel’s (below). Theirs won the competition for the best dressed VE Day house.

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Below: And there were some who had been very busy that morning. Steve getting ready to deliver packed lunches prepared at the Hamilton’s Tea Shop to elderly people in mid Wensleydale.

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Below: Scenes from around the village

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Light Pollution near Aysgarth

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When a friend begged me to go and take some photographs of Aysgarth Lodges Holidays site in February I didn’t realise how important they would be later. Even though that was the ‘low season’ I was shocked at how much light pollution was emanating from that site just before the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority’s Dark Skies Festival.  The site, which is close to Bishopdale Beck, is now closed due to the Covid 19 lockdown.

In the photograph above the Aysgarth Lodges Holidays site is that illuminated by strings of lights in the middle. Above it to the left is the eastern end of Aysgarth.

In February the Association of Rural Communities, Burton cum Walden Parish Council and Aysgarth and District Parish Council questioned the Authority about the situation at the Aysgarth Lodges Holidays site.

The owner of the site, Leisure Resorts Ltd, has now made a retrospective planning application to the Authority for the siting of a caravan for use as a reception/office and site wide lighting plan.

The Association  has told the Authority that the application does not answer the concerns of many local residents or the  two parish councils about light pollution.

In its Design and Access Statement the company states concerning lighting: ‘The type of lighting provided on site is low-level lighting which will prevent unnecessary light pollution in this sensitive environment. The location of individual lights has been selected in order to provide light and therefore safe passage for customers accessing and egressing their holiday units and moving around the site during the evening and early morning when natural light levels are low. Every effort has been made to minimise the number  of lighting bollards used whilst providing a safe and usable environment.’

In the application it is stated that the reception/office unit (below) complied with the statutory definition of a caravan and therefore reflected the form of the holiday lodges located on the site.

OfficeReception

see also New Village in Bishopdale

The lodge site was developed on Westholme farm in the 1970s by Margaret and Tom Knowles into a family holiday caravan and camping site. From 2007 to 2008 Mr Knowles tried for over a year to to make the Authority aware of how and why the site was being turned into a luxury lodge site with no place for campers or touring caravans. He told the Authority that when he and his wife were running the site it was not visible from the other side of Bishopdale.

With the Association of Rural Communities he campaigned to protect the right of campers and those using touring caravans to enjoy the beautiful landscape of the Yorkshire Dales.

Bouquets for Waifs and Strays

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Maypole dancing in the Vicarage garden following a Flower Festival probably in the 1930s.

There was great excitement at St Chad’s Home for Waifs and Strays in 1894 when a large hamper of flowers arrived from Aysgarth (see below). The bouquets had been presented by children at the Flower Service at St Andrew’s Church. A year earlier the Vicar, the Rev Fenwick Stow, reported that 300 children had attended the service. It seems incredible now that there were so many children in Aysgarth parish.

The children came from their small village schools (there were five at that time – at Aysgarth, Carperby, West Burton, Cross Lanes and Bishopdale) not just for the Flower Services but also for the teas and sports at the Vicarage (now Stow House) afterwards. They, with  their families and friends, obviously had a great time and as well as bringing a lot of joy into the lives of the girls at St Chads in Headingley, Leeds,  as can be seen from this letter published in  the August 1894 edition of the Aysgarth Parish Magazine:

Please’m Matron says, will you come down and see the flowers? Oh! they are so lovely, and such lots of ‘em.

I gladly obeyed the summons and went down, and this is what I saw – A large table on which were several buckets filled with flowers of every hue – surrounded by eager faces, some hands-filled with flowery treasures, while those who had not yet secured any looked with longing eyes at the great bunches still unappropriated; but soon there was not a child without a flower, and it was amusing to see what each chose, and to hear the chatter – one little mite rejoicing in a huge peony which she had pinned on her pinafore, and remarking to anybody who would listen to her ‘Oh, my! isn’t it a beauty?’

‘Forget-me-nots,’ says a voice, and there is a rush for the happy finder. ‘Look at my button-hole’ from the irrepressible wearer of the peony – and acting upon the idea thus suggested, the Matron says, “Now, I will give a prize to the girl who makes the prettiest button-hole.’

Great is the excitement and the rush for flowers, and when any one has found a special treasure, one is reminded of the happy chicken in the poultry-yard who has secured a dainty tit-bit, only to be pursued by his envying companions and with neither time nor chance to enjoy the prize. But here there is enough for all, and soon the excitement settles down into earnest business – and now some have finished and everybody thinks everybody else’s is better than theirs, and there is much speculation. 

One dark-eyed girl has a really artistic spray, a bunch of pansies, which must have won the prize, only she, alas is in disgrace and so cannot compete.

When all have finished, and their folded names are fastened to their respective bunches, they are laid on white paper, and very pretty they look. ‘Quite a flower show’ someone remarks. Then every one is turned out of the room while the judges (who have not been in the room during the arrangement) perform their office – a difficult one – for the merit is very even . The excitement and impatience outside is extreme, and when we are allowed to come in again, there is dead silence in  the orderly line round the room, though the sparkling eyes speak plainly enough.

The momentous decision is given – a sweet little bunch of yellow, white and dead-pink daisies takes the first prize, and two others receive a second and third. Not a murmur of discontent is heard from the unsuccessful ones. They don their bunches, and think themselves very smart indeed. The proposal of  a future competition in which the Matrons shall also compete, their exhibits to be judged by the prize-winners among the girls is received with acclamation – and so ends a happy evening.

All this pleasure was the result of a gift of flowers, and we feel sure that who send us, and others, hampers of flowers will like to know how much pleasure they give and how their beauty softens our girls and brightens their lives.

The writer continued:

It is much to be wished that our friends at Aysgarth, who so generously responded to their Vicar’s appeal could have been present at St Chad’s Home when their offerings were unpacked. The excitement and interest of the girls and children who were privileged to be present, was fully shared by the Matrons notably by the one-in-charge of the kitchen, who remarked ‘This butter has just come in the nick of time for I had none to send up for tea! Eggs! More eggs! Eggs again! Oh, look a these lovely brown ones – (and at those packed in moss) arn’t they pretty.’

Eggs were the special feature (39 dozen) and much we have enjoyed them since, that is some of them, for the greater number have been subjected to some mysterious process by means of which they will keep till Xmas (always supposing we do not eat them before then).

The clothing was eagerly seized upon by the clothing Matron. The biscuits, sweets, toys, and other good things gladdened the eyes of all, and we felt, as we watched the happy faces and eager  hands, what a privilege it was to be able to give so much pleasure.

……….

The Rev Stow reported that year about the Flower Service:

The Church was full, almost all the children of the parish and many adults were present. Before the sermon, while hymns were being sung, the children marched up the middle aisle each bearing a bouquet of flowers, and many of them also parcels of clothing, eggs, butter, money &c., as offerings in aid of the Society for Providing Homes for Waifs and Strays. In addition about £4 was collected.

During the service the sun had been shining brightly, but after all had assembled in the Vicarage garden unfortunately a very heavy shower occurred. However, all got their tea either inside the house or out of doors as soon as the rain ceased. After this Miss Hill, one of the secretaries for ‘Waifs and Strays’ spoke a few words before a large and attentive audience about those for whom the society carries on its noble work.

The company then adjourned to the field in front of the house where the children held their athletic sports. A nice sum was collected for prizes and some exciting races were run. All seemed in good spirits and enjoyed themselves heartily. After a few speeches and cheers the proceedings terminated.

The flowers were sent, some to the Leeds Infirmary; some to St Chad’s Home for Waifs and Strays; and some to Stockton-on-Tees.

………

The church has copies of its parish magazine dating back to 1892. In 1892 it was reported: ‘A flower service was held at Aysgarth Church on Thursday June 30th. Each child brought a bouquet of flowers – six hampers of which were afterwards sent to the Leeds Infirmary. After the service the children of the parish and many of their parents and other adult parishioners had tea at the Vicarage. In all about 300 sat down. The weather was fine and it was a bright and pleasant occasion.’

It’s possible that was the first flower service at Aysgarth for the following year the vicar wrote: ‘Our flower service was held on Tuesday June 20. A still larger number of children attended than in 1892. Indeed there was scarcely a child in the parish absent. The quality of the flowers showed improvement. Many of our young friends must have taken a great deal of trouble to procure such charming bouquets.’ A shortened form of service was used and the address (by the Precentor of Ripon Minster) was ‘simple but admirable’.

flower_serviceEveryone – including 300 children – then adjourned to the Vicarage garden for tea and an afternoon of sports organised by the ‘gentlemen of the parish’ who gave handsome prizes to the boys and girls. And at the end of the afternoon each child was presented with a toy. These included 100 dolls which had been dressed at the Vicarage with the assistance of a ‘working party’ of friends. These, it was said,  ‘delighted the motherly hearts of the little girls’. The other gifts included bats, balls, scissors, work baskets and musical instruments.

The Rev Stow added: “Quite a number of parishioners gave gratuitous help on the occasion which was indeed everybody’s treat.’ Two hampers of flowers were sent that year to the Leeds Infirmary and one to the York County Hospital.

The following  year the church began supporting St Chad’s for, as the Rev Stow said in 1895, the flower service provided an ‘opportunity for our children who have happy homes to contribute to the welfare of those poor children who have no homes, or those who, whether they have homes or not, are cruelly treated. Children are invited to bring as offerings eggs or butter, toys or articles of clothing, or anything else ornamental or useful, in addition to their bouquets of flowers.’

Even more children attended the service in 1895 and the fun, the vicar said, carried on till after sunset. In June 1898 the entertainment went on into the evening thanks to a concert by the West Burton Brass Band. The Rev Stow commented again on how so many helped to make the day so successful and enjoyable.  And that year participants could buy copies of photographs of those at the tea and sports.

No flower services were held during World War I but were resumed in 1919. For many years after that war  the music in the evening was provided by the Hawes Band. It is not clear when the church stopped holding the services although it is likely that occurred during World War II.

The Church of England Central Society for Providing Homes for Waifs and Strays  (shortened to The Waifs and Strays Society) was founded in 1881 and by 1902 was caring for over 3,000 children in 90 homes. In 1946 it became the Church of England Children’s Society and i n 1982 that was further shortened to The Children’s Society. It continues to be Britain’s largest child support society having adapted to the needs of our modern society and now helping those  from all faiths and backgrounds.

 

Sources:

Maypole photo: from scrapbook of the late May Tunstall with kind permission of Tunstall family

Church Monthly annuals with kind  permission of Aysgarth PCC

Group photo outside the Vicarage on a flower service day c 1900: the original was from the Rev Stow and reproduced in Marian and John Kirby’s ‘Aysgarth Church – Odd bits of history and some of its people’ published by John Kirby in 2009,  with kind permission of Matt and Liz Kirby

Emigrating to Canada in 1892

When reading this account I had several thoughts:

The first was my negative reaction to the arrogance of the first paragraph – that the British, so steeped in their belief in their empire, should think that they had a God-given right to colonise another country and that it would be better for them doing so.

But then I was pleased to see that Church organisations were so ready and willing to provide encouragement and assistance to those who were making such a huge step into the unknown. Some came from very rural communities – just like Pte James Pickard Bell.

He was born in Aysgarth in 1888, the son of the station master, William Bell and his wife Barbara. James emigrated to Canada in 1910 when he was 22 to farm on the prairies of Manitoba. He enlisted in the Army in 1915 and, when with the 43rd Canadians (Grenade Section), was killed during the later stages of the Battle of the Somme in October 1916. He was last seen leading a section of the bombers towards the German Lines and his body was never recovered. There is a photograph of him on Thoralby Through Time.

From The Church Monthly, May 1892

On Board an Emigration Ship

by the Rev C R Job, Vicar of Newington, Hull

goingon_boardThe question of emigration is one which is daily being pressed home with greater force upon vast numbers of people in this country. The rapid growth of population, and the limited area of land capable of cultivation, enclosed by water on every side, point to a time not far distant when ‘pastures new’ must be sought beyond the seas to a very much greater extent than they are now by our sons and daughters. Happily for us, we are a nation of colonists. While we are patriotic to a degree, and love the old country with a love that never dies, we are also gifted with a love of adventure and enterprise, coupled with the power of settling down in far-off lands, and surrounding ourselves with the comforts and happy institutions of the home of our birth. And happily, also for us the wide world offers vast fields in every way suited to our requirements. An incessant stream of enthusiastic humanity is pouring from our ports, going forth ‘to replenish the earth, and subdue it.’; and wherever they place themselves, under the beneficent smile of our Great Father, the wild waste becomes a fruitful field, the prairie becomes a pasture land, and the ‘desert is made to blossom as the rose’.

It was my lot to accompany a large body of emigrants, who sailed from Liverpool for Canada, last year; and it may not be without interest to some to hear what the journey is like. While attempting to describe the incidents of the voyage, I propose to also to try to give such information as I can for the guidance of those who may be contemplating emigration.

Canada, being nearer than any of the other British Colonies, can be reached quicker, and at less expense, the time occupied from Liverpool to Quebec or Halifax being from nine to eleven days. The cost for third class passengers is about £4. Special emigrant trains meet the boats, fitted with sleeping berths, and which carry you to your destination at exceedingly low fares.

It is always wise to be provided with warm clothing for the journey, and also for wear in the severe weather on the other side. Clothing is one of the few things which are more costly in Canada than in England. Everything necessary in the way of food is provided on board ship.

I will ask you to let your thoughts go with us from port to port. All is bustle and excitement as the time arrives for us to sail, luggage pours on board in tremendous confusion, partly because far too many leave everything to the last moment. Friends accompany us on the ship to see what it is like and to say last good-bye. Finally, the bell rings for friends to go ashore, the steam is up, the word is given to ‘let her go’, and we are off. Lingering, wistful looks are exchanged as long as eyesight will serve, and then we turn our attention to our new quarters, and try to accommodate ourselves to our novel situation. The decks are soon cleared of the piles of luggage of every description, and all is order and neatness.

Ere long the bell rings for dinner, and those who have crossed the ‘mill-pond’ as the Yankees call it, before, advise us to make a good meal while we can; and this advice we do our best to follow. At first, thoughts of home and thoughts of what may be before us fill our minds, and we are disposed to be silent but by-and-by, our natural friendliness loosens our tongues, and we break the ice of estrangement by some common-place remark, and soon we have many speaking acquaintances which, in some places, ripen into friendships. Indeed, our voyage is not without its romance, for at least one matrimonial engagement is formed ere we land.

I am appointed for this voyage by the Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge to do what I can for the spiritual welfare of the emigrants, and to give them such assistance as I can in other ways as well. Many have been provided with letters from their parish clergyman, and these are first sought out, and a note made of their names and destination.

During the course of the voyage the acquaintance of many others is made, and advice is tendered wherever needed. All are urged not to put themselves in the hands of strangers when they land, as there are bad characters always on the look-out to take advantage of the ignorance of unwary ones. The name of the nearest clergyman to the place to which they are destined is given in each case, and they are urged to go to him in any case of difficulty. In many instances letters of introduction are written and put in their hands. And here let me say that every intending emigrant should, before starting, provide himself with a letter of introduction from his parish clergyman to the chaplain of the ship by which he intends to sail, and also one to take to the clergyman of the district in which he proposes to settle down. He will then be sure of a friend and adviser who may be of the greatest advantage to him.

Our passage is very smooth and pleasant until we reach the little town of Moville in the north of Ireland, where we call for the mails. We have yet to find our sea legs, for the Atlantic has ways of her own about which our seas know nothing. ‘Now, my boy, let us do the Old Salt as long as we can,’ said a friend who had crossed many times and knew what to expect. And steadily we paced the quarterdeck for half an hour, when conversation grew rapidly fitful and finally, after a long ominous pause, we betook ourselves below. The next few hours it is not necessary to describe. Everybody has heard of the stage of sea-sickness in which you are afraid you are going to die, and then the still worse stage in which you are afraid you are not. Suffice it to say, that sooner or later you get over it, and in four-and-twenty hours a very large proportion creep on deck, and enjoy the  life-giving breeze and the delicious sunshine.

With a fairly calm sea, deck quoits, shovel-board and skipping ropes are produced on the third day, and everybody tries to enter into enjoyment of some kind. The ship is for a time our little world. There is not very much to do and our steps are circumscribed; but there are many lessons to be learned for those who have eyes to see and ears to hear. There are many on board who are returning after a visit to the home country, and they are full of information, and ready to give it kindly and ungrudgingly. From these the wise ones seek to gather all they can.

They learn that it is useless for those who know nothing about farming to go and place themselves on the 160-acre free grants until they have first spent a couple of years as hired labourers. The people who are sure to get on are farmers, farm labourers, domestic servants, and artisans. Everybody who is steady and will work is sure  of a living, but nothing is to be obtained without toil.

Opportunities for acts of kindness offer themselves, for some are sickly, and there is no lack of kind hearts who vie with each other to make all happy and bright. The ship’s doctor makes a tour of the emigrants’ quarters every day to see that everything is in a sanitary condition, and to minister to all who require his assistance. His cheery smile and encouraging words do good  like a medicine.

Twice a day we have a bright little service on deck, weather permitting. Our choir consists of a dozen or so of the passengers who have voices. We sing a few hymns, in which all are ready to take part with a heartiness that is delightful and stirring. A portion of the Prayer Book service is used, and a short address is given. On Sundays the saloon is placed at our disposal, and is literally crammed with worshippers. Our surroundings seem to make worship very easy. We feel our utter dependence upon our God. We cannot but pray. Hearts are homesick, and turn instinctively to the One Father for comfort. Minds are anxious, and seek for guidance from the great God who holds all things in the hollow of His Hand. Our beautiful Church service never seemed so delightful nor so full of happy, holy associations as now. And when a small group of us gather round the Holy Table, in happy communion with each other and with our Lord, we can not feel that He who gave His life for us will take care of those we have left behind, and that our future, unknown as it is, is safe in His keeping.

The days go by pleasantly if a little slowly. Occasionally we see a passing ship and, if possible, signals are exchanged. And as we approach the banks of Newfoundland we get into the track of icebergs.  Great is the excitement when the first is seen like a great mountain of snow rising out of the deep. It is sixty feet high and a quarter of a mile long. In the course of four-and-twenty hours we no less than twenty-three and each is different, and are all beautiful. But they are not things of beauty only. If a fog comes on they are a source of great danger as a collision with one of these masses of floating ice means almost certain shipwreck.

Soon, however, we are clear of their track and now we are anxiously inquiring, from the men on the watch, how soon we shall catch a sight of the longed-for land. So accurate are their calculations that they can tell us almost to a few minutes. A thrill of delight is experienced by all when the lighthouse gleam is first sighted. Another hour’s run and we shall be in Halifax harbour!” We are leaving the Atlantic rollers behind and passing into still waters. More lights are seen. A gun is fired on the ship and immediately answered by another on shore. Rockets are sent  up and the sky is all ablaze with coloured stars.

It is a lovely night, the air is crisp and frosty, the moon beams upon us in brilliant fulness, and as we glide silently to the quay side, all the glories of the skies are reflected in the glassy sea. The whole is a touching illustration of the close of the Christian’s life when the waves of this troublesome world are safely passed, when all the perils and perplexities are for ever over, and he calmly enters into the ‘haven where he would be’.

With marvellous alacrity the living freight is unshipped and, after the scrutiny of the custom-house, the trains which are in waiting hurry us off to Montreal and to Ontario and the far West. Thus is the daughter colony continually receiving precious supplies from the mother country. And while she feeds and enriches them she, in her turn, is being made great and  prosperous by them.

 

The Rev Job then provided the names and addresses of church organisations in the UK willing to help emigrants.

Sources:

About Pte James Pickard Bell – ‘Wensleydale Remembered’ by Keith Taylor, Country Books, 2004, p128

Article by the Rev Job published in ‘The Church Monthly’, 1892, pp 150-152, with permission from Aysgarth PCC.

Nightingale Duet

From The Church Monthly: In April and May 1892 the Vicar of Aysgarth, the Rev Fenwick Stowe,  reported on how a ‘miners’ strike’ had affected the train service in Wensleydale, and the Rev Theodore Wood recounted how he had a ‘duet’ with a nightingale.

The Rev Stowe wrote in the Aysgarth Parish Magazine in April: ‘ The principal event of March in our Parish was the Confirmation on the 18th. It had been arranged for our [35] candidates to go to Askrigg, but three days before the date fixed the afternoon trains were taken off, and the Bishop of Ripon most kindly consented to hold an additional Confirmation here, as we could not vey well go to Askrigg. So the great miner’s strike was productive of some good after all. The Bishop gave a most beautiful address and everything passed off  as well as possible.’

It is likely that the Rev Stowe was referring to the closure of the Durham mines from February until June 1892. In 1891 the Durham Coalowners Association had proposed reducing the miners’ wages by 15 per cent as the low price of coal had led to a loss of profits. In January  1892 Durham Miners’ Association refused to accept any reduction in wages or to go to arbitration. So, on February 27, the owners closed the mines. The man who mediated the settlement three months later was the Bishop of Durham, the Rt Rev Brooke Foss Westcott. The owners agreed not to reduce wages by more than 10 per cent and that no miners would be victimised. Bishop Westcott was known for taking a practical interest in the miners. His last sermon was at Durham Cathedral during the service for the Durham Miners’ Gala on July 20 1901 and he died on July 27.

nightingale

From Rev Wood’s An April Ramble: If our ramble takes place after the 15th of the month we ought to hear the nightingale; provided, of course, we dwell in a part of the country which nightingales favour with their summer residence. It is quite a mistake to suppose that these birds only sing by night; for they sing at almost any hour of the 24, if only they are far enough removed from the dwellings of man.

I always challenge them to a competition by whistling a few soft notes, and then waiting for an answer. In a few seconds, at the most, this always comes: for the nightingale is very proud of his own vocal powers, and ever ready to enter the lists with a competitor. So we whistle and reply to one another, the bird and I, for a minute or two, and then the nightingale grows excited and comes a little nearer; and we carry on the duet until he comes nearer still, and finds out the trick that has been played upon him. And then, I regret to say, he gives vent to a perfect torrent of abuse, in tones which no one would ever have imagined could possibly have proceeded from a nightingale’s throat.

Shakespeare tells us that the hen bird is the vocalist.

‘The nightingale, if she should sing by night,

When every goose is cackling, would be thought

No better a musician than the wren.’

But here Shakespeare is wrong, for it is the cock only that sings; and his impassioned strains seem designed first to win the heart of his little brown lady-love, and then to cheer her as she patiently sits on her five olive-green eggs.

From A May Ramble: A nightingale is singing away merrily. Somewhere hard by, but so cleverly hidden that it takes a keen eye to detect it, is his nest, with his homely little mate sitting upon her eggs. So long as her labour of love continues, so long  will  he continue to cheer her with bursts and snatches of melody. But as soon as the little ones appear his vocal powers will leave him; and then for ten long months he will be as voiceless as his mate.

Here … is another nest, a hedge-sparrow’s, this time with three pretty pale blue eggs already gleaming out  upon the warm lining of moss and hair. Let us hope no wandering cuckoo will detect it, and place one of its own eggs therein; for in that case the poor hedge-sparrow will lose all hope of bringing  up her family. The young cuckoo, almost as soon as he is born, will realise that there is not sufficient room in the nest for its rightful occupants as well as himself; and, taking advantage of his superior strength, he will push them over the side, one after another, until he is left alone in the usurped dwelling. Strange to say the bereaved hedge-sparrows seem careless of the fate of their offspring, and bring all the food which should have  gone into the five  little gaping beaks to be devoured by the murderous cuckoo! The mother cuckoo, meanwhile, having laid her egg, seems to lose all further interest in it, and never comes near the nest again; so the parent and child remain for ever strangers.

I once found two cuckoo’s eggs in the same nest – a very rare event. I wondered if both cuckoos had hatched out? Probably they would first have thrown out their fellow-nestlings, and then have had a duel, in the course of which the weaker of the two would have shared the same fate. For the young cuckoo grows so fast that in a very short time there would have been no room in the nest for both; and I am quite sure that one pair of hedge-sparrows could never manage to find food enough for two such voracious little creatures.

What is that bright green inset which flew up from the patch of sandy ground just at our feet? Here is another running rapidly along a foot or two in front. We make a quick dab at it – for it takes to flight almost as readily as a blue-bottle fly – and find that we have captured a tiger-beetle. He tries his very best to bite us, and those big curved jaws look sharp and powerful enough to pierce at least the skin of our fingers; but we know how to hold him, and he has recourse to his other means of defence – a curious odour, vey much like the scent of the sweet briar, which he is able to pour out at will. Having admired his armour of green and bronze and gold we let him go, to resume his ravages among  his fellows. For the tiger-beetle is aptly named and is one of the scourges of the insect world.

For more about the Rev Theodore Wood see Memories of a beetle collector

Sources: “The Story of the Durham Miners” by Sidney Webb, The Labour Publishing Co Ltd, 1921

Wikipedia – about Bishop Westcott

“The Church Monthly” including the “Aysgarth Parish Magazine”, April and May 1892 with permission of Aysgarth PCC

Memories of a beetle collector

knicker-bockers

A boy filling his pockets with bottles so that he could collect beetles and other creepy crawlies conjures up memories of Gerald Durrell – or even his mentor, Theodore Stephanides. But  this Theodore died in 1923, two years before Durrell was born.

The Rev Canon Theodore Wood FES (1863-1923)  followed his father, the Rev John George Wood (1827-1889), in almost everything.  Both trained to become Church of England clergy but then went on to become well-known for their popular books and articles about natural history. (Left: A boy in knicker-bockers like those Theodore Wood would have worn. Theodore had a sister, Amy, who was two years younger than him. The illustration is from the March 1892 issue of The Church Monthly.)

Theodore wrote in his biography about his father: “[It] may fairly be claimed for my father that he was the first to popularise natural history, and to render it interesting and even intelligible to non-scientific minds.” (The Rev J G Wood; His Life and Work by Theodore Wood FES)

The 1892 compilation of The Church Monthly owned by Aysgarth Church begins with a letter by the Rev Fenwick Stowe, Vicar of Aysgarth, introducing the new parish magazine. That January he reported that he had given the second of his two lectures (illustrated with lantern slides) about his visit to Canada “in the Gymnasium”. I am grateful to Bob Ellis and Liz Kirby for identifying this as having been a room in the tall building at the top of Church Bank opposite the Aysgarth  Falls Hotel. In the 1881 census it was called the Palmer Flatt Boarding School and was also known to the local community as the Rev Hales’s school – for its headmaster from 1877 was the Rev Clement T Hales (1845-1900). He moved what had become Aysgarth School to its present site at Newton-le-Willows in 1890.  From 1907 to 1947 the building housed the Aysgarth TB sanitorium.

In January 1892 the two-page parish magazine included the church notices and information about two baptisms. It ended with this comment by the Vicar: “We hope every one has noticed the beauty of our Christmas decorations.” This was followed by the January edition of The Church Monthly beginning with:

 

january_titmice

Rev Wood:

For more than twenty years now, with two or three brief interruptions, I have been one of those fortunate mortals who are able to enjoy a country ramble at all seasons of the year. I have made pretty fair use of my opportunities.

I began by incurring scorn and contumely at school because I would prefer insects to cricket, so that a fine “painted lady” or “lime hawk” seemed to me a better and a greater thing than a score of ever so many, not out; I have been looked upon as a sort of amiable lunatic almost ever since, owning to my fondness for going about with a net in my h and, and my pockets stuffed out with bottles and pill-boxes; and I am still regarded by a certain section of my parishioners as one who ought, by all means, to be encouraged (on the strength of sixpence apiece paid for many a blindworm and hedgehog), but who is undoubtedly in some respects much more than a little “daft”.  “’Ee bring whoam to-ads in ‘is ‘arnkerchief, ‘ee du.”

But the result is, that from January to December I know pretty well what is going on in the fields and woodlands around me, where it is to be looked for, and how it is to be found.  January might not seem a very promising month for out-door rambling; and yet I have always found much to interest me.

Once I went out, from pure curiosity, and without the least expectation of finding anything, to fish in a small pond, when the ice was five inches thick, and a sharp north-east wind was blowing. The cold was fearful, and seemed to numb one to the very marrow; yet life in that little pond was going on very much as usual.  The frost had been too much for the fish, it is true; for the thick ice had prevented them from obtaining a proper supply of air…. When I cut out a hole with the chopper which I had brought with me, and sent down my net into the depths below, I found that the more lowly inhabitants of the waters were very lively indeed. Up came a big black beetle… a water boatman … a water-scorpion too, a flat, dull creature, with great jaw-like forelegs and a long bristle sticking out from the end of his body. There were several tiny beetles and several tiny grubs which would be beetles by-and-by, always provided that none of their numerous enemies ate them meanwhile.

In the outer world, however, insects during a frost, are conspicuous by their absence. As a matter of fact, they are as numerous as ever; only they are all in hiding.  Moss is full of them; the loose rubbish underneath haystacks swarms with them; there are numbers beneath the bark of decaying trees, in company with a perfect host of spiders, wood-lice and centipedes; buried in the ground there are numbers and numbers more.

Farmers mostly welcome a hard winter largely with the notion that it will kill down the insects. Never was a more mistaken idea. If anything, indeed, a hard winter is rather beneficial to insects for it prevents the birds from getting at them. And in the following summer they are nearly always unusually plentiful.

Winter moths are curious creatures. One sees numbers of them on fences and tree-trunks in January when the weather is mild; and at night the attractions of the gas-lamps lure hundreds of them to their doom. They are very dull and unattractive-looking beings, most of them; slight in body and sombre in hue, with nothing whatever remarkable about them. But these are the males. The singularity lies in the females, which are fat-bodied, long-legged, spider-like creatures, with only the merest apologies for wings, and bearing no resemblance whatever to their lords and masters. What charms the latter can see in them it is difficult to understand. They are not pretty in our eyes; they are not graceful; they cannot even fly. Yet no doubt they are as beautiful in the eyes of the other sex as if they were as broad-winged themselves, and flashing with all the resplendent glories of some of the tropical butterflies.

One of these winter moths is white, and has a curious faculty of rendering itself quite indistinguishable when sitting upon a black fence. This it does by choosing a spot which has been splashed with mud by passing vehicles; and the mud-spot and the moth, somehow or other, from a few feet away, look to the unpractised eye exactly alike.

The titmice [blue tits] are making themselves very conspicuous. They like to be fed with fat in the winter months, and the best way to do it is to tie  up a  lump of suet in a piece of wide-meshed netting, and then suspend it by a yard or so of string from the branch of a tree. By this plan it is protected from the ever-aggressive sparrow, who cannot cling to the netting as the titmouse can, and is obliged to look jealously on while that feathered athlete peck away at the feast. The sparrow has often hustled the titmouse away from the morning crumbs on the window-ledge; it is something to the titmouse to find him baffled for once.

Nothing to see this January day? There is life, and plenty of it, everywhere about us. A fox prowling cautiously round that rabbit-warren on the side of the hill. Hounds don’t hunt him on frosty days, and he feels safe, and is looking about for a nice fat rabbit for dinner.

Here on this twig is a batch of insects’ eggs, encircling it in a broad ring as regularly as if they had been affixed by human art; there is a cocoon, spun neatly up in a chink of the bark. A neighbouring bough is riddled with beetle burrows; they tell a tale of disease and impending death. Even that tuft of grass at our feet is full of slumbering tenants.

We may not hear the busy hum of life that by-and-by will greet us; we may not see the thronging hordes of active creatures that by-and-by will be at work in wood and heath and fi8eld. Yet Nature is never really asleep; and even on this cold January day her pulses are throbbing around us, and her armies have only to be looked for in order to be found

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It was reported in the February edition of the parish magazine that the weather had been so bad on January 18 that the Sunday School children from Thornton Rust had not been able to attend the Parish Tea in the Gymnasium. But those from Aysgarth and West Burton were there for the prize giving. They also provided the entertainment which included a number of new “Action Songs”. Two days later a concert, also in the Gymnasium, was well attended.

The vicar reported on two other concerts – and a serious epidemic of influenza. He wrote: “The epidemic has certainly reached us now but up to date of writing no very bad cases have been reported. It is much to be hoped that by God’s blessing the change in the weather may tend to stay the spread of the complaint.”

There was also a short financial report about the West Burton Clothing Club in 1891. It was noted that the club was started in 1874 and that more than £250 worth of clothing had been distributed to the poor of West Burton.

In his “A February Ramble” the Rev Wood grumbled about our British winters: “There is no depending upon winter at all. It may bring us a long spell of Siberian cold or it may pass by with scarcely a week of frost or a fall of snow.” He commented again on the fickleness of British weather in his March report (below).

In March the Rev Stowe reported that the list of Lent preachers was not complete “chiefly owing to the influenza”. But at least the churches were open – which cannot be said this year as we approach Easter.

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march_thrush

Rev Wood:

March, to me, has been a month of many and grievous disappointments. When I was a boy in knicker-bockers, madly enthusiastic as any boy could be over butterflies, and moths, and beetles, and things creeping of every kind – with the exception of centipedes which have ever been my abhorrence – I always look forward with hope and gladness to the first few days of March as the end of the winter of my discontent.

According to the books in which I believed with all my small heart and soul, birds ought to be building, and flowers starting up, and bees busily working, and butterflies enjoying the warm spring sunshine, and moths flocking in their multitudes to the honey-laden catkins of the sallow.  And yet, when that distressful month dawned, I sallied forth again and again, and searched tree-trunks by the hundred, and fences by the mile, and turned over stones in number greater than I should like to count, only to return home with saddened countenance, and boxes empty as when I set out.

And once, later, I took a special holiday in March, and went down to a certain favoured spot by the sea, on the strength of many notable captures made at that particular time in the preceding year, only to see the snow on the ground during the whole fortnight  that I was there, while the wind never for a moment came from any quarter but the east.  So that not a single insect summoned up courage to venture from its retreat.

Yet I have had many pleasant rambles in March, and seen many curious and interesting sights; for when the weather is mild, Nature commences her spring work in a  hurry. Birds do begin to build, sometimes, and even get well on with family matters before the end of the month.

One can always look with some degree of certainty, for instance, for the nest of the thrush. For thrushes have two or even three broods to bring up in the course of the season, and therefore it behoves them to begin work early if they want to get their first quartet of nestlings fairly started in life before the gooseberries and currants are ripe.

But they are not at all wise birds in the way they set about their task. Their one great aim and object, indeed, seems to be to make their nest as obtrusively conspicuous as possible.  So they either select a young and solitary tree, in which it must be plainly visible for fifty or sixty yards in every direction (they like oaks best, because the leaves are longest in coming), or they place it within a yard or two of a much-frequented pathway, or they leave a long streamer of straw hanging down, which cannot but attract the notice of every passer-by.

The blackbird, too, which begins building about the same time, is quite as foolish, although in a different way. It takes a good deal of trouble to conceal its nest, and stands by it most pluckily until one is just abreast of the bush in which it is built. Then, however, its courage seems suddenly to fail it, and off it flies with a loud and terrified squall, which inevitably betrays the secret of its dwelling.

A year of two ago I found a nest which had clearly been built by a blackbird of an original and economical turn of mind; for it was placed upon a bramble-branch against a paling, in such wise that the paling itself did duty as part of the structure. Strictly speaking, in fact, it was only half a nest, which was fastened against the fence very much as that of the martin is fastened against the wall of a house. After making it, however, the builder seemed to have been disappointed with the result, for no eggs were laid in it, and it had apparently been deserted as soon as it was finished.

A warm, sunny day in March is sure to bring out some butterflies. Most of these have been hiding away  since the autumn in dark, sheltered corners, and are now bent on recuperating their bodily energies after their prolonged fast. So their object is to find, if it be possible, some early spring flower which will furnish them with a draught of refreshing nectar. Most of these butterflies look much the worse for wear. Their six weeks of pleasure and idleness in the autumn have result in wings chipped and torn, and the loss of many a plum and scale. And some are so tattered and worn that one marvels that they can fly at all.

But this pale yellow sulphur fluttering lazily by is as perfect and fresh as possible. He looks as if he has never flown before. As far as appearances go, he might have come out from the chrysalis this very day. ~And it is more than likely that he has don so for sulphurs, unlike peacocks, and admirals, and tortoiseshells, do not live through the winter as perfect butterflies, but wait until the first warm days of spring to emerge from the pupal shell.

Once, and only once, I ran a sulphur butterfly down in fair chase – soon after I began collecting when sulphurs, as yet, were rarities to me. It led me for fully three-quarters of a mile through a piece of rough and hilly woodland, and at last dropped utterly exhausted in the ferns just before me. I killed  it, and pinned it into my collecting-box – a proceeding for which I have ever since been sorry. The insect  had struggled gamely for its life and done far more than could have been expected of a little weak-winged butterfly. And I think it deserved its life.

We shall very likely see a squirrel – not gambolling among the trees, as by-and-by he will, but either visiting or returning from one of those stores of nuts and beech-mast which he  laid up so carefully in the autumn. For his appetite, after five months or so of slumber, is as keen as that of the butterflies, and he is now able to reap the fruits of that strange instinct which led him to provide for a future of which, very likely, he had no conception at all. For how can a squirrel of three of four months old know that a time of frost and cold is coming in which it will be able to find no food? Yet it lays up its stores, just as if it had lived for years. Truly a wonderful  instinct.

I once say a squirrel drop from the upper branches of a lofty tree. In leaping from one bough to another his missed his footing, and fell some fifty feet to the ground. I ran to the spot, expecting to find him a crushed and quivering carcase; but long before I could reach him he was on his feet again, scampering as fast as his short legs would carry him to the nearest tree, and apparently none the worse for his tumble. For a squirrel, when he falls, stretches out his legs to their full extent, and converts himself into a kind of parachute; so that the air buoys him up, just as it buoys up on oyster-shell or a flat stone when we throw it sideways. And consequently the rapidity of his descent is greatly lessened, and he alights on the ground uninjured.

Children’s Playtime early 1890s

indoor_playtime

When I was helping to scan the Aysgarth and Upper Wensleydale Parish Magazines for the Friends of the Countryside Museum archives it was very difficult not to be tempted into reading some of the fascinating stories in The Church Monthly annuals in which they were published. Now I’m “locked down” I do have time to go back and read those books more carefully – and to share some of the most fascinating stories and illustrations.

I start with some wonderful illustrations of children at play. The first two pages were published in July 1892:

holidays_one

holidays_two

 

Those below were published in 1894, probably in February.

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kitty_two

 

From The Church Monthly,  1892 and 1894, published by The “Church Monthly” Office, Ludgate Circus, London. My thanks to Aysgarth Parochial Church Council for allowing me to reproduce these from books owned by St Andrew’s Church.

A Mothering Sunday story

The carved wooden pulpit at St Andrew’s Church, Aysgarth, has an unusual feature: on the central panel there is an old woman.

I like to think that the man who donated the pulpit to the church, Frank Sayer Graham, had her included in memory of his mother who, in the Victorian era, would have been described as a fallen woman!

In 1851 Frank’s mother, Elizabeth, then 25-years-old, was listed as the house servant of  59-years-old Francis Sayer of Aysgarth. Her son was born in 1859 in West Witton and she returned to Aysgarth as Mr Sayer’s housekeeper. It was not until Mr Sayer died that Frank added Sayer to his name. According to the 1881 census he was an unemployed clerk living with his mother.

He did eventually inherit from his father and ten years later was living in Aysgarth on his own means with his wife Mary.

He used his inheritance to build in Aysgarth a state of the art Edwardian house (Heather Cottage) which embraced the Arts and Crafts movement of the time and a fascinating Edwardian rock garden.

This is now the only remaining Edwardian rock garden in North Yorkshire. It was said that between 1906 and 1913 1,500 tons of native stone were used to build it.

Frank also developed a successful business which included exporting live grouse from Scotland to the German Kaiser and silver grey rabbit furs from the warren at Lady Hill in Wensleydale to pre-revolution Russia.

The love of his life was his first wife, Mary but she died in December 1911, aged just 45. To remember her he commissioned that magnificent pulpit. The architects (Messrs Hicks and Charlewood), the company which dealt with the wood carving (Ralph Hedley and Son) and Robert Beall who did the stonework were all based in Newcastle upon Tyne.

The vicar of Aysgarth, the Rev  William K Wyley reported in the Upper Wensleydale Parish Magazine  in April 1915 that the Bishop of Richmond would dedicate the pulpit that month.  He added: “The service will be choral and the Bishop will preach.”

He continued: “The pulpit is of richly carved Crown Austrian Oak of natural colour. The shape is octagonal and the design is XV (15th) Century Gothic in keeping with the ancient Abbot’s Stall and the Rood Screen from Jervaulx Abbey.

“It stands upon a graceful base of Beerstone (which is similar in appearance to Caen stone [of the reredos] but of a harder nature); this base is richly moulded, with traceries and carving.

“The pulpit has four panels, well set back in niches with groined roofs and Ogee-shaped crocketed canopies above, which are designed to accord with those at the end of the Abbot’s Stall.”

He described how other features of the pulpit were not only in accord with the Abbot’s Stall but also with the Jervaulx Screen.

The subject of the central panel of the pulpit, he said, was based on the hymn “Lead kindly light” and represented Jesus about to heal the man born blind (John 9:5).

He noted: “The artist has included the mother of the blind man without direct Scriptural authority.”

The panel on the south side illustrated the hymn “Fight the good fight” as this was another of Mrs Graham’s favourites.  That on the north side was on the theme of Holy Innocents’ Day based on Rev 14:1-5.

On the final panel there is an inscription which reads: “To the Glory of God and in affectionate remembrance of Mary Elizabeth Graham of Aysgarth, who fell asleep on Holy Innocents’ Day  1911…  She sweetened the lives of others and in their love survives.”

The story goes that, when Mary was dying, she asked Frank to marry her sister. This he did but there was, it seemed, little love in the marriage. When he died in 1946 he left his widow the following: A house in Wales, £100, some wooden items that Mary had made, and “a Hoover Sweeper Absolute”. (from Will transcribed by Marian Kirby)

 

The Doctor’s Window

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Above: The Doctor’s Window at St Andrew’s Church, Aysgarth, which depicts the raising of the son of the widow of Nain (Luke 7:11-15).

Before the National Health Service (NHS) was introduced  in Britain in 1948 many people could not afford to go and see a doctor, as a retired doctor, Margaret Hoyle explained:

“You didn’t get the ‘walking wounded’ and there was no preventative medicine then or early diagnosis. People would treat themselves with herbal medicines as long as they could – and medical attention would probably be out of the reach of many because they had to pay a fee.”

DrWillisbThat would certainly have been the situation that Dr Matthew Willis (left) would have found in the 1860s when he became the first doctor to live in Aysgarth. He was born in Aysgarth as his father had a grocery and drapery shop in the village. He qualified as a doctor in Edinburgh.

Dr Willis became known for being kind to the poor but sadly he died of tuberculosis in February 1871. His patients wanted to ensure he wasn’t forgotten and so paid for the stained glass window at St Andrew’s which has become known as the “Doctor’s Window”.

There are now plaques near that window in memory of three other doctors who had been based at Aysgarth. These include Dr William (Will)  Pickles who became famous after the publication in 1939 of his book Epidemiology in a Country Practice.

Mrs Hoyle said: “The causes of infectious diseases were still being discovered. He was in a unique position  at that time because the dales folk were then fairly circumscribed. If someone came in (from outside the dale) it was noticed. So if there was an epidemic he could pinpoint when it came in and the incubation period.” His careful statistical studies were written up by his wife Gertrude (Gerty) the daughter of the wealthy Burnley mill owner, Harry Tunstill, who owned Thornton Lodge at Thornton Rust.

Dr Pickles joined the Aysgarth practice in 1913 but was away from  April 1914 to January 1919  when he was serving as a surgeon with the Royal Navy. He died in 1969. Doctors Derek and Margaret Hoyle ran the practice from 1979 until they retired in 1995.

I interviewed Mrs Hoyle in 2009 when we were preparing for the Heritage Event at St Andrew’s.

For more about Dr Pickles click here

YDNPA – Planning Committee March 2020

An ARC News Service report on the meeting of the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority’s (YDNPA) planning committee on March 10 2020. Items discussed were: Shoemaker Barn at Grinton, Hazel Brown Farm Visitor Centre at Melbecks, an extension to the School House in Arncliffe, and the proposal for enforcement action concerning caravan hard standings at the Falls Country Park, Beezley Farm, Ingleton.

Pip Pointon reports on the YDNPA meetings   on a voluntary basis as part of the Association of Rural Communities’ commitment to local democracy in the Yorkshire Dales National Park.

GrintonShoemaker Barn

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 (above) 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.

Melbecks – Hazel Brow Farm Visitor Centre

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.

Arncliffe

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 Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority’s planning committee has 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 started: “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.”

Ingleton

A decision to begin enforcement action against the owners of the Falls Country Park at Beezley Farm, Oddies Lane, Ingleton, was deferred by the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority’s planning committee on March 10 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.

Craven District councillor 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.)

Richmondshire District councillor John Amsden suggested that the aggregate should be replaced with grasscrete because that would blend in better.

Immanuel Kindergarten, South Sudan – a story of hope

Carolyn Murray MBE and I became friends when we were working in South Sudan in the early 1980s, and we both shared the deep sorrow of watching that country being destroyed by yet another civil war. But there were many Southern Sudanese, like Esther Poni Solomona, who didn’t give up hope. With other Mothers’ Union members she re-started the Immanuel Kindergarten in Yei and, with the help of friends like Carolyn, it has become a beacon of hope in a war-torn country. This is the story Carolyn shared with me:

A joyful parade of 140 kindergarten children with their parents and teachers led by a local brass band marched through a small town in South Sudan in December to join 2,000 from their community who had come to celebrate their graduation with their guest of honour – Carolyn Murray of Lancaster. (All photos courtesy of the Immanuel Kindergarten Charity)

A few weeks later she would be honoured with an MBE for her work with that school – Immanuel Kindergarten in Yei (pronounced Yay) which is near the Ugandan border.

The children’s parents and grandparents are struggling to build a future in a land torn by two civil wars since 1955. Many have spent years as refugees.

Carolyn worked in South Sudan for ten years in the peaceful time between the civil wars (1972-1983). In the early 1980s she visited her friend Esther Poni Solomona in Yei, as Esther’s husband was the Episcopal Bishop there. Esther started the Immanuel Kindergarten in the vestry of the Cathedral – but very soon most of the town’s residents had fled as refugees to Uganda.

When they began returning with their few belongings to Yei in 2002 there wasn’t much left – and there still isn’t.

esther_classroom

Esther and her Mothers’ Union colleagues re-started the Kindergarten but they had only a dilapidated hut for a school. The roof was falling in and inside was dark and dreary. (left – Esther in one of the  classrooms)

Believing that the children deserved a new start Carolyn and friends set up the Immanuel Kindergarten Charity to work in partnership with families in Yei to build a new school. Fundraising began in 2006 and the new school building was officially opened in 2009. In 2015 the charity had funded a new school hall and a bore hole well to provide clean drinking water.

Of the graduation ceremony in December 2019 Carolyn said: “It was the culmination of 11 months planning and hours of hard work by the entire staff team who work long hours for minimal financial reward.

“It shows how much education is valued and more than one speaker talked about education being the key to long-term peace in South Sudan. We were privileged to share in the celebrations.

“Malish [head teacher] and the team work incredibly hard to enable the children to have an amazing education. Despite each of the three classes having upwards of 120 children they have lots of opportunities to learn in a fun way.

“The energetic staff bring ‘chalk and talk’ to life with lots of jumping around, singing and rhymes. The older children also regularly spend time reading and writing. Imagine marking 120 work sheets for each session!

“They also have lots of outdoor activities including games and more formal PE lessons.”

Carolyn also visited Yei in August 2019. Her journey that time had included a ten-hour very bumpy bus trip in Uganda from Entebbe to Arua. From there she had flown to Yei arriving just before the end of term which allowed her to see the school in action and to work with the teachers in the classroom.

She then participated in a three-day training course not only for the team at Immanuel but also for teachers from other nursery and primary schools in the area.

Carolyn continues to work part-time as a primary school teacher in Lancaster so that she can help cover the cost of her journeys to Yei without using funds donated to the school. She did some practical sessions during the training course on how to use story books to bring various aspects of the curriculum alive.

“We had lots of fun making caterpillars from socks and butterflies and animal masks creating story sacks as well as sharing ideas. Many of the teachers have had little or no formal training so opportunities like this are very important.

“One of our kindergarten governors led some excellent sessions on administration and management and another taught about child development.” (Both of these governors are South Sudanese.)

She had taken resources with her which will be stored at the kindergarten and can also be used by other schools as well as sufficient funds from the charity to buy another solar panel. With stronger power the photocopier and laptop at the school will be more reliable. She explained: “This means that creating resources and planning are slightly less stressful.”

This was possible because all donations to the charity go directly to the school.

She reported that the school hall was being used during the day for Day Care provision for 20 small children. She said: “The children are part of the whole school family so when there is a need for the staff to use the room for other classes the younger children go outside if the weather is good or into the classroom that is being vacated by the class using the hall.

“This is a self-financing venture with any profits being used to provide extra facilities for the kindergarten. This means that young children are able to access the opportunities the school provides.

“The television in the hall is used regularly to show English Premier league football matches. The customers pay to watch each match. This is proving to be an excellent source of income for the kindergarten.”

In December she attended several meetings about the future needs and plans for the school.

teacher_largeclassThe school is recognised as one of the best in Yei State and so there is a high demand for places. But the three classrooms are bulging at the seams with 120 to 130 children in each.  The charity is, therefore, committed to raising funds to build a new classroom block. (right – an early start for this baby as its mother teaches one of the large classes.)

But the governors don‘t want to remain dependent upon foreign funding. “The focus is on sustainability and having long-term enterprising projects to enable the school to be completely self-sufficient,” Carolyn said.

There are plans to start a bookshop, bringing in supplies from Uganda and selling these at a small profit to help support the school. Carolyn explained: “Part of the requirements for school attendance throughout East Africa is not only to pay school fees but also to take stationery and other items such as a chair, cup and plate. Often it’s difficult and sometimes impossible to buy these things locally so a small local shop would fulfil a huge need and ultimately be a good money spinner.”

The school also aims to have an internet dish which would not only provide it with a reliable internet connection but make it possible to set up an internet café for the local community. This is an expensive project but would provide a reliable and regular supply of income for the kindergarten.

Currently the school is able to provide its pupils with a meal every day consisting of beans and the local staple of maize porridge. The ingredients are provided by the World Food Programme.

The school supplements this with the crops from its own garden which the children help to care for. The school’s feeding programme means a lot to families whose income is only sufficient to buy one meal a month. And they don’t have money to buy underwear – even if these were available in Yei.

carolyn_murray

So on the Immanuel Kindergarten website there is a heading: Smalls for Yei. Carolyn (left)  regularly sends or delivers donations of ladies’ and children’s underwear to the school. There is always a lot of excitement when she distributes those smalls.

When she came to leave in August she was amazed at how much she was given for her journey: 20kg of locally grown or produced food such as peanut butter, honey, roasted peanuts and a couple of bags of something very similar to doughnuts. Plus eight boiled eggs.

“The generosity of people who have nothing never fails to touch me even though I have been experiencing it for more than 40 years!”

Donations can be made via https://www.kindlink.com/charity/immanuel-kindergarten/profile

Kennel Field Trust update

interpretation_board

The work by Thornton Rust villagers  to conserve the ecology and history of the Kennel Field has now been celebrated with an interpretation board thanks to a grant from the Yorkshire Dales Millennium Trust (YDMT).

The interpretation board (above), produced by Shelley Designs, was installed on the renovated Mash House by Paul Sheehan of the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority and two Kennel Field Trustees, David Preston and Deborah Millward.

The board includes photographs of the Mash House (used to cook food for Wensleydale Harriers hounds) and a mid-19th century field barn before they were restored by villagers with the help of one of the first grants awarded by the YDMT over 20 years ago. The kennels used by the Wensleydale Harriers from the 1920s until the late 1970s were, however, beyond redemption.

The grassland in the Kennel Field had not been improved and so in spring has a rich tapestry of wild flowers from marsh marigold in the wet areas to cowslips, early purple orchids, dog violets and pignut, the latter attracting tiny, black chimney sweeper moths.

In 2017 the Kennel Field Trust won a highly recommended award of £4,000 in the Conservation, Heritage and Environment category from the YDMT when the latter was celebrating its 20th anniversary celebration.

This has been used to carry out environmental improvements in the Kennel Field, erect a new fence, purchase a wooden bench which is now near the Mash House and produce the interpretation board. The artwork engraved on the bench by Daniel Thornton-Grace was created by one of the trustees, David Pointon.

Another trustee and its treasurer, Graham Darlington, wrote much of the text for the interpretation board.

At the meeting of the Kennel Field Trust on January 22 it was agreed that, following the untimely deaths last year of David Pointon and Graham Darlington, to ask their respective widows, Pip Pointon and Penny Noake, to become trustees. Lynda Denny also agreed to become a trustee with the added responsibility of taking over as treasurer.

The Trust’s chairman, John Dinsdale, and Deborah asked Pip and Penny if they would like a tree planted in a corner of the Kennel Field in memory of the service their husbands had given. Both agreed and asked if Janet Thomson (another trustee) would also like a tree for her husband, Mike Thomson, who died in January. This offer has been accepted.

The Kennel Field Trust was set up in 1998 to bring the field into public ownership and to restore it so that all could freely enjoy it. There is an 18th century field lime kiln near the western entrance and details about how that was used are included on the interpretation board.

The Kennel Field can be accessed from the car parlk in the Outgang, the lane opposite Thornton Rust village hall. Villagers have carried out extensive restoration work at the Outgang and there is an interpretation board by the car park to explain how the area was used by farmers in the past.

YDNPA – Planning committee February 2020

ARC News Service reports on the meeting of the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority’s (YDNPA) planning committee on Tuesday, February 11. The applications discussed included Monks Church Bridge at Crosby Ravensworth, a time extension for Ingleton Quarry,  and a proposal for luxury camping pods within Thornton-in-Lonsdale parish. A decision about an application from Hazel Brow Farm Visitor Centre  at Low Row was deferred.

Pip Pointon reports on the YDNPA meetings on a voluntary basis as part of the Association of Rural Communities commitment to local democracy in the Yorkshire Dales National Park.

Crosby Ravensworth

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.”

Cllr 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.

Ingleton Quarry

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.

North Yorkshire County councillor 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.”

Member 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.

Craven District councillor 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.

Thornton in Lonsdale

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 Craven District councillor 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.

Mr 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.

Low Row

A decision on an application from Hazel Brow Farm Visitor Centre was deferred as it was felt more time was needed to consider an amendment which had been received just before the meeting.

The original application was for: the conversion of former joiner’s shop to two holiday lets; the demolition of an agricultural building and part of a retaining wall to the southern edge; construction of a new retaining wall, path and dry stone wall; to re-design the visitor centre ground floor cafe and play barn with doors; to alter the first floor of the visitor centre to provide family accommodation; extend that first floor to provide additional accommodation; and install a treatment plant for the joiner’s shop and visitor centre.

The Richmond depot of Highways North Yorkshire had objected because, it stated, the existing accesses were unsatisfactory with limited visibility splays and so the intensification of use would be unacceptable in terms of highway safety.  The planning officer accepted its recommendation that the application should, therefore, be refused.

In the amended application the first floor extension to the visitor centre and all the visitor accommodation was removed. The only development proposed at the visitor centre was to refurbish the ground floor through the insertion of glazed double doors. It  proposed to continue to operate the building as a visitor centre with ground floor cafe only for those visiting it and the craft space on the first floor. The development proposed at the joiner’s shop was unaltered.

New ‘village’ in Bishopdale


Above: Aysgarth Lodges Holidays site is in the foreground.

Aysgarth Lodges Holidays site between Aysgarth and West Burton looks more like a village than a campsite, Cllr Rowland Dent told Burton cum Walden Parish Council on Tuesday February 4. The parish council was also concerned about the impact upon the Yorkshire Dales National Park’s Dark Skies initiative. It’s Dark Skies Festival to celebrate the stunning dark skies of the National Park, so free from light pollution, begins on February 14.

The administrative officer of the Association of Rural Communities, Pip Pointon, told Burton cum Walden Parish Council that the Association had asked the YDNPA’s head of development management, Richard Graham, last week about the situation at the site particularly regarding light pollution.

The Association, she said,  had stated that there was a large amount of glazing to be seen on the other side of Bishopdale and a lot of light was also visible from the A684 when approaching Aysgarth.

She told the parish council that Mr Graham had replied that an officer would check on the situation.

Cllr Dent commented on Tuesday: “It has come to my attention quite recently, since the trees were gone, that on a night it looks more like a village than a campsite. I just wondered how much of it had planning permission and if it was permitted development.”

The councillors noted that all the lodges on the site were changed last year. The chairman, Cllr Jane Ritchie, added that the parish council had not been informed of any planning applications concerning the site since 2007. She said that the parish council had seen nothing to object to when it saw the original plans. Approval for the subsequent changes to the plans had then been made by a planning officer under delegated powers without consulting the parish council again.

The clerk was asked to write to Mr Graham asking that the parish council receive copies of any further replies to the Association of Rural Communities.

Cllr Ritchie said: “The other thing we need to mention is that the National Park is particularly trying to support the Dark Skies  and if they are serious about that, and there are people in this village who are keen on that, then that should be part of their inspection [of the lodge site].”

For a bit more about the history of this site click here.

 

Homeless but not Alone – update

We would like to extend our very great and heartfelt thanks to all those who have contributed in any way to our appeal for the homeless. The response has been absolutely magnificent and we have been overwhelmed by people’s kindness and thoughtfulness.

To date we have distributed packages in York, Newcastle and Nottingham and will be travelling to Leeds very soon. The packages have been very well received and we have been able to chat to the recipients which is helping us to gain a wider insight into the issues surrounding homelessness.

One of the first young men that we met was very pleased to receive a package but seemed equally pleased to be talking to someone as he said that no one had spoken to him all day. He tentatively asked us whether we had any dress trousers and a shirt as it was his brother’s funeral the next day and he was too ashamed to turn up in the clothes he had on.

Unfortunately at that time we did not have the required items although we were able to give him an extremely warm outdoor coat on an absolutely foul night and we made sure that he had some cash to buy something more suitable from Primark the next morning. His story was one of bereavement, neglect and a childhood spent in care homes and residential schools.

At the present time we have received so many clothes that we are unable to take any further large clothing items, although hats, scarves and gloves, particularly for men, would still be very welcome.

We would also continue to appreciate donations of food, personal care items, disposable razors, torches with batteries, sleeping bags and also new underwear (sizes small or medium). Additionally, vouchers or loaded gift cards for popular food and drink outlets would also be very much appreciated. We will be continuing with our work throughout the year and will be accepting items on an ongoing basis.

We are also hoping to team up with a charity called “Focus for Hope”, based at Brighouse Dental Practise, that offers outreach support to homeless people in Leeds on a fortnightly basis, providing hot meals, clothes and personal care items, as well as free dental checks.

If you feel that you could help, please contact Olwyn Chorley on 01969 663531 or ol@thorntonrust.plus.com or Jackie Potter on 07792 857074 or jackiepotter24@outlook.com.

With very much thanks

Olwyn and Jackie

YDNPA–December 2019

Reports from the YDNPA Full Authority meeting on December 17 and the Authority’s Planning Committee meeting on December 12: at the planning meeting there were applications concerning  Yore Mill at Aysgarth; Shoemakers Barn at Grinton, Red Lion Farm at Beamsley; Cracoe; Grassington; Long Preston ; and Ravenstonedale.  A decision concerning Ingleton Quarry was deferred.

Severe back muscle spasms not only forced me into hibernation for most of the month but also made it nearly impossible for me to do any typing. The (voluntary)  ARC News Service aims to provide as complete as possible archive of decisions made at the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority’s (YDNPA) planning committee meetings and as many of the Full Authority meetings as possible. Thankfully these days the Local Democracy Report, Stuart Minting, also attends those meetings.  Below are links to his reports posted on Richmondshire Today:

Full Authority meeting  December 17

http://www.richmondshiretoday.co.uk/yorkshire-dales-national-park-authority-members-raise-concerns-over-tree-planting-plans/

http://www.richmondshiretoday.co.uk/action-plan-unveiled-to-protect-outstanding-cultural-heritage-in-yorkshire-dales/

YDNPA Planning meeting December 10

Yore Mill at Aysgarth:

http://www.richmondshiretoday.co.uk/restoration-of-historic-dales-mill-approved-after-car-parking-issue-resolved/

Shoemakers Barn at Grinton and Red Lion Farm at Beamsley: 

http://www.richmondshiretoday.co.uk/farmers-speak-of-relief-after-backing-from-national-park-planning-committee/

(also see ARC News Service  reports in November)

ARC News Service reports, December planning meeting:

Cracoe

A request by Craven District councillors Robert Heseltine and Richard Foster for a site visit was turned down by the committee. Cllrs Heseltine and Foster argued members should see for themselves how  a proposed new agricultural building at Meadow Croft in Back Lane, Cracoe, would have a negative impact on the landscape and the amenity of neighbours.

But the majority of the committee agreed with  North Yorkshire County councillor Richard Welch and Lancashire County councillor Cosima Towneley that the planning officer had worked hard with the applicant to find a suitable site. The officer explained that the original application for a larger building submitted by James Bowdin was refused because it would have been on a much more prominent site and 20m from a neighbouring property. This application for a smaller building next to Mr Bowden’s house would be 24m from a neighbouring property.

A neighbour, Helen Pullin, however, told the committee that due to the building being on higher ground it would still be overbearing  even if dug in by 200mm to help reduce its height, and the trees to be planted to create screening would be only 15m from her property. Like Cllrs Heseltine and Foster she maintained that the building would still have a negative impact on the landscape.  They agreed with Cracoe Parish Meeting that there were better sites for the building and that it would still be too large.

They also asked how a smallholding of two acres and 30 sheep was sufficient to qualify for an agricultural building.  “Are we setting a precedent?” asked Cllr Foster.

The head of development management, Richard Graham, responded that the applicant was also a self-employed dry stone waller. He, therefore, needed the building not just for storing winter feed and lambing in spring, but also to store agricultural machinery.

Grassington

The committee unanimously approved an application for a single storey lean-to extension at the rear of a house in Main Street, Grassington, and for stone steps and a wrought iron handrail at the front.

The planning officer reported that the applicant had explained that the steps beside an existing wall were required to provide safe level access down a slope which was steep and slippery in bad weather.

Grassington Parish Council had objected to the steps because they would not be in keeping with the village and would create an obstruction and therefore a danger to road users. It added that the steepness could be mitigated by walking where the slop was less severe.

Ingleton Quarry

David Parrish explained that due to a recent appeal court decision the a decision concerning the application by Hanson Quarry Products Europe Ltd to extend its permission to continue working at Ingleton Quarry until until December 2025 instead of ending in May 2020 should be deferred and this was agreed.

The Friends of the Dales had objected to the proposal to extend the operational life of the quarry. It stated: “The 2015 application secured an extension until May 2015 to allow reserves remaining in the quarry to be extracted. We are now told a further five years are needed. The quarry should close to schedule and be restored.”

The chairman of the Authority’s planning committee, Julie Martin, is a trustee of the Friends of the Dales.

Long Preston

Permission was granted for the construction of 16 new affordable homes off Green Gate Lane in Long Preston even though the parish council had felt this would be over-intensive use of the site.

The planning officer explained that in 2014 and again June 2017 permission was given for 13 affordable homes to be built where there had been a large industrial building and a yard. The new application was for eight affordable homes for rent, and the others to be affordable through shared ownership with a Registered Provider retaining the freehold so that they can never be sold outright. She said that the total number of bedrooms had only increased by one.

Long Preston Parish Council stated it did not object to the affordable housing development but, besides what it viewed as over-intensive use of the site, was very concerned about the safety of children walking to and from school as the roads and lanes around the school were narrow with no paths or pavement.

Cllr Welch agreed with the parish council that the access into Green Gate Lane from Maypole Green was very narrow. Like other members he emphasised the need for affordable homes and said: “We have lost two schools [in this area] in the past few years. We would rather have extra houses than lose schools.”

The planning officer pointed out that there was a footpath from the development site to close to the school.

Jocelyn Manners-Armstrong pointed out that the plans included no bungalows for elderly people and asked if any lifts would be installed to help people access the second floor flats. “We are supposed to think about housing for life. And sometimes even young people need lifts,” she commented.

Mr Graham said that suggestion would be considered. And the planning officer added that the application included a mix of housing to allow for various needs. The housing varies from three-bedroom houses to  one-bedroom flats.

Ravenstonedale

Mr Graham assured members that the Flooding Authority would be asked again if sufficient measures would be undertaken to ensure that the construction of a local needs house in the garden of Coldbeck House in Ravenstonedale would not increase the possibility of flooding in that area of the village.

The majority voted in favour of permission being granted once that assurance was given. Both Ian McPherson and Cllr Welch emphasised that the main problem was the possibility of flooding and a resident, Diane Palmer, told the committee that on that issue the Authority had a duty of care.

This had formed part of the objection made by Ravenstonedale Parish Council which was presented by Scott Thornley. It had argued that the construction of the house would have a negative impact upon spacious layout of what was possibly the oldest part of the village and is a Conservation Area. It disagreed that this was an “infill site” and was concerned about the impact not only on neighbours but also the remaining section of the historic mill leat as well as how  removing several  trees would affect the red squirrels.

The planning officer maintained that this would be an infill site in accordance with Eden District Council’s planning policy. He said the applicant had modified an earlier application due to the issues raised by the parish council and residents. The proposed house was now smaller and there would be a flood attenuation tank below ground on the southern side of the site plus a permeable surface for the car parking area.

He said that the high retaining wall around the existing garden would severely limit views into the site and restrict any impact upon neighouring properties.  He added that the mill leat would be retained.

The applicant, Christopher Kelly, told the committee: “We have worked hard with the National Park officers and we believe that this new house in this location would have minimal impact.”

Adam Hurn–an obituary

TwoAdamsS

Above: Adam Hurn (right) with Adam Henson

Over 300 people attended the gathering at Askrigg on November 26 to celebrate the life of Adam Hurn where he was remembered for being a wonderful, caring vet with a tremendous appetite for adventure.

The celebration was held at Bainbridge Vets and one participant commented afterwards: “Adam’s enthusiasm for life and living came across so powerfully. Peoples’ warmth and affection for him, their respect and admiration shone through.”

Local farmer, William Lambert and his family commented: “Adam was a wonderful vet and friend to the whole farming community and we will miss him dreadfully.”

Nobby Dimon scripted the story of Adam’s early life for the celebration and this was enacted by Dan and Amy Cockett.

Adam was born in London in November 1951. His family moved to Manchester when his father, a TV film director, was involved in the early days of Coronation Street, and Adam was s sent to a preparatory school on the South coast. It was there, during his lonely walks, that he became interested in animals. He then attended Westminster School and should have gone on to Cambridge University but was unable to do so due to illness. So instead he hitched lifts to Greece and after a year there gained a place at Liverpool University to study veterinary science.

It was in the university’s sports centre that he met Vanda and they were married in September 1975. Following graduation he first worked with a practice in Liverpool which led to him not only being the vet to Police dogs but also to Knowsley Safari Park. At the latter his jobs included castrating a cross-eyed tiger and lancing very large boils on elephants.

From Liverpool he moved to a mixed practice in Saffron Walden and then a friend from his Westminster School days challenged him to volunteer to work with UNAIS (International Service with the UN).

He and Vanda at first declined because they had two young children. But then, in October 1981, they became possibly the first family to volunteer, he as a vet and Vanda as a teacher. They travelled to a very remote part of Bolivia with their five-year-old and one-year-old daughters, Alice and Daisy, to work with the Guarani Indians. Their new home had no running water nor electricity.

One of Adam’s key projects was to show how, with good management, pigs could be bred to make maximum use of soya and maize and so provide an income and food for families. He also developed a simple water filtration scheme to improve the quality and health of villagers. While in Bolivia they adopted their son Marcos.

When they returned to England four years later Adam was looking for another challenge. He had worked as a student in Bainbridge and was happy to accept David Metcalfe’s invitation to join the practice in Wensleydale.

He served the community as a vet for nearly 30 years and one of his client’s commented: “He was a most rare human-being: wise, thoughtful, considerate, compassionate…the list goes on, including the-best-vet-ever!”

Vanda recounted that the most challenging and heart breaking time for them was during the foot and mouth outbreak in 2001. With David in quarantine she said Adam worked frenetically to try and save the animals of all the farms. “He was constantly phoning the Ministry in Leeds to challenge decisions,” she added.

Following that he was interviewed by Adam Henson for the BBC’s Countryfile programme about the broad range of vet work in the Dales.

Retirement gave Adam and Vanda the opportunity to travel overland through South America from Mexico to Buenos Aires, during which they spent over a month back among the Guarani Indians – who now had running water, electricity and even broadband.

At the funeral at Skipton Crematorium Vanda said: “Life’s an adventure. It certainly was with Adam and I’ve loved every minute of the adventure – from our early days in Liverpool… to Bolivia, India, Spain and our wonderful Wensleydale.”

At the celebration at Askrigg Adam’s huge sense of adventure was also remembered. His love of windsurfing was described by David West-Watson. “We have travelled to some very windy locations for some ‘intense water therapy’. Adam suffered the same bug as me – he loved it when it was extreme – the slight fear and enormous exhilaration,” he said.

Adam went on windsurfing courses in Brazil, Spain and Ireland, as well as at Tiree with Peter Hart, described by David West-Watson as a teaching guru for windsurfers. Hart sent the following email:“Adam was the inspiration for the saying ‘age is just a number’. After four days of gales when others were flagging, Adam would be out there bouncing around like Tigger from Winnie the Pooh … “

Adam’s insatiable spirit of adventure was also well known in Wensleydale. Will Daykin described the adventures the Wensleydale Mountain Biking group had had thanks to Adam finding “short cuts” by looking at Google maps. “We have an annual Christmas ride down from Tan Hill. Adam’s ‘extra bit we could do’ actually involved a section of rock climbing,’” Will said.

The others who participated in the celebration included: Adam’s daughter, Alice Hurn; Helen Appleton ; Andrew Fagg; Peter Nettleton; Richard Fawcett; and Dan and Amy Cockett.

Vanda especially thanked the staff at the neurosurgery unit at the James Cook University Hospital and neurosurgeon Mr Varma. She spoke of how Adam established a mutually respectful relationship with Mr Varma, the neurosurgeon, and they discussed all the details of his treatment including when to stop it.

He died at home in Bainbridge on October 10. “Adam felt he had the best possible treatment,” Vanda said.

Donations are being shared between two Askrigg charities: Low Mill Outdoor Centre of which Adam had been the chair, and Yorebridge Sports and Leisure Centre of which Vanda is the chair. Donations can still be made via http://www.yorebridgesportandleisure.co.uk/donate/ or Yorebridge Centre, Askrigg, DL8 3BJ tel. 01969 650060.

Homeless but not alone

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Above: Olwyn (left) and Kate Chorley with the type of gifts which will be useful.

Two Richmondshire families have joined forces to provide many homeless people in nearby towns and cities with useful gifts that will help them over Christmas and into the New Year.

Olwyn Chorley of Thornton Rust and her daughter Kate and Jackie and Andrew Potter of Richmond are collecting vital items for the gift packages which will be distributed in Darlington, Leeds, Middlesbrough, Newcastle and other towns.

Mrs Chorley said: “We would be really grateful for donations of new or second hand items that we can include in our packages. The packages will be life-sustaining, but, just as importantly, they will send out the message to rough sleepers that people do care and are thinking of them.

“Although we don’t want to be prescriptive, some suggestions of useful items are: homemade, new or second hand gloves, hats, scarves, socks and jumpers (knitters get busy), unwanted warm coats, packs of toothbrushes and toothpaste, combs, tissues, chapsticks, nail clippers, plasters and antiseptic cream, sanitary towels, baby wipes, hand sanitizer, small LED torches with spare batteries, sleeping bags, emergency foil survival blankets (very cheaply purchased online), cereal bars, peanut butter, ring pull cans of tuna, bottles of fresh water and Christmas treats.

“However, I am sure that there are many other items that could be helpful, bearing in mind that the homeless have limited storage space and everything will be gratefully received. If you would like to include a card or message for the recipient then this will reinforce the feeling that people care.

“Rough sleeping must be pure misery, especially during these harsh winter months, and no one actively chooses this way of living. People sleeping on the street are almost 17 times more likely to have been victims of violence. Homelessness can be the result of severe disadvantage, abuse and mental or physical health problems but it can happen to the least likely individuals due to a series of unfortunate life events.

“More than one in three people sleeping rough have been deliberately hit or kicked or experienced some other form of violence, including being sexually assaulted and urinated on and they are over nine times more likely to take their own life than the general population. They are at grave risk of developing physical and mental health problems and addictions and the average life expectancy of a rough sleeper is 44 years.

“I was recently talking to a young homeless man in London whose teeth had been kicked in, unprovoked, by a group of suited city workers. What is that about? Less than a year ago he owned his own house and earned over 20k working as a self-employed plumber.

“Charities such as Crisis, Centrepoint and Shelter do a fantastic job in supporting those in need and tackling the complex issues underlying homelessness but they can’t reach everyone. People who live on the streets report feeling invisible, worthless and that no one cares. Homelessness is something that we are quite removed from in the Dales; but we are a caring community.”

She added that Mrs Potter is spending all her spare time knitting. In September Mr and Mrs Potter raised over £1,300 for Crisis and have been invited to attend the Crisis Carol Service at Newcastle Cathedral in December in recognition of their contribution.

Kate Chorley is collecting items from her university friends at Nottingham. In Wensleydale items can either be left in Mrs Chorley’s garage at Stall House, Thornton Rust. Mrs Chorley is also willing to collect items and can be contacted at 01969 663531 or email ol@thorntonrust.plus.com. Those living in or close to Richmond can contact Mrs Potter at 07792 857074 or email jackiepotter24@outlook.com.

Mrs Chorley commented: “We know that small gestures can have a big impact.”

YDNPA – Planning committee November 2019

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Above: Shoemaker Barn at Grinton

The future of farming in the Dales was at stake warned members of the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority’s ( YDNPA ) planning committee on November 12 2019 when they discussed applications affecting the Red Lion Farm at Beamsley and Shoemaker Barn at Grinton. They also discussed a development of nine new houses and a barn conversion at Horton in Ribblesdale.  It was agreed to defer a decision about the proposed conversion of Yore Mill at Aysgarth.

Pip Pointon reports on the YDNPA meetings on a voluntary basis as part of the Association of Rural Communities commitment to local democracy in the Yorkshire Dales National Park.

Beamsley and Grinton

The majority of the members refused the advice of an officer to approve an application by the Chatsworth Settlement Trustees for Bolton Abbey Estate to change the use of a dwelling, barn and agricultural buildings to form offices, storage buildings and workshops at Red Lion Farm, Beamsley partly because this would mean a tenant farmer and his family would have to move out of their home.

The members also went against officer’s advice when they approved an application to convert Shoemaker Barn at Grinton into an agricultural worker’s dwelling. Both decisions have been referred back to the meeting on December 10 and that was especially questioned by members following the overwhelming vote to refuse the application concerning Red Lion Farm.

The head of development management, Richard Graham, said that officers needed to analyse the reasons put forward by the members to ensure that they were defensible in court. He added: “The reference back wouldn’t be for officers to reinforce their reasons for their recommendations.”

Parish council representative Allen Kirkbride told the committee during the discussion about Shoemaker Barn: “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.”

He noted similar had been said about the younger members of the Winterburn family at Red Lion Farm and stated: “The future of farming in the Dales is at stake here and we need young people.”

Joanna Winterburn had told the committee: “This is a frightening experience for me, my family and it affects a lot of other people all in aid of creating storage and offices.

“Without successive tenancies the young generation will move out of the area in search of security, taking with them the skills passed on through countless generations.”

John Akrigg, the agent for Chris Porter and his wife who had applied to convert Shoemaker Barn to create a family home for themselves, said: “Without the retention of the people who possess the skills to safeguard these landscape features the Dales that we all love and fight to protect cannot be sustained. One day the Swaledale [sheep] may be the icon for the Dales but the herds will have disappeared.”

He added: “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 today they will do something positive and send a message to other young people that they have a place here.”

Richmondshire District councillor John Amsden said it wasn’t right to kick a tenant farmer out to provide storage facilities and commented later: “It’s the farmers who keep the landscape looking lovely for tourists. They don’t do it for you lot, they do it for a living and it’s a very hard living.”

Shoemaker Barn

The planning officer had recommended refusal of the Porters’ application because they had not proved a need for an agricultural worker’s dwelling at Grinton and because: “The proposal would lead to the creation of a fake and prominent ‘traditional barn’ that never previously existed which would result in a harmful and disruptive effect on the understanding of the historic landscape and the significance of the Barns and Walls Conservation Area.”

Richmondshire District councillor Richard Good commented: “I find it difficult to say that we need to keep it like that because it is in a conservation area… because it is ugly.”

Cllr Kirkbride argued that the Porters wanted to restore the barn to how it had looked years ago. They would do this, he said, by removing concrete extensions, lifting the roof slightly to the height it had been before a fire many years ago, and re-inserting windows where they had been previously.

The alterations over the years had meant that less than 30 per cent of the original barn remained but another member, Jocelyn Manners Armstrong, said: “I do think the applicants are in a difficult position here and it is partly the way our policies are constructed that puts them in that position and, therefore, we have a bit of responsibility to try and help. On one hand we say there’s not enough of the original building left for us to say it is a traditional building [that can be converted]. On the other hand we say that it would be a new build in the open countryside. There is an interesting traditional building which they do want to restore.”

She explained that she had voted against the Porters’ application in December partly because it was for a holiday let or a family home. But this time it was for an agricultural worker’s dwelling and she, like many other members, accepted there was a need.

The planning officer stated that there wasn’t evidence that the 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. The new agricultural building would be sited behind the barn.

He said that Porters should consider creating a new dwelling on land owned by their extended family at Oxnop or at Gunnerside – or apply to add an extension to their present home at Grinton.

Cllr Kirkbride pointed out that the farm enterprise had land from Grinton to Gunnerside and so needed agricultural workers at either end as well as at Oxnop. For that reason the agricultural need should be based upon the farm enterprise as a whole he said.

Member Ian McPherson commented: “Given the need to support and nurture and enhance farming in the Dales and in view of the fact of the reports relating to individual members of the family and their health concerns…. I feel the benefit of the doubt should be given to the applicants.”

About the Red Lion Farm application he said that the approach by the Chatsworth Settlement Trustees was “completely unconscionable”.“I cannot imagine where they are coming from if they are taking the view that the store requirements… overrides this very long standing tenancy and the needs of a Dales farmer and his family who have been farming in the area for generations.”

Red Lion Farm

Colin Winterburn told the committee: “It seems to us that the Estate are intent on removing the indigenous population. We farmed 144 acres until we got notice to quit on 100 acres.”

He said they still had 44 acres on which 60 cattle would be kept. If they have to move they would also have to close their farm shop.

The Chatsworth Settlement Trustees’ agent, John Steel, said that several members of staff and equipment had been displaced when the Tithe Barn on Bolton Abbey Estate was restored. Of Red Lion Farm he stated: “This site offers a very convenient location on a single complex that can accommodate the Estate maintenance teams.”

He added that the Estate was offering the Winterburns an alternative home and compensation that greatly exceeded the statutory minimum and alternative farm buildings but would not allow any more buildings to be constructed.

He continued: “The 44 acres we believe cannot generate sufficient income to support two full-time workers. The farm shop … opens three days a week and the income generated has never been of sufficiently high level where it needs to be taken into account for reviews. Whilst the long-standing tenant is facing change it is a change that will not make the family homeless nor deprive them of the ability to continue farming.”

But North Yorkshire County councillor Robert Heseltine quoted the Tenant Farmers Association (TFA) that neither the new home nor the compensation being offered would guarantee that the Winterburns could continue farming as they currently do and stated: “If this application is successful it will be the final nail in the coffin of this Dales’ farming business. “

They had, he said, farmed with the security of an Agricultural Holdings Act tenancy and added: “It appears there is a break down in the trust needed between the landlord and tenant. What is needed is [time] to reconcile their differences.”

He reported that there were alternative sites as there were hundreds of traditional and modern agricultural buildings on the Bolton Abbey Estate many of which were either not used or under-used.

Ian McPherson asked how anyone would feel if someone came along and said their home was needed for storage purposes and pointed out that even if the shop wasn’t economically viable it was being used and was highly valued by the community. Both he and Mrs Manners Armstrong questioned how approval could be in accord with human rights legislation.

Mrs Manners Armstrong pointed out that interference with someone’s human rights had to be justified as in the public interest. “I do not agree this is justified as in the public interest,” she stated. She, like other members, did not believe the officer’s recommendation was in line with the Authority’s policy regarding change of use as the modern farm buildings were not redundant.

She added: “To approve this would be in conflict with our first purpose – to conserve and enhance the natural beauty, wildlife and cultural heritage of the National Park. And if a Dale’s farm has been in functional operation for 300 years is not a cultural heritage I don’t know what is. To me we have to protect this – this is very important”.

Or as Mrs Winterburn said: “We have worked all our lives to pass this farm onto our children. Should the application be granted not only our lives but the Dales’ communities and the lives of future generations will change for ever.”

Horton in Ribblesdale

An application for nine new houses and a barn conversion at Horton in Ribblesdale was approved with the strong recommenation that a pedestrian footpath to the village should be provided.

The chairman of Horton in Ribblesdale Parish councillor Martin Hanson told the committee that the need for a footway along the B6479 could not be ignored. “This is an extremely fast piece of road despite being a 30 limit. The parish council has sourced and provided a permanent speed camera on a location directly opposite this development and it showed a peak speed of 75mph. In Horton there is no highway lighting. All the lighting is footway lighting sorted out by the parish council. If there is no footway we can’t put in footway lighting.”

The committee asked for a footway to be included in the site plans. But it would be up to Highways North Yorkshire to provide a footway which linked it to the village the planning officer said.

She also told the committee that there would be a serious impact upon the access to the development site if the present lean-to on the barn was not removed. North Yorkshire County councillor Robert Heseltine said that  replacing the lean-to at the front of the barn with a new one at the back did not respect the integrity of the building.

The access to the development will be at one end of a terrace of  four stone and slate terrace cottages which will comprise the local affordable  housing on the site. The five open-market self-build houses will be in a loose farmstead layout, the planning officer said, with one being a new-build farmhouse-style dwelling and four others to look like modern agricultural buildings with timber cladding and metal roofing sheets.

Member Neil Swain  said the latter should be relatively easy and cheap to construct allowing people to build their own homes.

Ian McPherson, however, did not  like the distinct separation between the affordable homes and the open-market ones.  The planning officer explained that this was for purely practical reasons as Craven District Council  will hold the freehold for the affordable homes as the Registered Provider.

She reported that shares for those four houses would range from 25 per cent to 75 per cent subject to the income levels of the prospective purchasers and ownership would be capped at 80 per cent. The district council will enter into legal agreements so that those houses will remain affordable for perpetuity.

Like Cllr Hanson, Craven District councillor Richard Foster commented that it was a shame that it had taken so long since the development was planned in 2012 because now the village’s  school and  shop had closed. He and other members hoped the development would encourage young families to move into the area.

North Yorkshire County councillor Richard Welch, however, asked if young couples would want to move to the village as there was no school for their children and an irregular bus service.

A local resident, Julie Rose, also questioned the likelihood that young families would want to live there. “The only people who want to move to the village now either want second or retirement homes,” she said.

She told the committee that the development would not be in keeping with the style of the surrounding residential properties especially as there would be three different designs on the site which, she argued, would not blend together.

The planning officer reported that the developer had amended the scheme so that the affordable houses and parking area would not be as close to existing houses and so have an impact upon the amenity of neighbours.

Before the debate began there were declarations of interest by North Yorkshire County councillor David  Ireton and Cllr Heseltine. The chair, Julie Martin, declared an interest as a trustee of the Friends of the Dales which had responded to the consultation on the development. She said she had taken no part in preparing that and so would vote. Cllr  Welch said he would speak but would not vote as he had attended discussions about the development at county council meetings. There was a need for transparency in the eyes of the public he said.

Yore Mill, Aysgarth

David Peacock had applied for permission to convert Yore Mill into two apartments, six holiday let apartments and one local occupancy apartment in conjunction with a visitor centre, some business, light industrial and retail use and the re-instatement of the hydro-electric turbine.

Aysgarth and District Parish Council had told the Authority that it supported the application and  would appreciate it if the application dealt with quickly as the  listed building was in a dangerous condition and needed to be restored and maintained as soon as possible.

The North Yorkshire Highways had, however, recommended refusal because of the absence of adequate on-site parking spaces. It noted that if those staying at Yore Mill parked in the YDNPA  car park they would have to cross the bridge where there was no formal footway. “Pedestrians would be expected to walk in the carriageway to the detriment of road safety,” it stated.

When recommending refusal the planning officer stated: “The proposal to convert Yore Mill into a mixed used development without sufficient dedicated car parking would cause congestion in and around the Aysgarth Falls area and displace car parking from the nearby public car parks which would be to the detriment of road safety and the amenity of residents.”

The applicant’s agents had informed the Authority that there were some late developments regarding car parking provision and so asked that a decision should be deferred to the next meeting.

As officers considered this was appropriate in the circumstances it was unanimously agreed to defer the application to December 10.

New vicar for Penhill Benefice

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Above left to right: The Rev Tom Ringland, Bishop Nick, and the Rev Penny Yeadon

There was a party atmosphere at St Andrew’s Church, Aysgarth, on Monday (November 4) as members of the Penhill Benefice churches welcomed their new vicar, the Rev Tom Ringland.

His institution by the Rt Rev Nick Baines, Bishop of Leeds, was witnessed by the Diocesan Registrar Peter Foskett, the Dean of Ripon Cathedral the Rev Canon John Dobson, Area Dean the Rev Canon Penny Yeadon, several local clergy, and the Readers and Churchwardens of Penhill Benefice.

The Rev Yeadon also deputised for the Archdeacon of Richmond and Craven, the Ven Jonathan Gough, as he was too ill to attend. It was she, therefore, who placed the Rev Ringland’s hand upon the handle of the entrance door  (pictured below) and officially inducted him into ‘the real and actual possession of this church and benefice with all its rights, responsibilities and opportunities for ministry.”

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He was then presented with the keys by the Churchwardens who, with the captain of the bell ringers Stuart Huntington, went with him to the tower where he rang one of the bells nine times to signify that he was taking up his pastoral charge.

The Rev Ringland had been welcomed not only by church members but also by representatives of the local communities served by Penhill Benefice. These included North Yorkshire County councillor Karin Sedgwick and parish council chairmen.

When the Churchwarden of St Martin’s at Desford in Leicestershire, Nev Hammonds, commended the new vicar to the benefice he pointed out that the Rev Ringland did face one particular challenge: “He is a keen cyclist and the hills here are a little larger…”

Quite a few from the Rev Ringland’s previous parishes at St Bartholomew at Kirby Muxloe and that at Desford attended the service although one group was left stranded in Leicestershire when the minibus it had hired did not appear.

During the service the Bishop told the large congregation that the teachings of Jesus, especially in the Beatitudes, showed that Christians don’t have to conform to the world. Instead they should have a prophetic witness.

“There’s only one measure of the faithfulness or the integrity of the Christian church and that is when people look at us, when they touch us, when they hear us, … they see some representation of Jesus. The church does not exist to save the church. The church exists to save the world out there,” he said.

He added that this might mean sacrificing the culture and ways of worship of the church so as to meet people where they were. And part of the job of a vicar was to enable that to happen.

After the service most of the congregation stayed to enjoy the homemade canapes and to chat with friends.

In his first letter to his new benefice Mr Ringland said he grew up near Canterbury. It was after he graduated in Geology from Durham University that he felt drawn to the Christian ministry.He volunteered in a church in the East End of London for a while and then spent a year in Sudan and Kenya in Christian relief work before beginning ordination training at Trinity College Bristol.

He met his wife, Bev, in Bristol and they were married during his first curacy in Crawley, West Sussex. The youngest of their four children is 19. During his ministry they have lived in Coalville and then, for the past 13 years, at Kirby Muxloe.

He wrote: “Bev grew up in Wharfedale, and it’s thanks to her that I’ve come to enjoy wide open spaces and long walks! We’ve also done a bit of cycling together, but the terrain in Wensleydale looks a little tougher than we’re used to.”One of their sons and their two Labradors, Islay and Skye, have moved with them to the Vicarage at Carperby.

Remembrance stories

Pte William Thomas ‘Tot’ Dinsdale;  Pte Thomas Spence;  Major Donald Herbert Rose MC and Sgt Ernest Moore; Col John William Lodge; and Pte John Percival. Plus Aysgarth Parish and WWI

Pte William Thomas ‘Tot’ Dinsdale

‘Granddad was never the same man again. He was gassed [mustard gas] towards the end of the war. When the Armistice came he was in a hospital somewhere in the Midlands. He was there for a long time. He just got out before the hospital was decimated by Spanish Flue,’ said John Dinsdale of Hawthorn Farm, Thornton Rust. (John is the chairman of Aysgarth and District Parish Council). He continued:

‘Granddad went back to farming at Sedbusk but he was never a fit man. He was always short of breath. If he did anything strenuous he was jiggered. When the lads [his sons] got to be 12 or 13 they did most of the work.

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Above: Tot and Charlotte Anne Dinsdale with their children l-r Thomas (John’s father and also known as ‘Tot’), Alice, Jim, Dorothy, Jack and Margaret.

Below: The kettle presented to Tot Dinsdale by High Abbotside Parish Council in recognition of his service during WW1

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Pte Dinsdale fought with the 1/4th Battalion Yorkshire Regiment throughout most of the war apart from when he was recovering from being wounded, John said.

‘He joined up at Hawes when they first started recruiting – I think there were 15 or 16 of them from the Upper Dale and then they all marched to Leyburn with the rest from the Dale. He thought it was the right thing to do. He was 19 or 20.’

The 4th Yorkshires first experience of trench warfare was during the Battle of Ypres from April to June 1915. The front line battles the battalion was involved with included Armentieres from August to December 1915, the Somme from August to November 1916, Ypres October 1917 (Tot returned to the battalion in time for Passchendaele) to February 1918, and Aisne in May 1918.

At Aisne on May 27 1918 the battalion and others fighting alongside it was decimated by a massive German attack. That was the end of the 4th Yorkshires as a fighting unit during WW1. (from 4thYorkshires.com).

Like many others who returned home after the war Tot found it difficult to talk to anyone about it other than those who had also fought in the trenches. The two he turned to were Anthony and Jack Fawcett, his brothers-in-law, from High Abbotside.

John said: ‘They would go into the far room and shut the door. I’m pretty certain they were talking about the war but as soon as anyone went in they shu7t up. They never talked to us about it. But granddad did talk to my Uncle Ernie – his son-in-law.’ (Ernest Metcalfe)

Anthony ‘Ant’ Fawcett was given a small book of Common Prayer and Hymns Ancient and Modern by his sister Annie (later Mrs Pratt) in February 1914 and he carried that with him throughout the war. From the state of the pages it is obvious that he read some of the hymns a lot such as No230. (See Penny Barker’s address in Remembrance Service at Aysgarth Church)

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Family photo courtesy John Dinsdale. Other photos by Pip Pointon.

Pte Thomas Spence

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Pte Thomas Spence of Walden and West Burton was one of those who did come home from WW1 but then died during the flu epidemic. ‘He was gassed and later got the flu. He died at home,’ said his grand-daughter, Frances Sledge of Leyburn.

For his wife, Fanny, and daughter, Grace Kathleen, his death meant that they had to leave their home in West Burton. Fanny took her daughter back to her family in Wharfedale. They either lived with Fanny’s parents (William and  Deborah Gill) at the post office in Buckden or they stayed with her aunt and uncle at Fold House Farm in Kettlewell.

It was to those addresses that his medals (the British War Medal, the Victory Medal and the 1914-1915 Star) were sent and the family carefully stored them in the boxes and envelopes in which they came.

Tom was born at Hargill Haw Farm in Walden where his father, John farmed. He had four siblings: Margaret, Grace, Sarah and John. In the 1911 census he was described as a 15-years-old draper’s apprentice.  By 1915 he had enlisted with the 4th Battalion Yorkshire Regiment (Green Howards).

On April 1 1915 he wrote to his mother, Margaret Spence,  from Newcastle-on-Tyne: “Dear Ma, I arrived safe and sound, but I got a very pleasant surprise, we are of (sic) across before the 18th of this month. Dont fret or worry I shall be alright…. Tell uncle Kit I am of but dont forget I shall come safely back again. I had a very enjoyable time at Northallerton…. Tell Mr Roulden I shall write to him soon now, to let the School children know how we get on. … I am in the Pink of health. I am  your loving son Tom. Remembrance to all at Burton.”

His battalion had moved from its home base at Northallerton and, just as Tom said, was sent to France on April 18, and straight into battle in the Ypres sector. The regiment saw action at the Battle of the Somme in 1916 which was probably  when he was gassed. He received his honourable discharge certificate and silver badge after being in hospital in August 1916.

He married Fanny Gill at Skipton registry office in August 1918 but died on April 18 1819 aged 23. He was buried in Aysgarth churchyard four months before his daughter was born.  In the 1911 census her grandmother, Deborah, then 57-years-old, was described as being in charge of the post office at Buckden.  Deborah’s husband was then 71-years-old.

“He was a shoemaker. He had a long beard and lived until he was in his nineties,” said Mrs Sledge. Below: William Gill with his daughter, Fanny Spence, and grand daughter.

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Major Donald Herbert Rose MC and Sgt Ernest Moore

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The Festival of Remembrance at St Andrew’s Church, Aysgarth, in November 2018 provided an opportunity for Hugh Rose of Leyburn and Catrina Cloughton of Thornton Rust to remember their father: Major Donald Herbert Rose MC (above).

Major Rose was born in 1885 in Lincolnshire, went to what was then Ceylon in 1910 and became a tea and rubber planter. He joined the Ceylon Planters Rifle Corps (CPRC) in 1911. Lance Corporal (Rifleman) Rose was among the 237 from the Corps who were sent to Egypt in October 1914. They initially helped to defend the Suez Canal against Ottoman Turkish attack.

In December that year they joined the Wellington Battalion of the newly formed Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (Anzac). They made such a good impression that many were sent for officer training. Rose did his in Egypt with the 1/6 Essex Regiment. In August 1915 the regiment was sent to Suvla Bay, Gallipoli. Those who survived were evacuated in December 1915, first to guard the Suez Canal and then to fight the Turkish Army through Egypt into Gaza.

Major Rose commanded the company which was the first to enter Gaza City. From there they went to Damascus where he and his company marched into the city 200 yards behind General Allenby and Lawrence of Arabia. He finished in Baghdad and returned to Ceylon in 1919.

He remained there until the early 1950s by which time he was married. On returning to England they finally settled in Thornton Rust when his wife Joan became the assistant matron at what was then a sanatorium at Thornton Lodge.  He died in 1963.

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“Trina” Cloughton also shared the sad love story of her maternal great uncle Sgt Ernest Moore.

He grew up in Tudhoe Colliery in Co Durham, the only son of John and Alice Moore. John was from a mining family but attended evening classes after he left school when he was 14. He worked his way up to becoming a mine’s inspector.  His job included making sure there was no gas in the mines said Trina.

When Ernest joined the Durham Pals (18th Battalion Durham Light Infantry) at Craken Hall on 29 December 1914 he was 20 years and 10 months old and listed his occupation as “shop assistant”.

After training the Durham Pals were sent to Egypt late in 1915 to defend the Suez Canal. They were then moved to France in March 1916 for the “Big Push”. Sgt Moore survived the Battle of the Somme but was killed in action on 19 May 1918. He was buried at Caestre Military Cemetery in France.

He had hoped to return and marry his girlfriend and had given her a bracelet as an “engagement” present before he went overseas.

Mrs Cloughton said: “He was ‘engaged’ to one of my grandma’s sisters, Emma Musgrave. He and Aunty Emma loved poetry. He sent her a book of poems each Christmas. They are suede covered and wouldn’t have been cheap.”

Emma cut out the “In Memoriam” notice in the local newspaper and stuck it on a page in one of those books. The notice read: “Roll of Honour. MOORE. – In cherished memory of Sgt. E. Moore (Durham Pals), beloved son of Mr. and Mrs. J. G. Moore, Tudhoe Colliery, who fell in France May 19th, 1918. Safe in our Father’s home until the day breaks and the shadows flee away.”

And the poem on that page was God’s Acre:

I like that ancient Saxon phrase, which calls

  The burial-ground God’s Acre….

God’s-Acre! Yes, that blessed name imparts

  Comfort to those who in the grave have sown

The seed that they had garnered in their hearts,

  Their bread of life, alas! no more their own….

Below: It is likely that Sgt Moore is the man with a cigarette standing at the back with his arm resting on a friend’s back. He does look older and battle weary compared to that above which was probably taken before he left England for the Western Front.

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Aysgarth Parish and WWI

In December 1918 the vicar of Aysgarth, the Rev William K Wyley wrote in the parish letter: “I wonder if, in the years to come, November 11 will overshadow the 5th as a day greatly to be remembered.”

He was, however, very aware that dalesfolk were in the midst of the great Spanish Flu epidemic and that the WW1 peace agreement had not yet been signed.

Two soldiers, L/Cpl John Wood of Carperby and Driver William Metcalfe of Aysgarth, were given compassionate leave when their wives became ill with the flu. Both women died, Eleanor Metcalfe (22) before her husband got home.

Soldiers began to be demobbed in early 1919 and this led to Mr Wyley publishing an interesting ‘advert’ in the parish magazine: “The Employment Exchange at Northallerton has asked me to state that it has on its Registers women discharged from War Service and suitable for several classes of employment.”

It was acknowledged that women had an important part to play in reconstruction. The role that women had played during the Great War was recognised when limited suffrage was granted to them in 1918.

In October 1918 Mr Wyley commented: “We are approaching the time when, as a nation, we shall realize more fully what a tremendous change the war has made in the social, industrial and religious life of England.”

In that letter he reminded everyone about the great need of economy in the use of oil and especially coal. “I know that very many of us are reducing our fires to a very low minimum, and where wood fuel is available I am sure we shall be careful to ‘do our bit’ in this respect for our country.” He had regularly emphasised the need for food economy and, in June 1917, explained why (below).

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WW1 had a massive impact upon the lives of everyone and not just because of the ravenous war machine in France and Belgium. The parish magazines not only listed those who had enlisted – but also those who were killed.

When war first broke out local people didn’t know how to respond. Initially events were cancelled but it didn’t take long for people to realise that they could use the church’s flower festivals and other celebrations to raise money for the War Working Parties or to be sent direct to hospitals caring for the war wounded. Concerts, jumble sales and tea parties were also held.

In May 1915 there was a bold headline: “200,000 Eggs wanted weekly for the wounded.” The National Egg Collection had been launched with the request that each household should send one each week to help the recovery of wounded soldiers. The West Burton and District Scout Troop took on the job in the parish and by late November had collected 6,144 eggs. These were sent to military hospitals in France and Malta and some to wounded soldiers at Leeds Infirmary.

HomeFront2SRight: published in the Aysgarth section of The Upper Dales Parish Magazine in December 1917

Children helped with collecting sphagnum moss for dressing wounds, made items of clothing and, in November 1917, were encouraged to collect horse chestnuts for munitions and also waste paper. Mr Wyley reported that within two months he received half hundredweight of horse chestnuts and four hundredweight of waste paper.

The times of services had to be adjusted when lighting restrictions were introduced in February 1916 following air raids by Zeppelins. And the shortage of manpower was beginning to have an effect. In July 1918 Mr Wyley wrote: “May haytime be favourable and health and strength sufficient to tide over the shortage of labour.”

Conscription was introduced in January 1916 and in July 1917 he wrote: “I am glad to say that the local Tribunal has granted exemption to our Sexton on condition that he is released as far as possible for agricultural and other work of National importance.

The signing of the Peace Treaty in July 1919 led to celebrations throughout the country and the Empire. But in Wensleydale the hay harvest had to come first. Mr Wyley commented: “I hope that when all the hay has been led each village… will do something to mark our rejoicing over the Peace and our gratitude to the men who won the possibility of it.”

This has been edited from the Aysgarth sections of the  Upper Wensleydale Parish Magazines 1914-1918. Aysgarth parish consists of Aysgarth, Carperby, Bishopdale, Thoralby, Thornton Rust and West Burton.

Below: The peace celebrations in 1919 at The Rookery in Bishopdale  (courtesy DCM)  The Rookery no longer exists.

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For more stories see the WWI section of the Thoralby Through Time website.

Col John William Lodge

JWLodgeSThe biggest military funeral at Aysgarth church during WW1 was that for Col John William Lodge with the band of his regiment and the detachments of two battalions being present. The firing party fired volleys over his grave and buglers sounded the Last Post. He was 60-years-old when, on leave at his home at The Rookery in Bishopdale, he died on 23 August 1917, after a short illness.

He had served in the Boer War and from 1906-1912 had commanded the 3rd Battalion of the Yorkshire Regiment. At the outbreak of the 1st World War he had immediately returned to the battalion as a major and in May 1916 was appointed to the command of a Garrison Battalion. (Information and photo courtesy Wensleydale Remembered)

Pte John Percival

There wasn’t a military funeral for Pte John Percival but there is a military gravestone. He was 21-years-old when he died and was buried on 12 April 1918.

This obituary was published about him:

“He enlisted when he was 19, and after being trained at Rugeley Camp, went to France in April 1916, and was through the battle of the Somme, being badly wounded in the hand in September 1916. He was sent back to England for treatment, and made a sufficient recovery to enable him to return to service.

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“As he was a competent motor driver he was transferred by the authorities from the Yorkshire Regiment to the Motor Transport, Army Service Corps, in June 1917. In this work he did good service until October last, when he was badly gassed, and was seriously ill. He returned to England, and was in the 1st London General Hospital, Camberwell, until November 27th, when he was officially discharged from the Army as physically unfit for further service.

“A relative went to London to bring him home. He was very weak, and while crossing London an air raid was proceeding, and the journey was several times interrupted. Arrived at Aysgarth he was very happy to see his home and family, and seemed to revive for a while, but the gas had seriously damaged his lungs and recovery was seen to be impossible.

“Though relatives and friends nursed him tenderly day and night there was no progress towards health. The funeral was largely attended by sympathising friends, and some beautiful wreaths and affectionate messages were sent.”

Waterfall of Poppies at Aysgarth church

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A waterfall of poppies is once again cascading over the reredos at Aysgarth church ready for the Remembrance service on Sunday.

The waterfall and a large exhibition were created last year as part of the church’s celebration of the centenary of the signing of the Armistice in 1918.

The part of the exhibition which remembers the local men killed during World War 1 is still in place. All the other information gathered about men and women from the church parish (Aysgarth, Bishopdale, Carperby, Thoralby, Thornton Rust, Walden and West Burton) who also served during that conflict is in two books beside it.

A lot of the information was collected by Penny Ellis and she has continued her research this year. This has enabled her to update the Roll of Honour and some other pages on her website, Thoralby Through Time. She has added five names to the Roll of Honour with the total now standing at 198.

Those she has added are: Elizabeth Ewbank of Swinithwaite and Aysgarth, VAD nurse; James William Fryer of Bishopdale, Driver 52nd Liverpool; Thomas Fryer of Bishopdale, Gunner Royal Garrison Artillery; Joseph Powell Hammond of Thornton Rust, Private Northumberland Fusiliers; and Mark Hammond of Aysgarth, Gunner Royal Garrison Artillery.Mrs Ellis has also found more names of women shown on some photos in her “Home Front” section and added photos of the commemorative cup and saucer produced for the peace celebrations at the Rookery in Bishopdale in 1919. Her research continues.

On Sunday November 10 the Remembrance services at Penhill Benefice churches are: at Castle Bolton at 9.30am; at Preston under Scar at 10.45am; and at Aysgarth at 11am.

Pen-y-ghent cafe

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It was sad to hear  that Pen-y-ghent cafe in Horton in Ribblesdale has been closed this year (see  John Lester’s comment).  Peter and Joyce Bayes not only ran the cafe for many years before  handing over to their children but also founded the Three Peaks of Yorkshire Club.  I first posted the following article in 2009:

Left: Peter Bayes (centre) watches as Iain Main enjoys one of the cafe’s trademark pint mugs of tea, while a walker clocks in after completing the Three Peaks challenge. About his walk along the Three Peaks route  in the  summer of 2009  Iain commented: “I have been coming for many years. I come to be quiet, for solitude and to commune with nature. But at stiles and gates it was like queuing to get into the Marks and Spencers January sales. Sometimes there were 50 people waiting to get through. I don’t begrudge the charities but over a thousand people in a space of 12 to 14 hours is going to take a toll on the undeveloped parts of the path. It’s a great service to the charities but there needs to be a debate with the National Park  Authority about the wear and tear on the landscape and the amount of litter.”

On Saturdays throughout the summer Horton in Ribblesdale is overflowing with walkers taking part in the Three Peaks challenge to raise funds for charities. It has been Heart Research UK’s biggest annual fund raising event for 15 years and, like many other charities, it provides its own support and safety systems.

But for many undertaking the Three Peaks challenge there is still nothing like clocking out and in at the world-famous Pen-y-ghent cafe and enjoying its trademark pint mugs of tea and home-made cakes. Since 1965, when Peter and Joyce Bayes moved to the village, they and their children have turned the cafe into an institution among the walking fraternity. And many are proud to wear the shirts or badges that go with completing the trek over Ingleborough, Whernside and Pen-y-ghent within 12 hours. This entitled them to join the Three Peaks of Yorkshire club instituted and run by the Bayes.

The ping of them clocking back in is a constant background noise throughout summer afternoons except when the cafe is closed on Tuesdays. The family bought an old clocking-in clock from a Lancashire mill many years ago to keep up with the number of walkers who wanted to use their free safety service. For after a long day the Bayes don’t close at 5.30pm and put their feet up. Instead they remain on duty waiting for the last tired walkers to sign back in.

The Bayes family are concerned about the impact of big charity events upon residents, landowners, other walkers and local businesses. In a letter to the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority in 2008 the Bayes stated: “Our business adheres to a guiding set of principles and ethics which are informed by a sense of responsibility for the impact that our customers have on both the immediate locality and the wider landscape.” They have helped large groups to find alternative routes by collaborating with the department of physical education at Leeds University.

Footnote: Joyce died in 2012.

YDNPA – Planning Committee October 2019

An ARC News Service report on the meeting of the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority ‘s (YDNPA) planning committee on October 8 2019. Items discussed were: the new garden at The Burgoyne Hotel, Reeth; extensions and a bathroom window on a barn conversion at Keld; a barn conversion at Halfway House, Hawes; a new shed at Threshfield ; and three new houses at Maulds Meaburn. Pip Pointon reports on the YDNPA meetings on a voluntary basis as part of the Association of Rural Communities commitment to local democracy in the Yorkshire Dales National Park.

This week the impact of tourism upon residents was on the agenda of the planning committee, Hawes and High Abbotside Parish Council, and Aysgarth and District Parish Council.

At least members of the planning committee did discuss how the new garden behind the Burgoyne Hotel in Reeth will affect neighbours and steps were taken to alleviate the problem. But some residents in Aysgarth are having considerable problems convincing the YDNPA that their amenity is being severely affected by a ten-bed holiday let in the middle of the village. In Hawes some residents reported that their privacy had disappeared due to being completely surrounded by second homes and holiday lets (see below). Surely it is time that the YDNPA re-evaluated its policy of increasing the number of overnight stays by tourists.

It was very difficult to report on this month’s planning meeting because the sound amplification system wasn’t working most of the time. My digital recorder did just about pick up most of the debates but it was  hard work transcribing the recordings – just to find out what happened!

Reeth – Burgoyne Hotel

Two committee members put forward a very common sense solution to how to protect the amenity of neighbours once a new garden has been developed behind the Burgoyne Hotel: create a deep cultivated bed along  the boundary wall.

Some residents of Hill Close had objected to the development of the garden because it would be so easy for hotel guests to look down on them over a wall which is only 1.3m high. The planning officer told the committee that the material consideration was the severity of the impact on the amenity of neighbours. He had, therefore, suggested imposing conditions to mitigate the impact.

One of these was that a screen wall or fence should be erected two metres from the boundary. The hotel owner, Ian Hewitt, explained that this and a condition excluding the public from the chef’s garden were overly onerous. He wanted the chef’s garden to be part of the hotel experience for their guests.

Lancashire County councillor Cosima Towneley was the first to suggest a flower bed and then Jim Munday said: “The simple thing is to have a cultivated bed along the wall of an appropriate depth to prevent anybody from looking over the wall.”

The committee agreed and also felt that there wasn’t a good reason to exclude the public from the chef’s vegetable garden. They were told by the planning officer that the vegetable plots would enable the hotel to grow its own food which would assist in the viability of the business.

Residents were also concerned about the possibility of large events being held in the garden accompanied by loud amplified music. Mr Hewitt told the committee  that the grass area of the new garden would not be suitable for  marquees  and added: “We don’t intend to have events there.”

The conditions, however,  included that there should be no formal functions or events  in the new garden; no tents, marquees or other temporary shelters;  no playing or broadcasting of amplified music or speech; and guests not being allowed to be in it after 10pm.

Once the amendments to the conditions had been agreed the majority of the members voted to approve the application for change of use of the land.

Permission was also granted for the demolition of a single storey detached outbuilding at the rear of the hotel. The planning officer explained This narrow brick building with rusty corrugated metal roof was built as a shower block during World War II when the hotel had been requisitioned by the Ministry of Defence. The space created by its demolition would be used for guest car parking Mr Hewitt said. As it is one of the few structures built for military purposes in the National Park during that war there must be a full archaeological recording of it before it is demolished.

Keld

A young farmer, Chris Rukin, explained to the committee the problems he and his family would have with condensation if  the bathroom window in the converted barn they were living in was removed and blocked  up.

The planning officer stated that the modern window, which was installed without permission,  was at odds with the traditional agricultural character of the building. When this was  combined with the proposed extension [on that gable end],  the result would be a complicated and unbalanced appearance detrimental to the significance of the Barns and Walls Conservation Area,” he said.

He told the meeting that officers had worked with the Rukins to create an acceptable proposal for the single-storey extensions and removal of the bathroom window. That proposal was approved in July this year – but then the  Rukins applied to keep the bathroom window.

Mr Rukin explained that the problems with condensation had become severe once he and his wife were living there permanently. As he was working on the farm there was a lot of washing. “The condensation was getting into the walls and starting to smell. When it was used as a holiday cottage there wasn’t the same level of showers and baths. Since the window has been installed we have had no problems. We don’t want to go back to that situation.”

Allen Kirkbride, North Yorkshire County councillor Robert Heseltine and Richmondshire District councillor John Amsden agreed that such a young farming family deserved their support.

And Jocelyn Manners-Armstrong said: “In my opinion this would be seen as unreasonable and disproportionate to refuse permission for this very specific reason when there is a legitimate basis for requiring it [the window].”

The chairman of the committee, Julie Martin disagreed and stated: “As the cultural heritage champion I believe we should take a strong line and refuse it.” She said that she appreciated the damp issues but the officers had been exceptionally helpful and accommodating.  Part of the deal struck earlier in the year, she explained, had included the removal of the unauthorised window. “Its a bit like reneging on the deal to come back to retain the window,” she added.

The deal was for a single-storey extension on the east elevation to provide additional ground floor living accommodation, and a single storey lean-to extension on the south elevation to provide toilet and wash facilities for the campsite on the farm.

Eleven out of 16 of the members voted to grant permission for the extensions and retaining the bathroom window. The reasons they gave were that the window didn’t materially harm the appearance of the building and that it was necessary .

As this was against officer recommendation the decision was referred back to the November meeting.

Hawes

Hawes and High Abbotside Parish Council asked the committee to hold a site meeting at Halfway House so that the members could see for themselves how dangerous the access was.

In February the committee had approved an application to convert the barn next to Halfway House into a local occupancy dwelling. The owner then applied for it to be used for short stay holiday lets as well.

Allen Kirkbride  agreed with the parish council that, as the access was by a corner on the A684, it would be far more dangerous for short stay visitors who didn’t know the area well than for anyone living there permanently. It was also pointed out that the Highways Authority had objected each time to the application because of the access.

Like the parish council Mr Kirkbride also wanted to see the barn converted solely for local occupancy.  “This was specifically for local occupancy. [The owner] could have said in February that it would be dual purpose. Now he comes along and changes his mind. “

The majority of the committee, however, disagreed with him and the new application was approved.

Threshfield

Permission was granted for a shed to be replaced in a garden at Park Grange Cottage.

Threshfield Parish Council had objected to the application because, it said, the new shed would be bigger than the existing one and so too big for the area. It would also be higher than the existing shed.

The planning officer told the meeting that the footprint of the new shed was smaller than the existing one and the ridge height would be 20cm higher. He stated that the new one would fit in the same space which was bounded by three walls. “The proposed development will result in an improvement to the appearance of the site,” he said.

Maulds Meaburn

A large number of the issues raised by Crosby Ravensworth Parish Council about the application to build three terraced houses  on land adjacent to the village institute in Maulds Meaburn had been dealt with before the meeting said the chairman, Mrs Martin.

The planning officer reported that outline permission had been granted by Eden District Council in September 2016.  He said that in accordance with some of the points made by the parish council the present application stated that the window and door frames must  be made of timber and not white UPVC; porous surfacing material should be used on the access road and car parking area so that surface water will be retained on the site and not contribute to any flooding along the road; and the front gardens should be enclosed by a traditional dry stone wall.

The parish council had argued that six parking spaces was inadequate and that could lead to parking congestion by the village institute. The planning officer’s report stated that one more parking space has been added and that the houses should be built to a high quality design that reflected the  local character.

The planning office reported that some of the other issues raised by the parish council had already been dealt with by the District Council when outline planning permission was given.

The planning committee approved the application.

From Hawes and High Abbotside Parish Council report:

Methodist chapel. – The councillors and others at the meeting agreed that strong representation should be made to the planning appeal hearing concerning the former Methodist chapel.  The Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority (YDNPA) refused an application to convert the chapel and hall into five holiday lets.

It was agreed that the key issues were the lack of parking, severe congestion caused by bad parking,  and the increase in the number of holiday lets rather than affordable housing.

One man who lives near the chapel stated: “We are completely surrounded by holiday lets. We have lost all our privacy.”

He and the parish council also emphasised that the lane behind the chapel was a public highway.

Affordable homes. –  The meeting was told that three out of ten dwellings in Hawes were now holiday homes or second homes.  Andrew Fagg said: “In four years’ time it is conceivable that there will be fewer than 50 pupils at [Hawes Primary] School.

Aysgarth Church Harvest Festival 2019

by Juliet Barker

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The harvest was well and truly celebrated at St Andrew’s! We gave thanks to God for the beauty of our natural world and for the social ties that bring us together as friends and neighbours in a fantastic Flower Festival.

Our flower arrangers are renowned for their creativity, skill and imagination but they excelled themselves in their displays celebrating some of the local organisations in our parish. Who knew there was so much going on in  our villages? (To see more pictures click on the photo)

A children’s session of fun and games attracted a low turnout but, led by a roller-skating scarecrow (Steve Hamilton), we all had huge fun rescuing the animals in Noah’s ark, passing round the potatoes and finding the harvest mice hidden in church.

In the evening we had a full house at the Falls Café for our hog-roast and ceilidh, with music provided by the inimitable Roosters Band. It was a great joy to see so many young people, including children, join in the dancing with great enthusiasm – and then come to church the next morning to round off our celebrations with a Harvest Thanksgiving Service, led by Rev Kathy Couchman. Her moving and memorable sermon struck a chord with many of us and was much discussed afterwards.

Thank you everyone who gave their time, energy, skills and money to make our Harvest Celebrations such a success. We raised over £800 and renewed our fellowship with members of the parish – and beyond!

We will continue to collect tinned and dried food for Caring For Life until the end of October: a list of suggested items and a box for offerings can be found at the back of the church.

Photo: one mouse escaped and almost came to a sticky end on part of the Jervaulx Screen! or was an adult just playing after all the children  had gone?

YDNPA and farming in the Dales

Farmers could be facing a huge adverse economic shock, members of the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority were told on Tuesday September 24.

The risk is so great that they agreed unanimously that the Authority’s working group on the Future of Farming and Land Management in the Yorkshire Dales National Park should continue.

Ian McPherson, the Authority’s member champion for the Natural Environment who has chaired the working group since its inception in June 2017, told the meeting: “We began to realise that the future of farming was probably the single most important issue facing the Authority at this time.”

He pointed out that the Authority’s head of conservation and community, Gary Smith, had warned that farmers were  entering an even deeper state of turmoil during this period of political uncertainty. “The situation is changing from day to day,” commented Mr McPherson. He said the working group, which includes farmers, should have the widest possible remit so that it could keep abreast of changing circumstances

Mr Smith had asked how the Authority wanted to influence the design of the new Environmental Land Management scheme. “We really want to build on the fine work that is going on in Wensleydale,” he told members.

Recently retired farmer, Richmondshire District councillor John Amsden, reminded the members that it was the farmers in the National Park who managed the land not the Authority. “Its hard work and a lot of them are tenant farmers. They are working seven days a week, long hours and are often lonely as in a lot of cases the farms are one-man bands.”

He therefore suggested that Dales farmers should be paid £25,000 to £30,000 a year to manage the countryside.

North Yorkshire County councillor Robert Heseltine commented that one in six of all jobs in the Yorkshire Dales were connected with farming.  He added: “That’s a lot of families who rely on farming.”

Dales farmer and the Authority’s member champion for sustainable development, Chris Clark told the meeting: “The adverse economic shock is a huge reality for this Authority.” He warned that the economic viability of farms must be kept in mind when considering policies that have nature and climate change at their heart and added: “There’s no point in having  ‘pay by results’ unless this includes the viability of the farms.”

The members had already  voted unanimously to declare a ‘”Climate Emergency”.

Mr Smith reported that the Authority had reduced its own greenhouse gas emissions by 62 per cent and had directly funded projects in the National Park that were removing around 500,000kg of carbon dioxide emissions each year through planting trees and peat restoration. He said the Authority  has effectively been ‘net zero carbon’ since 2013.

“By next year it is likely that we will be sequestering twice the amount of greenhouse gas emissions than we will be emitting,” he said.

Julie Martin commented: “I think this is an absolutely fantastic and really important opportunity for us to lead what is a very, very crucial area for all of us, but perhaps particularly for our young people. I know from my own children how important it is. And we are in a key position to inform and motivate others.”

Cumbria County councillor Nick Cotton said: “I think we should be really proud of what we have done. Let’s see how we can concentrate our efforts on those two things – peat restoration and tree planting, which have already proved to be so successful.”

The importance of planting trees was also emphasised by the Authority’s head of Ranger services Alan Hulme during his report on the impact of the flash floods which hit Langthwaite and Lower Swaledale on July 30. This event was a warning that flooding could occur at any time of the year and not just in winter, he said.

He showed slides of the devastation caused by the rocks and debris which had been swept down the valleys by the flood water. “The debris on the fields is mostly contaminated as there is lead in the area,” he said. This, he added, would take years to rectify.

About three and a half kilometres of rights of way had been either washed away or covered by landslides and debris, he reported. In addition, 16 bridges had been lost 11 of which were on rights of way as well as several footbridges. He  emphasised that the tourist trade in the area depended a great deal on rights of way being open.

He told members: “The bridges are our big loss. It will probably take about two years [to repair them]. The cost to us, we think, will be about £600,000 to restore rights of way. We are making some headway already by utilising some of the local community’s equipment, contractors and volunteers.”

He and several members praised the community’s response and resilience and the way groups of volunteers had come from other areas to help. They were grateful for the funding being made available and for the way Richmondshire District Council had responded.

Richmondshire District councillor Stuart Parsons hoped that money would continue to be available for several years through some form of long-term sustainability fund.  “It will take years to repair the damage,” he said.

……….

For over 20 years the Association of Rural Communities has urged the YDNPA to recognise the importance of farmers in managing the beautiful landscape of the Dales. This has again been emphasised by the association’s present chairman, Alastair Dinsdale, who farms at Carperby. See: YDNPA and the importance of farmers.

YDNPA and John Blackie

An ARC News Service report about the beginning of the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority’s (YDNPA) meeting on September 24 2019. There were tributes to John Blackie by the chairman of the Authority and by the Association of Rural Communities (ARC) ; a call by Hawes and High Abbotside Parish Council for the Authority to be called to account over disparaging remarks about John Blackie; and a question from the Association of Rural Communities about a possible conflict of interest.

Carl Lis’s tribute as chairman of the Authority to John Blackie

He said he and John Blackie were members of the Shadow Authority which was set up on April 1st 1996, the year before the new Authority was created. Prior to that, he explained,  it was a committee of North Yorkshire County Council. He continued:

“Over the years John was always a massive advocate for his local community and the evidence of his personal achievements are there for everyone to see. That was evident at our conference last week when one of the tours centred on Hawes and highlighted some of the community issues that John’s input had been so [effective]. Everyone here I am sure will remember the tenacity John exhibited in supporting many, many local issues. The threatened closure of the Friarage Hospital was one of the notable ones but there were many others.

“I am sure all of us here today would have received emails on a whole range of issues over the years, many of them extremely detailed but always passionate. Some of them sent in the very early hours of the morning. That was John. I’m convinced that there will never be anyone quite like him. It would be wrong for me to suggest we always agreed but entirely appropriate for us to respect his memory and his achievements. With that in mind could I ask that we all stand to observe a minute’s silence in memory of John Blackie.”

…….

There were two speakers during the Public Question Time

Jill McMullon, chair of Hawes and High Abbotside Parish Council:

She said that the comments that had been made about John Blackie at the July meeting of the Authority’s planning committee when he was absent had been described as  ‘nothing short of disgraceful.’ She added that at the meeting in July it was suggested that Hawes and High Abbotside Parish Council should hold Cllr Blackie to account. She continued with the following as agreed at the parish council meeting on August 12:

‘The Parish Council would like to make the following statement “disparaging comments made about Cllr Blackie are rejected as inappropriate and entirely untrue. The Parish Council and several members of the public in attendance wish it known that any comments made by Cllr Blackie in regard to the planning applications in question, are wholly supported.  Furthermore, the Parish Council feels that it is the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority that should be held to account on this matter”.’

Pip Pointon on behalf of the Association of Rural  Communities (ARC):

In August the Association of Rural Communities requested the advice of the Authority’s Monitoring Officer on the possibility of there being a conflict of interest arising from the chairman of the planning committee being a trustee of the Friends of the Dales. The Friends of the Dales states that it is a campaigning group and has often lobbied the Authority especially concerning barn conversion applications.

The Association was told that it would receive a written response from the Monitoring Officer – but as yet it has not received one.

The Association was also very concerned at how three Authority members made non-agenda statements at the beginning of the July planning committee meeting in which they criticised John Blackie. Allen Kirkbride reminded the committee that Mr Blackie was not there to defend himself.

When the Association queried this later Cllr Carl Lis stated : “At this difficult time for the Authority with Mr Blackie’s demise, I would suggest that if ARC wants to have a serious discussion about how we – and the local district councils – might tackle the difficult and complex challenges around the availability and affordability of housing, then I would genuinely welcome that.”

So why not honour Mr Blackie by remembering how he fought consistently for over 20 years for affordable housing for local people?

He had often begged the planning committee to be flexible enough to find a way to allow young families to create homes out of redundant barns. Because Mr Blackie did that again at the June planning meeting one member in July asked Hawes and High Abbotside parish council to call him to account.

This Association knows of no parish council in the Upper Dales which would call Mr Blackie to account for the way he tirelessly championed the cause of individuals and local communities – even from his hospital bed. If ever someone should have been honoured nationally for championing local communities it was Mr Blackie.

The chairman of the Friends of the Dales has called for a review of the Authority’s barn conversion policy because it was concerned about ‘aspects of the working of the policy which permits the conversion for residential purposes of barns regarded as being “roadside”’.

The Association of Rural Communities has been told that the Authority will instead begin the process of updating its Local Plan. When doing so, this Association hopes that the Authority will keep in mind the number of times parish councils have asked that local occupancy should be the priority when barn conversions applications are considered – especially as in the past few years the majority of barn conversions have been for business use, mainly for holiday lets.

Cllr Carl Lis’s  Response

Thank you both for your statements

In relation to your comments about Mr Blackie, as I referred to earlier, I worked with John from Day 1 of this Authority in 1996. We both came to understand and accept that there would be some fairly robust discussions at times. It was his nature. He could take as good as he gave, and I think we would best honour his legacy now by looking forward.

Before we can do that, though, I have to deal with ARC’s allegations about Mrs Martin.

All Members of the Authority are aware of the rules regarding declaring interests at meetings when relevant to an item of business and participating when the item of business is debated and voted upon. Mrs Martin’s involvement with the Friends of the Dales is a matter of long-standing public record. Like all other Authority Members, she has completed a register of interests, which can be viewed by the public on the Authority’s website.

Many District Councillors, County Councillors and Members of National Park Authorities are also members of other organisations that campaign on particular issues or express views on individual planning applications. Your statement appears to suggest that none of these Councillors should be able to sit on the Planning Committee. That just can’t be right. I’d suggest that the issue here is simply that you don’t like the Friends of the Dales.

Looking to the future, I wrote to you some months ago offering to meet representatives of ARC to see if we could find a more helpful and constructive way of working. I haven’t given up on that possibility, so I shall write to you again after this meeting to make the same offer. In doing so, can I ask you please to provide some basic information about ARC. For example, do you have any objectives, a constitution, or elected officials? How many members are there and, if those members are public bodies such as parish councils, can you say who they are?

I’m sure you’ll agree that it is important that our Members and the public can understand what ARC is, and what its members’ interests are.

Press release by ARC immediately afterwards:

ARC didn’t make allegations against Julie Martin. It questioned the Authority on an issue of conflict of interest.

One of ARC’s founder members was the late Stephen Butcher. When he became a Craven  District Councillor and represented that council on the YDNPA he stood down as a member of ARC so that there would be no question or possibility of a conflict of interest.

We have chosen to be independent – to provide a local democracy service and to monitor the YDNPA – something which many in the National Park appreciate and support.

For more about ARC see Association of Rural Communities and that information has been available on this website for years.

Also see: John Blackie, the Rural Summit and that complaint.

Hard Banks Barn Ice Cream Parlour

hardbanks_two

Left to right: Andy Singleton and Gillian and Adrian Harrison outside Hard Banks Barn

A beautifully restored barn in lovely countryside with an ice cream parlour hidden inside has proved to be a magnate for locals and visitors alike in Wensleydale since Saturday September 21.

On the approach along the A684 from Aysgarth Hard Banks Barn looks like a well-renovated traditional building that fits so well into the undulating countryside around it.

“You cannot tell from the outside what is within – which sort of makes it a nice surprise,” said Gillian Harrison who manages the ice cream parlour in a joint venture with her husband, Adrian. And it is a wonderful surprise to walk inside and find a light and airy ice cream parlour where the atmosphere is enhanced by the late 18th century beams.

The designer, Andy Singleton, commented that it was not where such a traditional barn was situated but rather the way It was restored. He had assured the National Park planning officers that the barn conversion wouldn’t have a detrimental impact upon the landscape and was delighted with the result.

Part of the airy atmosphere inside is due to his creative use of the original ventilation apertures. He had had the splayed reveals inside widened and small glass “windows” inserted without changing the outside appearance of the barn.

“I think those appealed to everybody. It’s a bit higgledy piggledy but that adds to the character,” Gillian commented.

Their Wensleydale Ice Cream comes from their own Jersey cows and is manufactured at their farm at Thornton Rust. There are now three generations of Harrisons at the farm: grandparents Maurice and Anne; Gillian and Adrian and their two children.

Gillian and Adrian explained that they hope the ice cream parlour will enable the family to support themselves without turning to intensive farming methods. “You’ve got to have additional revenue. There are so many variables in farming and it’s a big risk [business] with small margins,” Gillian said.

Hard Banks Barn, they believe, will show just how much everything in the Dales is intertwined in what is very much a man-made landscape. Even the colour of the grass depended, they pointed out, on the fertiliser used and the animals which graze on it.

They plan to have cows grazing near the barn and to display pictures to show how the milk is processed into ice cream. And their customers agreed that the ice cream is superb.

There are tables and chairs downstairs and more in the ‘Minstrels Gallery’ above. Alongside the ice cream there are also coffee, cakes and waffles. Adrian and Gillian are employing five local part-time staff to help Gillian with another making the ice cream. And they are very grateful for the support of Maurice and Anne Harrison.

The parlour is attracting a wide age range of people and Gillian was delighted to see children larking about outside and rolling down the grassy bank.

One Monday they hosted children from the BAWB federation of schools who were taken there by their parents as an after-school treat. “The parents said it was so nice because there aren’t many places they can take the children for a treat,” said Gillian.

She and Adrian were also very happy to see people going to the parlour for their sweet course after their Sunday dinner. “I always wanted it to be like a ‘pudding’ barn,’ she commented.

They believe the ice cream parlour fills a niche market in Wensleydale and helps to attract tourists. And they and their staff can – and do – tell tourists about other local attractions. They are looking forward to continuing to work with the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority to make the ice cream parlour a success, especially its tourist department and the Dairy Days project.

The Harrisons are very grateful to all those who helped to make their dream come true and for a grant from The Yorkshire Dales LEADER programme. They plan to hold an official opening in a few months’ time in memory of John Blackie for all the work he put into the project.

During the winter the ice cream parlour is open from 10am to 5pm Thursday to Sunday each week.

In November 2014 I posted a report on the obstacle race the Harrisons were facing as part of my coverage of the Rural Summit in Leyburn that was organised by John Blackie. 

Below: Hard Banks Barn. The brown patches will disappear once the grass has grown. 

YDNPA – Planning committee September 2019

An ARC News Service report on the meeting of the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority ‘s (YDNPA) planning committee on September 10 2019. Items discussed were: conversion of former Methodist chapel at Bainbridge; 6 Finkle Street at Sedbergh; conversion of upper storeys of a shop at Grassington;  and extensions to a house at Cracoe.

Pip Pointon reports on the YDNPA meetings on a voluntary basis as part of the Association of Rural Communities commitment to local democracy in the Yorkshire Dales National Park.

Bainbridge

The conversion of the former chapel  at Bainbridge into two two-bedroom affordable rented dwellings for perpetuity was described by Julie Greenslade, the circuit administrator for the North Yorkshire Dales Methodist Circuit as being a pilot scheme for their churches throughout the country.

“We have learnt a lot from this application,” she said following the unanimous decision at the planning committee to approve it.

Richmondshire District councillor John Amsden commented: “I think it is a very good proposal because all round this area Methodist chapels are being sold off for holiday cottages or second homes. This is being kept for locals.”

The planning officer reported that residents and Bainbridge Parish Council were very concerned about the acute shortage of parking especially as the former chapel does not have any designated parking spaces.

“When the primary school is opening and closing it is chaotic down the back Syke – you can’t park anywhere. But what are you going to do with [the building]?”

Some residents had suggested that the railings and a stone staircase should be removed to provide a parking area. The planning officer, however, stated: “The external staircase is considered to be a key architectural feature of the building and historically provided the public route into the chapel. Its loss would have a detrimental effect on the character of this heritage asset and the resulting car parking space would be… deficient.”

She described the proposed conversion as being sympathetic and that it had been amended to ensure that neighbouring properties were not overlooked. She added that it went beyond the policy requirement for local occupancy dwelling. This is because the Methodist Circuit will continue to own the building and will allocate accommodation to those in affordable housing need in conjunction with Richmondshire District Council.

At the beginning of the debate the chairman, Julie Martin, stated: “I would like to declare an interest. There has been a comment in support of the application, I believe, by the Friends of the Dales, the charity of which I am a trustee. However, I don’t think that inhibits me from participating in this debate and the vote on it, the reason being that while I am a trustee… I take no part whatsoever in their consultation process on planning applications [and] I am not a member of their policy committee, deliberately so because I feel that is inconsistent with being on [this] planning committee.”

Sedbergh

The majority of the committee again voted in favour of allowing the two upper floors of 6 Finkle Street in Sedbergh to become a residential flat again without the imposition of a legal agreement that it must be for local occupancy. (Such agreements can include holiday lets.)

The head of development management, Richard Graham, reminded members that at the August meeting a planning officer had recommended refusing the application because the owner had refused to sign a legal agreement.

The majority of the members, however, agreed that turning the upper floors back to residential use did not constitute “new build” and so did not require any legal agreement. They were also concerned that the imposition of such a legal agreement would have a negative impact upon businesses in the centre of Sedbergh.

As that was contrary to the officer’s recommendation the issue was referred back to the September meeting.  Mr Graham said that the housing policy was aimed at delivering more affordable housing for local people. He did not accept the possible “material considerations” put forward last month but rather suggested others which could be used to support a decision that was not in accordance with policy.

He said: “Changing the use of the upper floors to residential in the circumstances in this case would not have a material effect upon the delivery of affordable housing for local people. The proposal would create a two-bedroom flat which, in this location, would be a relatively affordable form of accommodation and is less likely to become a second home or a holiday let than a house would be. But, of course, that cannot be guaranteed.

“There is a wider consideration here that [such a legal restriction] would hamper flexibility of businesses to use their premises and that may frustrate some of the economic objectives of the Local Plan.”

Jim Munday argued that imposing a legal restriction was in accordance with the Authority’s Local Plan especially as it wanted to attract more young people to the National Park.

But seven of the 13 members disagreed and confirmed the decision to approve the change of use of the two storeys without a local occupancy legal restriction.

Grassington

The first and second floors of a former butcher’s shop in Grassington can be converted into a two-bedroom dwelling the committee agreed.

An internal passageway will be created to provide access to the apartment, the planning officer said. She added that the external alterations would be minimal being the insertion of three roof lights, the re-opening of a blocked-up window and the re-use of an existing door.

She commented: “The proposed development would see the loss of the upper floors from a potential business use, but there is still a large ground floor shop remaining together with two quite substantial store room areas.” The applicant had pointed out that the upper floors had not been used for 20 years.

Some residents had queried  the siting of wheelie bins behind the premises but the planning officer said that the land did belong to the applicant. “Whilst the storage of wheelie bins in this location is not ideal, they would not have such a harmful impact on the amenity of neighbours to warrant the refusal of planning permission,” she stated.

Grassington Parish Council objected to the  application because there was of the lack of parking in that area. The planning officer reported that the occupier of the dwelling could obtain a parking permit for the National Park Authority car park nearby.

Committee member Craven District councillor Richard Foster, commented that even though there was a lack of parking spaces in Grassington the conversion of the upper stories of the shop would be a great use of that space.

Approval was given on the basis that the applicant would sign a legal agreement restricting use of the flat  to the local occupancy criteria set out in the Authority’s Local Plan or to short term holiday let.

Cracoe

The majority of the committee agreed that two extensions can be added to No Name House in Cracoe despite the objections of the parish meeting.

North Yorkshire County councillors Robert Heseltine recognised that Cracoe Parish Meeting seemed to be very much against the application but added: “Every concern that the parish meeting has brought has been overcome by the applicant in negotiation with the planning officer.”

The parish meeting’s objections included: the proposed extensions would overcrowd an already narrow lane; the proposed number of two parking spaces would be disproportionate when the number of bedrooms was increased from four to five; there were no extra parking spaces nearby; and the positioning of a flue for a new wood-burning stove. It stated it would not object to the replacement of the rear conservatory with just one of the extensions if its  height, size and roof pitch were the same.

The planning officer reported that the garden room which will replace the conservatory was not significantly greater in size, would be largely screened by a tall fence, and would not overshadow the neighbouring property.  The applicant, Richard Johnson, had agreed to place the wood-burner flue higher up so that smoke from it could not affect the neighbours.

The two-storey cat-slide extension on the other side of the house followed local precedent and would not, the planning officer said. have a negative impact upon neighbouring properties. He added: “Overall, it is considered that the proposal will have a sympathetic appearance within the site and the setting of the neighbouring listed building.”

As some residents were concerned about the future use of the garage the conditions included that this could not be converted into living accommodation without the written approval of the Authority.

YDNPA – Planning Committee August 2019

An ARC News Service report on the meeting of the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority ‘s (YDNPA) planning committee on August 13 2019. Items on the agenda were: 6 Finkle Street  and a potting shed at Greenbank in Sedbergh; alterations to a home in Langcliffe; alterations to a planning permission for a new house in Maulds Maeburn; the division of a house at Threshfield;  the colour of a mast at Mallerstang; facilities at a campsite at Ingleton; conversion of a barn at West End, Lunds, and a workshop at Low Abbotside; and the conversion of buildings at Snaizeholme.

The discussion about 6 Finkle Street (see below) was described as a battle between common sense and the rules. For the result see the report on the YDNPA planning committee meeting in September.

Pip Pointon reports on the YDNPA meetings on a voluntary basis as part of the Association of Rural Communities commitment to local democracy in the Yorkshire Dales National Park.

At the beginning of the meeting the chairman, Julie Martin, asked everyone to stand for a minute’s silence in memory of John Blackie. She said: “He has made an enormous contribution to this committee over the years and an enormous contribution to his own community.”

At the end of the meeting Allen Kirkbride  (parish council representative for Wensleydale and Swaledale) asked about the situation at Yore Mill, Aysgarth because, he said, it was a mess. Richard Graham, the head of development management, replied: “We have had proposals to convert the building but the problem with [it] has been the lack of car parking. The applicants have been in negotiation with a landowner for additional car parking.” He hoped an application would be made which could be brought to the committee.

Sedbergh – Finkle Street

The only time  members disagreed with an officer’s recommendation at the meeting concerned  the application for change of use of the two upper floors the premises at 6 Finkle Street, Sedbergh, to a two bedroom flat with a new external door to provide access to the ground floor of the flat, plus change of use of the remaining ground floor and the basement from retail and storage to A1 retail.

The majority of the members decided that turning the upper floors back to residential use did not constitute “new build” and so the owner should not have to sign a local occupancy legal agreement as requested by the planning officer.

Cllr Kirkbride said that, in this instance, the Authority’s Local Plan was wrong and several agreed with him that the economic well-being of Sedbergh had to be considered.

The planning officer, Mr Graham and the Authority’s legal officer, however, all argued that changing the use of part of the first floor from commercial to residential meant that the two-storey flat did now require a local occupancy restriction in accordance with Local Plan policy.

Planning permission was granted in September 2016 for part of the first floor to be used as a café and the rear courtyard to be an al fresco dining area.

Jacky Baines told the committee that she had created a café in part of the first floor with the hope that it would attract more business to her ground floor shop. But the business had still became unviable and the ground floor is now rented to someone running a flower and gift shop.

She said that as she had bought the building in 2014 as an open market property (shop and flat) she would now make a considerable loss if she signed a local occupancy S106 legal agreement for the flat.

The planning officer reported that the proposed re-instatement of a separate ground-floor entrance to the flat was acceptable but he had recommended refusal of the application because Ms Baines had declined to sign a local occupancy legal agreement.

Simon Arnold, chairman of Sedbergh Parish Council’s planning committee, told the committee: “[The flat’s] use as a café was a tiny snapshot in the building’s life. It involved no structural change and only occupied part of the first floor and added: “When we heard that an S106 was being insisted upon we felt this was being unnecessarily incorrectly applied. “

It would, he said, deter new business activity in the town and so increase the risk of ground floor commercial properties being left empty. “We as a parish are keen to preserve Finkle Street. It sits in the traditional centre of our town. Anything that provokes empty properties [works] against the viability of the other businesses and creates a damaging first impression for people visiting the town. We feel that Sedbergh needs a mixture of housing. Small properties like this provide a valuable foothold on the open market.”

Sedbergh Parish councillor Ian McPherson, who is a parish council member of the Authority, said he had asked for the late submission from Mrs Baines’s agent to be circulated. He told the committee he had not participated in any discussion about the application beforehand.

The agent, Barbara Hartley of Garsdale Design Ltd, stated that when they were first advised by telephone by the planning officer that a local occupancy legal agreement was required for the flat they had asked that the parish council should be informed. This request was refused and so Garsdale Design had done so.

She quoted the Local Plan policy which stated: “that new housing within settlement boundaries on sites of up to five dwellings will be restricted to local occupancy.” She said: “The flat at 6 Finkle Street is not new. The top two floors have been used as residential for the major part of the building’s life. We do not think that the intent of [the] policy was ever to re-designate the occupancy of existing dwellings when, for a relatively short period in their lives, they have been used for an expansion of a ground floor business.

She continued: “A negative planning decision on this application will have major implications for Sedbergh. It will set an undesirable precedent for the business community. There will be a reluctance to expand any business knowing that if that expansion fails and they wish to reinstate the residential use this will have huge financial repercussions for them. It has much wider implications for Sedbergh and its effort at attracting new business to the town.

“One of the main remits of the Authority is to support sustainable communities. We agree that housing type and occupancy is one of the remits. But in the service towns such as Sedbergh the economy and the viability of business has equal importance.”

This point was picked up by several members of the committee and led to Lancashire County councillor Cosima Towneley‘s proposal to approve the application without a legal agreement as there were, she said, material considerations. These were that the flat had been designated as residential not long ago and that a legal agreement would restrict local economic growth and create commercial disbenefits.

Neither the legal officer, Claire Bevan, nor Mr Graham were convinced. And the chairman, Julie Martin, commented: “We need to be clear on the reasons.”

Cllr McPherson stated: “I am normally a sticker for absolutely sticking to policy, but I am not certain that this is new housing as required by [policy]. There was certainly a new use but there has been a very rapid… request to revert back to the original use. I am not really convinced, and I don’t think others are convinced either, that this is the kind of new housing that was envisaged when this policy was made.”

He added that to apply the policy would create a situation that would seem quite ridiculous to third parties. It could be interpreted, he said, as being against local people who find themselves in a situation where they could suffer financial loss.

Cllr Kirkbride said: “We should be there helping communities. I am a great believer in local housing but the policy we have is totally wrong. We need to do something when the time comes [to preparing the new Local Plan] to alter this.”

North Yorks County councillor David Ireton also queried the policy as he, like several other members, felt this was clearly an example of a shop with accommodation above it.

Jim Munday, however, argued that anyone who bought the property and ran the shop on the ground floor would qualify for local occupancy. And Mr Graham commented that the policy was part of the Local Plan which was only adopted in 2016. “It is not the purpose of this committee to make up policy on the hoof. We are taking the first steps to create a new Local Plan but this is the policy at the moment.”

He added that the policy was part of the Local Plan which was only adopted in 2016. “It is not the purpose of this committee to make up policy on the hoof. We are taking the first steps to create a new Local Plan but this is the policy at the moment.”

To this Cllr Towneley said: “Officers recommend but it is this committee to decide and we can do that in any way shape or form that we wish.”

Ms Bevan countered this with: “But [members] still have to decide in accordance with what the law says, which is in accordance with the Local Plan unless they identify material considerations.”

Eight members voted to approve the application without a legal agreement. The four who voted against this included the chairman.

Mr Graham said that as this was against officer recommendation the decision would be referred back to the September meeting.

Sedbergh – Greenbank

The conversion of a potting shed into holiday letting accommodation was described by the chairman, Mrs Martin, as a novel application.

Cllr McPherson pointed out that this would be invisible to the public but set within the beautiful gardens at Greenbank. He described the latter as an interesting house with extensive gardens which were open to the public several times a year.

The application for one-bedroom accommodation and including a small extension was unanimously approved by the committee.

Langcliffe

Langcliffe Parish Council disagreed with the Authority’s planning department about how contemporary design can be introduced to traditional buildings.

It objected to the application to the plans for re-instating a cart entrance with timber and glass at The Barn in Low Fold, Langcliffe, because, it said, “glazing on the front elevation would introduce a negative modern feature to the traditional neighbouring building design, and would impose a visual impact on the historic village.”

The planning officer, however, quoted the Authority’s Design Guide which states: “alterations to dwellings present an excellent opportunity to introduce contemporary designs and materials even on traditional buildings.”

The applicant, Kevin van Green, said he and his wife had carefully studied the Design Guide, employed an architect with decades of experience of traditional stone properties,  and  liaised with the planning officer when working on a high quality design which reflected the setting of the village.  They plan to use it as their family home.

The planning officer noted that the proposed design would mean that previous unsympathetic alterations which had affected the barn’s original agricultural character and appearance would be removed including replacing a flat roof on a single storey extension at the rear with a more traditional catslide roof.

Mr van Green said that the proposed alterations would reduce the amount of glazing by 20 per cent. In addition, it had been agreed, following the parish council’s objection, to reduce the amount of glazing on the cart entrance.

He told the committee: “We believe that the barn presents an opportunity to show how contemporary design can fit comfortably into the surroundings. Our design will greatly improve the functionality of the interior spaces allowing light in. It is in keeping with the area given that  glazed cart entrances are not a new concept to the Yorkshire Dales National Park.”

With just one abstention  the members voted to approve the application. This included the demolition of the existing porch and chimney; installation of metal balustrade to balcony and four new rooflights and a flue to the roof; and the replacement of windows, doors, guttering and downpipes.

Maulds Maeburn

It was unanimously agreed that a causeway will not have to be constructed to the rear of a new house beside the River Lyvennet at  Maulds Maeburn.

This had been one of the conditions included when Eden District Council approved the plans in July 2016 for the construction of a house in the garden of 1 Stepping Stones. The objective was to provide  a safe escape route if there was serious flooding.

The site is within the Environment Agency’s flood zones two and three and the original application required the provision of a Flood Risk Assessment. It was for that assessment  that the causeway was included – but it would have been over the village green and Crosby Ravensworth Parish Council would not give permission for it.

Mike Archer told the committee that after he applied to have the condition removed there were 15 letters of objection. These included the request that the application for the house should be reconsidered now that Maulds Maeburn was within the Yorkshire Dales National Park; that no new houses should be built in flood areas; and that the proposed house would harm the character of the village and the Conservation Area and create parking and access difficulties.

Mr Archer said that many of the objections had been made as a result of an anonymous email being widely circulated. That email, he said, had shown an image which misrepresented the design of the house. He added that the house would fit in with traditional buildings in the village and would be built in accordance with the requirements of the Flood Risk Assessment.

The planning officer reported that Authority could only agree to lift a condition but not revoke the approval given by Eden District Council.

Threshfield

An application to sub-divide Sunnybank at Threshfield into two dwellings was unanimously approved.

Threshfield Parish Council had informed the committee that it did not support the application because, when approval was given for the single-storey extension in 2009, it was meant to be maintained as a single dwelling with single ownership. It was also concerned about the access from the B6265.

The application was for creating a home for the disabled applicant in that extension. He has agreed to sign a  local occupancy legal agreement.

The planning officer stated: “The proposed development will increase the housing stock in Threshfield and provides a single store residential unit which is ideal of a disabled resident.”

When Craven District councillor Richard Foster proposed approval he pointed out that there were very few bungalows in the National Park.

Mallerstang

The telecommunications mast at Hazel Gill Farm, Mallerstang can remain an Iron Grey colour.

When Eden District Council gave approval for the construction of the telecommunications base station in October 2016 one of the conditions was that all of it should be Olive Green in colour. EE UK Ltd, however, had erected a mast which is Iron Grey.

The members shown a photo of this and unanimously agreed that it blended into the landscape as well as an Olive Green one would. The planning officer noted that it would be even better if the white antennas were also painted grey.

Mallerstang Parish Meeting had agreed with the two objectors who were concerned that varying the conditions on the mast at Hazel Gill Farm would have an impact upon that further up the dale at Castlethwaite.

The planning officer stated that the landscape context of the Castlethwaite site was different and added: “Any proposal to vary the condition controlling the colour of that tower would have to be considered on its own merits.”

…………

The committee unanimously approved the following applications with little or no discussion:

Permission for the erection of a toilet and shower block, the creation of a parking area and installation of waste disposal tank at the Falls Park, Oddies Lane, Ingleton.

Permission for the conversion of  a barn between two modern farm sheds at West End, Lunds,  into a one-bedroom local occupancy dwelling or a holiday let, and the installation of a package treatment plant.

Permission to convert a domestic workshop adjacent to Park House, Low Abbotside, into a one-bedroom holiday cottage.

Permission to alter an existing dwelling and convert adjacent outbuildings to additional living space; change of use of land to rear to form flagged area with new boundary wall and erection of rear utility room for dwelling, and change of use of another outbuilding into a holiday cottage at Greens Farm, Snaizeholme.

Conditions for any conversion to a dwelling or holiday let include local occupancy legal agreements.

For more information see: https://www.yorkshiredales.org.uk/living-and-working/planning/planning-committee/2019/planning-august-2019

 

YDNPA – Planning Committee July 2019

An ARC News Service report on the meeting of the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority ‘s (YDNPA) planning committee on July 9 2019. The items discussed included: Natural England’s plans for  Swarth Moor, and a project at Aysgarth Station.

The Association of Rural Communities had planned to ask the YDNPA if there was a conflict of interest created by electing Julie Martin as the chairman of its planning committee. When Mrs Martin explained to the committee at the July meeting why she would make a good chairman she didn’t mention that she was a trustee of the Friends of the Dales. Nor did any of the members question her about that.

The Friends of the Dales is a campaigning and lobby group which regularly objects to applications for barn conversions in the Yorkshire Dales. The Association was told that its question will be given to the Authority’s monitoring officer – and it can present it to the Full Authority meeting on September 24 if it wishes to do so. (See the Richmondshire Today article.)

Pip Pointon reports on the YDNPA meetings on a voluntary basis as part of the Association of Rural Communities commitment to local democracy in the Yorkshire Dales National Park.

Aysgarth Station, Carperby

Approval was given for new track to be laid at the former railway station, across the road bridge and along 200m of the former track bed which overlooks the National Park’s car park.

The owner of Aysgarth station, David Smith of West Coast Railways, will lease the former track bed from the Authority now that planning permission has been given. The approval was also for him to make private use of the railway for storing and moving locomotives, carriages and goods vehicles.

His agent, Steve Davies, who is also a director of the Wensleydale Railway, told the committee that Mr Smith’s plans for the old station would provide the best opportunity to reconnect Aysgarth station with Redmire.

This was queried by Richmondshire District councillor John Amsden who said the latter would only be possible if someone was willing to invest £1 million pounds per mile.

Like other members he did not feel that there would be much noise from the site especially as the approval only allowed for 12 locomotive movements a day, 36 days of the year. A planning officer stated that steam operations would be limited to one to two days a year.

It was  pointed out that there was already a lot of noise and pollution due to the National Park car park and the number of people who visited Freeholders Wood, the SSSI which almost surrounds the station site.

The planning officer said  that 35 trees will be removed many from along the sides of the raised track bed by the car park. She explained that area had been colonised by trees as the track had not been used for so long.  One of the conditions will be a landscaping plan to show where replacement planting would take place, she told the committee.

Ian McPherson, the Authority’s member champion for the environment, said he would support the application but asked that the progress of the project should be carefully  monitored. He added that the landscaping plan was important to ensure that wildlife corridors were protected. He noted that in certain areas of Britain Network Rail was destroying vast tracts of trees against the wishes of the Department of Transport.

North Yorkshire County councillor Richard Welch pointed out that Mr Smith’s company owned the carriages at Hellifield which were now covered in graffiti. “Are you confident that this is not going to end up the same?” he asked.

Mr  Davies assured the committee that he was.

He said: “Two years ago we sold Aysgarth Station to what turned out to be the best possible buyer [Mr Smith].

“The Wensleydale Railway was in a significantly difficult financial situation. Aysgarth was a major millstone around our necks. We were servicing a £200,000 outstanding mortgage. The station building was falling down and there was actually no way the station could be realistically retained as part of the commercial portfolio of the railway.

“The sale of the station allowed the railway to pay off significant debts and it is an absolute fact that since that sale we have not looked back.

“We, as a board of directors, agreed that because Mr Smith had such ambitious plans for the site that we would support him in delivering this planning application. So I am effectively on secondment, if you like, from the board of the Wensleydale railway. And our vice chairman, Carl Les, has formally endorsed our support for this project.

“The second element of this project and with the mechanics of this application is that we believe that this provides the best possible opportunity to reconnect Aysgarth with Redmire. Mr Smith has the resources and personal ambition to start taking the track back towards Redmire.

“If you grant this application what you will not find is this is will become moribund and yet another undelivered major project. So your faith in the project will be met by a full investment to make this a reality.

“The sale of Aysgarth station …. caused a rift within our membership [and to]  those who were absolutely convinced that Aysgarth [station] represented the jewel on the way to Hawes and Garsdale the sale was unthinkable and there was significant resistance.  The successful delivery of this project will, I think, go a huge way towards healing some of the wounds. It will show that Mr Smith and the Wensleydale Railway did not make a bad decisions and that we are going to be in a position to optimise the chances of re-connecting Redmire with this station.

“I think we have gone a long way in satisfying the statutory requirements, particularly in terms of ecology, but the key issue is that although this is fundamentally a private venture it undoubtedly has major public benefits.”

Swarth Moor,

The farmers who have grazing rights on Swarth Moor near Helwith Bridge in Ribblesdale were not  consulted before Natural England applied to the Authority for permission for a restoration project which which will include the creation of water-filled ditches.

The planning committee heard that Natural England’s project would involve the  construction of peat bunds for rewetting raised mire and the excavation of three mitigation ponds for great crested newts, as well as a viewing platform and a boardwalk.

Stainforth and Horton-in-Ribblesdale  Parish Councils had objected to the application because: the grazier’s hadn’t been consulted; the ponds could be extremely hazardous to the livestock being grazed on the common land and  the impact of an increase in the number of visitors on the wildlife on the moor especially the roe deer. These concerns were also raised by Austwick Parish Council.

Colin Newland of Natural England told the planning meeting that since submitting the application the agency had met with Swarth Moor commons rights holders. He said he had been told that they were concerned about the long term management of the moor and the impact on graziers’ livelihoods.  “One of the outcomes of that is that we will take forward a Countryside Stewardship Scheme for the common,” he said.

Committee member Allen Kirkbride, who is chairman of Askrigg Parish Council, commented: “It seems that the farming community who graze this area have been just an after thought for Natural England who should know better.”

He agreed with North Yorkshire County councillor Robert Heseltine that a few decades ago landowners were given tens of thousands of pounds to grip and drain the peat moors. “Now they are being given tens and thousands to fill it in,” he said.

Another parish council appointee, Chris Clark, spoke from his own personal experience: “We’ve blocked 125 hectares and the results of that have been an increase in biodiversity, improved irrigation, and carbon sequestration. On top of that we have had absolutely no problems with the stock getting stuck or drowned.”

The committee was informed that, as common land was involved, Natural England would have to obtain the consent for its plans from the Secretary of State. It was, therefore, expected that the graziers would make representations to the Secretary of State.

A planning officer told the meeting that the project was aimed at halting and reversing the long-term decline of a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI)  by enhancing the lowland raised bog. “This is a national priority habitat which is very rare in the National Park and uncommon elsewhere,”  he said. The project also aimed at protecting the home of a population of great crested newts. He added that roe deer were not legally protected. He maintained that the project would have a positive impact on the condition of the SSSI.

The majority of the committee voted to approve the application.

 

YDNPA Planning Committee, John Blackie and “cherry picking”decisions

July 9 – July 16: What a week! On Tuesday July 9 I attended the YDNPA planning committee meeting – which began with statements which were not listed on the agenda (see below). Finally Askrigg parish councillor Allen Kirkbride reminded the committee that John Blackie was not there to defend himself. John had been admitted to The Friarage Hospital in Northallerton the day before.

That week I didn’t write any reports after that meeting because there was a lot to do in preparation for my husband’s Memorial Meeting on the Saturday.

And it was on that Saturday morning I heard the sad news that John Blackie had died.  John could be acerbic – but he was a formidable and relentless champion for all those living and working in the Dales. The last time I spoke to him – about 10 days before he died – he recounted with considerable joy that he had helped someone get transport to hospital.

It was so typical of him that he would put aside his own health problems to help others. But sadly it was also typical that he was criticised for his determined championing of local people, especially young families, at a National Park meeting. I’m glad I could support him when, in 2014, there was an unsuccessful complaint against him. That complaint was supported by Cllr Carl Lis, who is now chairman of the YDNPA.

I do know that dozens of people supported attempts to have him honoured for his work. Maybe the file is stuck somewhere on a dusty shelf…

…………..

“John Blackie isn’t here to defend himself.. and he has been attacked by several members,”  Allen Kirkbride firmly interjected at the beginning of the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority’s  ( YDNPA ) planning committee meeting on Tuesday July 9.

When the planning meeting started Gary Smith, YDNPA director of conservation and community, was in the chair as the first items on the agenda were membership of the committee and then the election of the chairman. But before he could get  on with that  Craven District councillor Carl Lis, who is the chairman of the Authority, asked for a statement to be read out as Cllr Blackie and others had raised questions about who had been allowed to attend and vote at the meeting in June.

Mr Smith read the following: “In June Mrs Pattison was perfectly entitled to be at that meeting. National legislation related to the membership of National Park Authorities under the Environment Act makes it clear that where a member is appointed by one of the local authorities to serve on the National Park Authority they remain a member up to the point where that Authority appoints somebody else to replace them. If that goes on for more than three months then the authority ceases at that point.”

Cllr Lis than said how disappointed he was that Mrs Pattison was not at the July meeting because she was so upset at the way her attendance in June had been questioned. He said that Cllr Blackie had phoned her.

Member Jim Munday then read a long statement he had sent to the press the day before much of which had been published by Richmondshire Today along with the suggestion by Hawes and High Abbotside Parish Council that it should hold a vote of no confidence in the National Park. Mr Munday stated:“I hope that the people attending the Hawes and High Abbotside Parish Council meeting next week will hold their chairman John Blackie to account.”

At the meeting he ended with: “And finally I do hope that Mr Blackie will not be tempted to bully the staff. The staff  here are doing a job with a policy that he and the rest of us devised and agreed.”

North Yorkshire County councillor Robert Heseltine said he agreed with everything Mr Munday had said.

Mr Smith tried to carry on with the agenda  (none of what had been said by Cllrs Les and Heseltine and Mr Munday having been listed on the  agenda).  But not before Cllr Kirkbride  pointed out that Cllr Blackie was not there to defend himself. (Cllr Blackie had been admitted to the Friarage Hospital, Northallerton,  on Monday July 8 and died there on Sunday July 13.)

Once Julie Martin was elected as chairman, and Neil Swain as deputy chairman (both being  Secretary of State appointees), and the minutes of the last meeting were approved, Mrs Martin said there would be a five minute adjournment while she was briefed on the next item on the agenda. And that was this statement by the Association of Rural Communities:

“This Authority states that its code of practice ‘is to ensure that in the planning process there are no grounds for suggesting that a decision has been biased, partial or not well founded in any way.’

“Last month it was emphasised once again that the members of the planning committee should make decisions according to policy. But do you?

“At the meeting in February a planning officer made it very clear that a decision to approve the conversion of Dodds Hall Barn near Gayle would not be in accordance with policy. The committee accepted his recommendation to approve the conversion of the barn to provide visitor accommodation and a manager’s dwelling for a ‘horse assisted healing business’.

“This included a stable block and a large two-storey extension with a balcony. How does that compare with the tight restrictions which have been placed on other barn conversions or the reasons that have been given to refused an application?

“How then can you say to a local young couple seeking to convert a barn into a family home that you consistently adhere to policy? It looks instead as if you are cherry picking.

“For many years it was accepted by the planning committee that decisions should be deferred until newly elected district and county councillors could be there to represent their constituents. At the June meeting a request to defer a decision until the new Richmondshire District Council members were in attendance was refused. And yet Margaret Pattison was allowed to attend and vote even though she is no longer a Lancaster City Councillor.

“This is not a personal comment regarding Mrs Pattison. Nor is this about just the rules…

“How can this be seen by the public to be acting with integrity and fairness?”

Mrs Martin stated: “We don’t normally respond directly to public statements but given the seriousness with which we treat this particular issue we will provide a full written response to all the points you have raised.”

For the statement from Hawes and High Abbotside Parish Council and Jim Munday’s response see post on Richmondshire Today.

DoddsHallBarn1s

Above: Dodds Hall Barn on Beggarmans Lane, Gayle

Below: the barn at Hawes which was described by a planning officer as being in the open countryside.

This is the response from Cllr Carl Lis, chairman of  the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority to the statement and questions made by the Association of Rural Communities:

Thank you for your public statement at the National Park Authority (NPA) Planning Committee on Tuesday 9 July. It raises a number of allegations that are of concern to the whole Authority rather than simply the Planning Committee, so I have decided the response should come from me as Chairman. Please accept my apologies for the delay in responding but I took the judgement that the sad news of Mr Blackie’s death should not be overshadowed by this issue.

I will turn first to the issue of determining planning applications. As you know, all planning applications must be determined in accordance with the Development Plan unless material considerations indicate otherwise. That is a matter of law. This is because planning policies – which have been adopted after wide public consultation and formal examination by a Planning Inspector – should not be set aside without sound planning reasons for doing so.

The application for development at Dodds Hall Barn (essentially for visitor and manager accommodation and equine business) was considered to be contrary to the Development Plan. Whilst it me the locational requirements of policy L2 (being a roadside barn because of its curtilage and pre-existing track), the policy concerns centred on the intensity of the use and the impact on the landscape. However, on the particular facts of that application, the Committee concluded that there were material planning considerations, in the form of social and economic benefits for the local area, which justified approval.

The application for the development at the Shearlings, Hawes (conversion of barn to dwelling for local occupancy/holiday let) did not meet the locational criteria under L2, and there were no material considerations identified to justify approval. Again, the Planning Committee considered all the points that were made at the meeting and resolved to refuse the application.

When making decisions, the Authority always tries to apply some flexibility where material (i.e. lawful) considerations allow, something I understand ARC would want us to do. But with the best will in the world, that flexibility cannot lawfully extend to allowing any development anywhere simply because the applicant is ‘local’.

It is telling to note that in the case of Dodds Hall Barn the applicant sought pre-application advice from the Authority , and amended the proposal to bring it more in line with policy. Unfortunately, in the case of the Barn at the Shearlings (and the 3 other barns that have been refused in Upper Wensleydale), the applicants did not seek pre-application advice from planning officers. If they had, they would have been advised of the clear policy conflict at the outset. There is clearly an issue here when nearly half of all the refusals under L2 have occurred in one small part of the National Park – and we will be taking steps to try to encourage people to get proper advice before risking their money and time.

On your second point, the terms of membership of the National Park Authority are set out in national legislation. The law provides that if a member is waiting to be replaced on an NPA following an election, that individual continues to be an NPA member until a new appointment is made by the appointing authority (subject to an upper time limit of three months). We are still awaiting notice of a replacement appointment from Lancaster City Council following the elections in May. Accordingly Ms Pattison was fully entitled to take part at the June meeting as a Lancaster City Council appointee. That has been the law for over 12 years.

I was surprised that you chose to raise this issue in relation to Ms Pattison. At the May Planning Committee, Mrs Caroline Thornton-Berry not only attended the meeting but she actually chaired it, even though she was no longer a member of Richmondshire District Council at the time. I do not recall you raising any concern in relation to that instance.

Finally, at this difficult time for the Authority with Mr Blackie’s demise I would suggest that if ARC wants to have a serious discussion ab out how we – and the local district councils – might tackle the difficult and complex challengers around the availability and affordability of housing, then I would genuinely welcome that.

 

Remembering David

crocs_roses

Above: White roses for Yorkshire and a pair of David’s crocs on the table in the Meeting House for David’s Memorial Meeting. This display was created by Liz Burrage who also led the Memorial Meeting. Many thanks to those who donated a total of £530 to Yorkshire Air Ambulance in David’s memory. 

David certainly did live up to the advice in the Quaker Advices and Queries which states: Live adventurously. When choices arise, do you take the way that offer the fullest opportunity for the use of your gifts in the service of God and the community? Let your life speak.”

Becoming a Quaker in 2004 made a significant and very positive impact upon him  -but he had lived up to that advice for most of his life.

He was born in Sheffield  in October 1941 where his father worked as a  policeman. While David was at grammar school he represented the North of England at the Scout jamboree in North America in 1958.

At Alsager Teacher Training College he specialised in Design, Technology, Arts and Crafts and then took a job at the Sheffield School for Blind Children.

He and his young family moved to Norfolk  to the East Anglian School for Blind and Deaf Children in 1974. While there he also trained as a teacher of the deaf, gained an Open University degree and served for four years as a councillor on Yarmouth Borough Council.

When that school closed in 1985 he became deputy head of the Norfolk Sensory Support Service with responsibility for integrating  visually impaired  children into mainstream schools. He later became head of that Service.

One of his former work colleagues commented: “David was a larger than life character, loyal to his friends and co-workers – and knew the best places to stop for coffee! He gave us freedom to work with the families and came with me to visit homes if they thought there could be a problem – or something interesting such as the view of prostitutes on Rouen Road!

“He was a lecturer on my Cambridge course and had a wealth of knowledge of the VI (Visually Imparied) world.”

In 1989 David answered an appeal by Phil Feller to help blind and visually impaired children in The Gambia. This led to him becoming a founder trustee of what is now the Friends of Visually Impaired Children in The Gambia after going with Mr Feller to that country to assess the need.

His list included setting up a purpose-built school;  proper training not only for the few teachers at that school but also mainstream teachers as the majority of visually impaired children were living in distant villages; and the provision of Braille machines and paper, as well as computers with specialist programmes.

Phil said: “David – with great enthusiasm – set to work with myself and my wife, Joan, to start meeting those needs. A charity was set up (now the Friends of Visually Impaired Children in the Gambia) and funds were successful raised for building a special school.”

The school was opened in 2002 and whenever David visited he helped to teach the pupils and teachers there.  He worked closely with the Gambian Education Department and the Integrated Education Programme and by early 2019 over 200 mainstream teachers had been taught to help visually impaired students.

Phil added:  “A highlight for David was the purchase of a minibus in 2003 and, together with Malcolm Garner, drove to The Gambia with urgently needed equipment. Subsequently he organised and led several other overland deliveries.”

David met Malcolm when they were both members of the Special Educational Needs National Advisory Council. Of the overland journey in 2003 Malcolm said: “This experience had a life-changing impact for me as I was later to return to The Gambia on a regular basis to try and develop health and education services for deaf children and adults, something which continues to this day.

“David has left a very significant legacy of change for good among many pupils disadvantaged by limited or no sight, both in the UK and also in Africa, and also among professionals such as myself who have benefitted from his energy, initiative and enthusiasm.” (See his Gambian adventures )

David and Pip Land (his partner whom he married in July 2018) introduced Heather Ritchie of Rug Aid to The Gambia and she has subsequently set up one of the most successful programmes for visually impaired children and adults in that country.

After he retired David moved to Thornton Rust in Wensleydale in 2001. He became a volunteer at the Dales Countryside Museum in Hawes; enjoyed creative work as a member of the Yoredale Art Group; was an official of the North East Mercedes Benz Club for many years;  a president of the Rotary Club of Wensleydale, and was a trustee of the Kennel Field Trust at Thornton Rust.

Two weeks after he died villagers at Thornton Rust raised their glasses to him for all he had done for the Kennel Field Trust and as a local parishioner. (A special celebration at Thornton Rust)

He became a parish councillor for Thornton Rust in 2015 and one of his parishioners commented: “He was a very conscientious parish councillor and always available to the villagers, just to chat or to get jobs done.”

In the last few years of his life his main projects were turning round the Northallerton branch of the Institute of Advanced Motorists to make it one of the most effective in the country (he was its chairman and one of its observers), and working with the West Burton School Representative Group to safeguard its future as part of a local three-school federation. (See West Burton – a school set to thrive and his view as an independent education consultant. )

To the latter he brought a wealth of experience of governing schools since he retired. He had served as a Quaker trustee on the board of Reeth Primary School, and as a governor of the Breckenbrough Quaker Foundation School.  He had also been a Local Education Authority governor on the board of Leeming and Londonderry  Primary School and Risedale Secondary School.

He was an active member of the Wensleydale and Swaledale Area Quaker Meeting and served for a few years as an elder.

In 2014 David decided to create two large poppies, Peace and Remembrance,  to mark the beginning of World War I. These were fixed to the railings at Bainbridge Meeting House in November each year, and then throughout 2018 up until the centenary of the end of that war. They became a significant landmark in Bainbridge.

Another important part of his life since 2007 was his 30ft cruiser, Edna May. Its moorings at Thurne opposite the white mill and various journeys on the Norfolk Broads were a source of constant delight to him as were the friends he met there.

His links with Thurne went back to the early 1970s and nothing pleased him more than being able to return there. In the last few years there was always the question of how much longer he could walk along the dyke to Edna May  as the effects of an old spinal injury took their toll.

On May 19 (2019)he again savoured that walk, stopping half the way down to do his “360” – turning slowly to enjoy every detail of the scenery. Then he walked on and managed to reach his boat and settle into his favourite seat before he died. He wouldn’t have wanted it any other way.

………..

My tribute to my husband, David Pointon,  at the Memorial Meeting at Bainbridge Quaker Meeting House on Saturday, July 13, 2019:

David passionately believed that anyone with a disability should be able to live life to the full and adventurously.

His former work colleagues recount with delight how he encouraged his blind and visually impaired students to climb trees – something that probably wouldn’t be allowed now du e to health and safety rules. But those kids learnt a lot about what they could achieve.

When his dog, Raq, became blind David gave him mobility lessons too. And I was taught how to be a good guide person.

David approached his own increasing mobility problems in the same way. An old severe spinal injury led to him being unable to put his own shoes and socks on. And then he found…Crocs! Out went the shoes and socks and in marched Crocs – and  joyful independence.

They meant he could still walk down the dyke at Thurne to his beloved Norfolk cruiser Edna May – his glorified shed on water, spiders and all. That meant he could fettle to his heart’s content – either in his garage cum workshop at Thornton Rust or when on the boat.

He could still participate in overseas adventures – either the overland drives to the Gambia or later with his mate Ken to Morocco and France. And David and I could enjoy our journeys exploring Britain.

Many have commented on how much they enjoyed David’s sense of humour.

Our relationship began 14 years ago with a good laugh – and continued with lots more. For me ours was a special relationship. We accepted each other warts and all – two odd people thoroughly enjoying life together and supporting each other in our various interests and activities. He was my soul mate and my best friend.

I have many wonderful and very happy memories. Thank you David.

…………

David became a  close friend of John Warren through attending the Quaker meetings at Bainbridge and Countersett. Pip chose the following poem by John for David’s funeral. It was read by Allan Sharland who had been a friend of David and his brother Mike since they were teenagers.

Over the hill the grey road climbs

And the wind blusters over the hill

Tumbling the trees

And the grey road winds

Where hedges curve in ragged lines

And cærulean blue the bright sky shines

Where the road climbs over the hill

And I will go where the grey road leads

With the wind in my face at the crest

Where the curling road goes down and on

To the far blue hills in the west

And birds in the wind

Wheel and cry

The great elms bend, and creak

And sign

And the road goes on

And so shall I

To those far blue hills in the west.

YDNPA- Planning committee June 2019

An ARC News Service report on the meeting of the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority’s (YDNPA) planning committee on June 11 2019 when decisions were made concerning: a proposed campsite at Grassington,  and barn conversions at Hellifield, Settle and Sedbergh. The committee refused an application to convert a barn at Hawes.

Pip Pointon reports on the YDNPA meetings on a voluntary basis as part of the Association of Rural Communities commitment to local democracy in the Yorkshire Dales National Park.

Grassington

An application for a small campsite at Grassington would probably have got the green light from the planning committee. But the majority of members agreed with the planning officer that the proposal by Jason and Claire Simpkin to use a large field and construct two buildings would have too much of an impact upon the landscape.

The officer commented: “The concerns with the current proposal are a matter of scale rather than a matter of principle.”

She said that a modest campsite and one building for facilities in the northeast section of the field adjacent to the B6265 Hebden Road would be acceptable. The Simpkins planned to use all of a one hectare field on a plateau above the River Wharfe for approximately 25 seasonal pitches. They proposed two buildings, one to provide facilities for the campers, and the other to include the manager’s accommodation. Mr Simpkin told the committee that Grassington did not have a campsite.

He read a letter from the Grassington Chamber of Trade which noted that there had been a dramatic drop in the footfall of tourists in the town in the last couple of years and that the creation of a family friendly campsite would lead to an increase. “I hope this development will enable a greater range of visitors to Grassington, especially young families,” Mr Simpkin said and added that his plans were in line with the National Park’s statutory purposes.

He had informed the Authority that a smaller campsite would not be a viable business. He argued that having a manager on site would help to alleviate some of the concerns raised by residents such as the possible increase in noise and nuisance, and the impact of lighting.

North Yorkshire County councillor John Blackie agreed that having a manager living on the site would be helpful and added: “I am amazed that Grassington hasn’t got a camp site. Campers spend far more in the local economy than any other form of tourist and so keep the shops and services going.”

Other members, however, accepted the officer’s contention that a two-storey stone building to house an office and reception on the ground floor and a self-contained manager’s flat on the first floor was too much. The planning officer did not accept that a seasonal site for 25 tents needed a manager to supervise it, especially as there was a site for 24 tents at Kettlewell which did not provide such accommodation.

She reported that the proposed new buildings would replace a static caravan and the dilapidated remains of a railway carriage. She said there was also concern about the possibility of campers walking along a road to the village where there was no footpath as that would be the shortest route to the pub.

Hellifield

“This is where I would like to retire to in a few years’ time,” Michael Stapleton told the committee concerning the proposed conversion of a barn at the farmstead at Little Newton, Hellifield, near Long Preston.

The planning officer explained that the main problem with that at Little Newton was the relatively poor condition of the barn including the partial collapse at the first-floor level on the front wall. The original plans included taking down and rebuilding the front wall.

The planning officer pointed out that this was in conflict with the Authority’s policy that buildings should be capable of conversion with no more than minor structural work.

She added: “Furthermore, much of the historic significance of the building is due to the evidential value of the windows and doors visible on this frontage, which would be lost if the front wall was rebuilt.”

Part of the barn had once been a farmhouse.After an independent assessment it was agreed that the walls could be retained by using special shoring systems.

Settle

The committee quickly approved the application by Andrew Morrell to convert a Grade II listed barn at Cleatop Park, Settle, partly to be used as a holiday let, and partly to create a private garage and artist’s studio.

Mr Morrell had originally wanted to add a glazed artist’s studio on the east elevation but this did not conform with the Authority’s policy which is based upon conserving traditional barns.

Sedbergh

Approval was given for the 18th century bank barn in  Howgill Lane at Sedbergh to be converted into a local occupancy two bedroom dwelling.

The planning officer told the committee: “The building in question is a characteristic Dale’s barn that is prominent in public views when travelling along Howgill Lane. However, the proposed conversion scheme has been sensitive to the character of the building and amounts to minimal external change to both the structure and its surroundings.”

Sedbergh Parish Council had stated that it considered the development would improve what was currently an eyesore on the outskirts of the residential centre of the town and at the same time retain a heritage asset in a sympathetic manner. It would provide valuable accommodation for a local family subject to the appropriate 106 restrictions.”

YDNPA planning committee refuses Hawes barn conversion

A young couple’s request to convert a barn at Hawes into their family home was turned down by the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority’s planning committee on Tuesday June 11.

Ashley Iveson told the committee: “I ask you to give me and my family an opportunity to live and work on the farm holding that’s been part of my family for generations – and an opportunity to live in a town that we love for the rest of our lives. I would not like to raise my children anywhere else.”

Hawes and High Abbotside Parish Council and North Yorkshire County Councillor John Blackie supported him in the assertion that the barn could not accurately be described as in the “open countryside” as it was close to Brandymires and the caravan park on Hardraw Road, and to the business park, Hawes Fire Station, the water works and the sewage works. It is even closer to Mr Iveson’s father’s lairage agricultural shed.

Mr Iveson said he was particularly disappointed at the way in which the planning officer had criticised this large shed. She had reported: “The shed is in an unfortunate position and is a visual detractor in the area. It is important that this does not set a precedent for further harmful development.”

Mr Iveson commented that the Authority had given planning permission for the shed: “It seems to me that the officer is using her obvious dislike of the shed against my completely separate development,” he said.

The Hawes and High Abbotside Parish representative, Jill McMullon, told the committee that she met many in the community through her work with the Upper Dales Community Partnership. She said she had previously served as a Richmondshire District councillor and had chaired that council twice and been a member of its planning committee for ten years.

She said: “At Richmondshire District Council we always tried to take the local community with us at planning. Now that’s not always possible but our track record was far, far better than yours.”

The Iveson family was, she said, a perfect example of the young family the National Park needed to retain if there was to be a bright future for the local community in the heart of the Yorkshire Dales.“What is the point of the National Park making a priority of retaining and attracting young families to the Upper Dales, shouting this from the roof tops, and then coming forward with a report which seems to go out of its way to scotch the aspirations of a couple and their children to live in our community for the rest of their lives?”

She added that the report completely missed the point that the barn and the lairage shed belonged to the same farming business. “This application is a test of the real intention of the National Park Authority – are you going to walk the walk, or are you just talking the talk?”

Committee member Ian McPherson, however, said that once again there was a conflict on the committee between personal views and policy. He quoted the planning officer’s report which stated: “The barn in question is a field barn surrounded by agricultural land. It is not located within the settlement boundary of Hawes as defined in the Local Plan. It is not within a group of buildings. It is not a roadside location (it is approximately 90m from the Brunt Acre Industrial Estate road) and it is not served by an existing track. For these reasons the development does not comply with policy.

“The dwelling would not provide rural workers accommodation nor be an affordable property.” Mr Iveson had emphasised that, if converted, it would be a local occupancy dwelling, not a holiday let.

In her report the planning officer stated: “The barn in question being located immediately adjacent to the Pennine Way and within walking distance of the amenities and facilities of Hawes town centre would make an ideal camping barn. There is therefore an alternative economic use for the barn that would not require the level of intervention proposed by this development.”

Cllr Blackie commented: “I am bewildered about the suggestion [for] a camping barn. A camping barn, in my view, would create for more upheaval in the landscape than a domestic dwelling. It would also attract cars to be parked indiscriminately in the industrial area.”

He pointed out that in May the committee had approved a barn conversion where a 190m track was required to provide access to a road and reminded the members that there were different interpretations of the Authority’s policies to those of the planning officer. “Today I think she has got it wrong,” he said.

Cllr Blackie, Allen Kirkbride, a parish council member of the committee, and Hawes and High Abbotside Parish Council emphasised that the barn was on a farm holding and that the proposed extension would provide an office for Mr Iveson who works from home as a specialist horse racing reporter as well as helping his father with the lairage business.

Committee member Jim Munday said he had read the parish council’s submission with great interest. “It’s full of character, it’s full of Dales’ interest, it’s got a hero and a heroine, and there’s a lot there which one empathises with.”

But he also felt it perpetuated the myth that the Authority refused many applications for barn conversions. “We’ve approved 110 barn conversions in the last three years and refused only nine. We like to say Yes and we usually do,” he added. He agreed with the planning officer that the committee should refuse Ashley and Katie Iveson’s application.

After seven members voted to refuse the application with four wishing to approve it, Cllr Blackie noted that, following the local elections, two Richmondshire District councillors had not yet been appointed to the Authority’s planning committee. He, therefore, asked for the decision to be deferred to July so that the two new members might have a chance to consider the issue.

The legal officer Clare Bevan said, however, that the committee had already decided not to approve the application.

After the meeting Julie Martin, who chaired the meeting, stated: “I feel very sorry for the applicants in this case. We have a flexible policy, which has already seen more than 150 traditional buildings converted to residential and business uses. “It was very clear that this proposal would not meet the criteria set out in the policy – not least because it has no access to a road. Whoever has been advising them has really let them down. I strongly urge people to please come and talk to our planning service at the earliest opportunity, so as to avoid this sort of disappointment and expense.

“Not all barns are suitable for conversion, particularly those away from the roadside in prominent positions. If there’s a doubt about whether or not a conversion is within policy, pre-application planning advice will clear it up before any expectations or hopes are raised and before any money is spent on professional services.”

Mrs Martin (a trustee of the Friends of the Dales) was deputy chair of the planning committee until Caroline Thornton-Berry stood down as a Richmondshire District councillor.

Proposed barn conversion at Hawes

HawesBarnB

Permission to convert a barn close to the business park at Hawes into a home for a local young family has been recommended for refusal by a Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority planning officer because it is, she argues, in the open countryside.

Pictured: l-r the lairage agricultural building, the barn proposed for conversion, a building in the business park and the sewage works.

In her report to the YDNPA planning committee meeting on Tuesday June 11 she describes the barn north of The Shearlings off Hardraw Road as a high quality non-designated heritage asset which makes a positive contribution to the landscape in an area that is readily accessible by visitors walking the Pennine Way.

In this she follows the advice of the Authority’s senior listed building officer who states: “This barn is a key feature in this location, along this very popular public footpath. It is not a roadside barn, but a landmark building set in the middle of a field, with a very fine landscape backdrop.“The proposed domestic conversion of this building would therefore have a negative impact, in particular the creation of a residential curtilage with car parking, extension and new openings.”

Hawes and High Abbotside Parish Council, however, completely disagrees.

It has informed the planning committee:“The applicants, a local couple, Ashley and Katie, who have two young children attending Hawes Primary School … are committed to remaining in Hawes for the rest of their lives and they have set their heart on converting the barn at The Shearlings and making it their family home.

“It is located on Ashley’s father’s farm holding, his father being Neil Iveson, one of the most renowned of sheep dealers in the North of England.” Ashley had told the parish council that he worked from home using the Superfast Broadband service in Hawes, in a highly specialist position within the horse racing industry.

The parish council explained: “This occupation allows him some time to help his father gather sheep for sale at the various Auction Marts in the Yorkshire Dales and beyond, especially Hawes Auction Mart, or to supply them to customers on the firm’s books. Accordingly the converted barn would be very convenient for this dual role. The extension proposed for the barn would be to provide a home office for his work.”

It continued: “Several [parish councillors] commented that this is exactly the type of young local family we need to retain in the Upper Dales, and [that] this is what the YDNPA in its policies and its public messages has been broadcasting in the media for 18 months now.”

The parish council pointed out that the barn was off the road to the Upper Wensleydale Business Park, was opposite the Community Fields and near the 120 unit Brown Moor Caravan site, as well as sitting neatly within the enclave of Brandymires. Hawes Fire Station is 50 yards away.

The parish council stated that the barn had not been used for some 15 years and the access to it would be hidden by the extensive lairage agricultural building used to hold sheep in transit. (Which cannot be said for the nearby sewage works.)

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Photo: The present access to the barn immediately beside the footpath. The proposed new access will be alongside the lairage barn.

The parish council had supported the YDNPA planning committee when, in February this year, it accepted the recommendation of a planning officer to approve the conversion of a large roadside barn “in the wilderness” along Beggarmans Lane near Gayle to create a “horse assisted learning” business even though he said this was not in accordance with policy.

The application was for the conversion and extension of the barn to provide visitor accommodation and manager’s dwelling, a change of use of land for equestrian purposes, provision of all-weather riding surface, car parking and erection of a stable building.

And at its meeting last month the committee approved an application for a barn in Garsdale which a planning officer described as being a substantial early 19th century bank barn beside the A684 which was in an isolated and locally prominent position.

David Pointon’s Gambian adventures

David teaching a blind student at the GOVI school in Serrekunda, The Gambia, in January 2010

Malcolm Garner and the impact of that first overland journey to The Gambia:

I feel as though a part  of my own history has died with him, as David and I go back a long way professionally, and then I shared with him one of the greatest adventures of my life – the drive to Gambia in December 2003 to deliver the Mitsubishi minibus to the School for the Blind in Serrekunda.

In our working careers, David was the representative for teachers of the blind and partially sighted when I was for teachers of the dear on an organisation called the Special Educational Needs National Advisory Council (SENNAC) which was actually far less important than its name suggests! Nonetheless we did some good work and organised a few national conferences which were interesting and sometimes influential.

It was through that contact that David got in touch in 2003 to ask if I (and others) would sponsor his journey to deliver the minibus to Gambia. I was impressed that he had set this up and wrote and said I would, and that I wished I was going too, to which he replied – “Well why don’t you. I need a co-driver.” Hence my involvement.

The journey was absolutely fascinating and exciting, including a complete failure of the clutch in  the middle of our crossing of the Sahara Desert! The repair of that in the desert was an epic achievement and we made it to Gambia intact and were able to hand the minibus to the school as planned. The project and journey was all David’s idea and initiative and, to his great credit, he made the journey [several more times] with other vehicles to donate to work in Gambia. I know he is remembered in Gambia with enormous affection and gratitude and they too will be very sad to hear of his passing.

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Above: David (left) and Malcolm with Mitsi on arrival in Banjul, The Gambia, in January 2003

This experience had a life changing impact for me as I was later to return to Gambia on a regular basis to try and develop health and education services for deaf children and adults, something which continues to this day. This has been a rewarding and fascinating (and sometimes frustrating) experience and I have David to thank for leading me in this direction.

David has left a very significant legacy of change for good among many pupils disadvantaged by limited or no sight, both in the UK and also in Africa, and also among professionals such as myself who have benefitted from his energy, initiative and enthusiasm. As such I will never forget David and will always be grateful for the opportunities and encouragement he has given me over the years.

Phillip Feller, Chairman of the Friends of Visually Impaired Children in The Gambia:

Thirty years ago David answered my appeal for assistance for the blind and visually impaired children of The Gambia.  At that time David was head of what was then the Sensory Support Service of the Norfolk County Education Department.

Joining me in The Gambia David soon assessed the needs of the blind and visually impaired children there. His list was frighteningly long.

To mention a few: proper training for the few teachers who were working with the children; computers with special programmes to assist training; Braille machines and paper; tape recorders; and even a purpose-built school. At that time the few pupils attending a dedicated facility were housed in an annex to a mainstream school in Banjul.

David – with great enthusiasm – set to work with myself and my wife, Joan, to start meeting those needs. A charity was registered first as the Friends of GOVI (The Gambian Organisation for the Visually Impaired) and later as the Friends of Visually Impaired Children in the Gambia. Funds were successfully raised for building a special school for the children at Serrekunda.

A highlight for David was the purchase of a minibus in 2003 and, together with Malcolm Garner,  drove to The Gambia with urgently needed equipment. Subsequently he organised and led several other overland deliveries including that with the Dales Team in late 2006 and with members of the Wensleydale Rotary Club in January 2010 The minibuses were then used by the school.

After several years of meetings with the Minister of Education we succeeded in obtaining an agreement that student teachers, as part of their training, would spend time with disabled pupils at St John’s School for the Deaf and at the GOVI School for the Visually Impaired (both at Serrekunda).

David worked closely with the Education Department and with the Integrated Education Programme headed by Nancy Mendy and her deputy Sarjo Bajinka.

Having just returned from The Gambia I was unable to inform David that there were now over 300 visually impaired children receiving education and of Nancy Mendy’s latest initiative to recruit more teachers. This is a legacy that David could be proud of.

All I can say is: Thank you David for all your help and support over the years and for realising my dream of a future of hope for the blind and visually impaired children of The Gambia.

(First posted on the website of the charity of which David was a founder member and a former trustee.)

David Pointon and a special celebration at Thornton Rust

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Villagers at Thornton Rust raised their glasses to my husband, David Pointon, on Saturday June 1. He had died just two weeks before the 20th anniversary celebration of the founding of the village’s Kennel Field TrustAbove: David on his quad bike overlooking Wensleydale from near the Kennel Field.

At that celebration the villagers also raised their glasses to the continued prosperity of what is often known as the Millennium Field. The Kennel Field Trust was set up to bring that field, once used by the Wensleydale Harriers for kennelling its hounds, into public ownership and to restore it.

The Yorkshire Dales Millennium Trust (YDMT)  had supported the Kennel Field Trust  then – and, as part of its own 20th anniversary celebrations awarded a further grant of  £4,000.

At the party in Thornton Rust village hall on Saturday the chairman of the Kennel Field Trust, John Dinsdale, explained that this grant was used to install new fencing, reinstate the cooking area of the mash house, order an interpretation board and install a new bench.

Deborah Millward, the Trust’s secretary, told those who had gathered in the village hall: “Dave [Pointon] had been associated with the Kennel Field for at least 15 years and for much of that time he was a trustee.

“I think what appealed to him and the rest of us was the ethos of the Kennel Field: that it was owned by the community; that the villagers could freely wander wherever they wanted there – enjoy the flowers, enjoy the birds, and enjoy the view.”

She added that he was a very good artist and had designed the artwork for the new bench. “Sadly he hasn’t been to see it but he did have photographs. I think he would be wanting us to celebrate and so I would like you to raise your glasses in joyful memory to Dave.”

His wife, Pip, said later: “As his mobility was becoming more and more restricted he had bought a quad bike so that he could still visit the Kennel Field and go up onto the moors. He loved the Yorkshire Dales and still wanted to enjoy them.”

Below: the new bench with David’s artwork engraved on it.

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David was an Aysgarth and District parish councillor for Thornton Rust and a member of its village hall committee.

He was chairman of Northallerton branch of the Institute of Advanced Motorist and a Qualified Observer (trainer).

He was on the Representative Group for West Burton CofE School and then a member of the Bainbridge, Askrigg and West Burton Federation of Schools Working Party.

Before he retired to Wensleydale in 2001 he was head of service in Norfolk for children and young people with sensory impairment. He set up that service in 1983 and through it children were brought from boarding schools for the blind and visually impaired into main stream education. This led to him being a representative for teachers of the blind and visually impaired on the Special Educational Needs National Advisory Council and being a trustee of a charity aimed at helping such children in The Gambia.

After retirement he made several overland journeys to The Gambia to deliver equipment to the only school for the blind and visually impaired in that country and to run training classes for teachers working with them. David and I also introduced Heather Ritchie of Rug Aid to that school and it is wonderful to see how her work in The Gambia has developed since then.

He also served as a governor at Risedale School until it was converted into an academy and at Leeming Bar CofE Primary. He was involved for a time with Reeth School through the Quaker Trust as well as being a governor for six years at Breckenbrough School at Sandhutton run by North Yorkshire Quakers.

His funeral will be at Gorleston Crematorium as he died on his boat on the Norfolk Broads and as his daughter and some of his closest friends live in Norfolk.

Later there will be a Memorial Meeting at Bainbridge Quaker Meeting House. As one of those who worked with him in the Sensory Support service commented: “His discovery of the Quaker faith gave him an anchor later in life and I know he loved the life ‘up North’ surrounded by such magnificent countryside.”

Pip’s message on Facebook on May 21:

Sadly my wonderful husband, David, died suddenly on Sunday – [sitting] in his favourite place on his boat on the Norfolk Broads. I am so grateful to the strangers who helped me with CPR, to the paramedics and ambulance staff who worked so hard to bring him back, to Eddie my son for driving from London to be with me that evening and for being a tower of strength, and to the Bondi family, especially Jim and Sue for caring for me so well at their home.

Thoralby parish councillors – a family affair

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Forty years after Brian McGregor was elected as an Aysgarth and District Parish councillor for Thoralby his daughter, Sandra Wilman (55), has been elected to join him.

Thoralby was one of the five parish councils which had to have an election this month as there were more candidates than required.

This was the first election at Thoralby in 40 years – and the village did it in style with a 70 per cent turnout. The highest turnout anywhere else in Richmondshire was the parish council election at Bellerby (58%).

At the meeting of Aysgarth and District Parish Council on Thursday (May 16) Richmondshire District councillor Yvonne Peacock congratulated Thoralby for what she described as an “absolutely fantastic” turnout.

Cllr Wilman received the highest number of votes (64) beating her father by seven. The other councillor elected was Linda Cooper who has served on the parish council for several years.

Asked why she decided to stand for election Cllr Wilman said: “I want to give something back.” When she was growing up in the village she remembers so many children from there attending school but now there are far fewer.

She worked with her husband in his family’s joinery business in Bradford for many years and now they have retired to Thoralby. So her two sons went to school in Bradford, and her two grandchildren also attend school in Bradford.

YDNPA – Planning committee May 2019

An ARC News Service report on the meeting of the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority’s (YDNPA) planning committee on May 14 2019 when decisions were made concerning: a temporary site for Gypsies and Travellers at Sedbergh; barn conversions at Sedbergh and in Garsdale; alterations to Yarnbury  House near Grassington;  a cabin on a small holding  in Gaisgill; and an unauthorised dwelling house in Langcliffe.

Pip Pointon reports on the YDNPA meetings on a voluntary basis as part of the Association of Rural Communities commitment to local democracy in the Yorkshire Dales National Park.

North Yorkshire County councillor Richard Welch thanked Caroline Thornton-Berry for chairing the committee and the other members applauded her. She has now stepped down from being a Richmondshire District councillor and so will no longer be one of its representatives on the Authority.

Sedbergh – Gypsy and Travellers’ site

The 21-day site for Gypsies and Travellers at Scrogg Bank Field, Cautley Road, Sedbergh, has been a complete “godsend”  Sedbergh Parish councillor Ian McPherson told the committee.

Cllr McPherson, who has been a member of the Travelling and Settled Community Respect Group for ten years,  proposed that only a five-year temporary permission should be granted for the site and this was unanimously approved. The application was for permanent permission which Sedbergh Parish Council objected to because, it said, this would enshrine the use of the site by Gypsies and Travellers for the long-term.

The provision of the site covers the period when Gypsies and Travellers are going to and returning from the Appleby Fair. Cllr McPherson told the committee: “This field over the last five years has been a complete godsend.

“It means that instead of Travellers being here, there and everywhere and putting their horses to graze on the school playing fields and using ditches [as latrines] has largely ceased. Without this field it is felt that matters would return to the bad old days.”

The committee was told that when in use the site for no more than 100 caravans at one time will be supervised at least twice a day by South Lakeland District Council (SLDC)  officers and the Police. An enclosed skip and bin bags will be provided and the SLDC will clear away litter and waste afterwards. Portable toilets will be provided.

John Bucknall, a trustee of Pendragon Estates which owns the two farms adjoining the site, told the committee: “The Gypsies have their own codes of cleanliness. Some, in preference to using the sanitary facilities provided on site, use the hedgerows, adjacent fields and our farm entrance as latrines.”

He recounted how last year one of the tenant farmers found  teenagers had driven a ewe into a gill and appeared to be attempting to steal two lambs. Some horses had also been put to graze on a farmer’s field. “Grass is gold. These are our best meadows,” Mr Bucknall said.

“We live in a state of virtual siege in the house and on the farm while the Gypsies are encamped. We cannot leave house or farm unmanned at any time and we feel at constant risk of intimidation and trespass. Our tenants are in constant fear of stock being injured or stolen,” he added.

He understood the need to provide such a site and appreciated the achievements of the public meetings. He said he had been able to discuss their difficulties with Billy Welch, the Gypsy leader [Shera Rom] at one of those meetings.

“As the conditions of the fair constantly change, I support the five-year temporary permission,” he said.

Richmondshire District councillor Yvonne Peacock commented that Sedbergh was fortunate to have such a site. She explained that Bainbridge village green was now a managed site for the Gypsies and Travellers over the period of the Appleby Fair when there was no charge to use the public toilets. Residents did often feel intimidated she said and found it difficult when generators were being run until midnight.

Eden District councillor Ian Mitchell did not take part in the discussion and did not vote as he is a member of the Appleby Fair Multi-Agency Coordinating Group. This year Appleby Fair begins on Thursday June 6 and ends on Wednesday June 12.

Sedbergh

Unanimous approval was given for the conversion of a barn in Joss Lane, Sedbergh,  into two dwellings for either holiday  lets or local occupancy even though a degree of rebuilding may be necessary.

A planning officer told the committee that some of the single storey walls and the upper part of a gable wall were unstable. “The majority of the walling and the most important features of the barn would be retained. The degree of rebuilding is therefore justified on heritage grounds,” he said.

But David Parratt, on behalf of his mother-in-law who lives in The Old House adjacent to the barn, stated: “We consider that the building appears unsafe and would require rebuilding.” He added that major intervention would probably be required.

Sedbergh Parish Council had initially objected to the application because, it stated, the barns exhibited apparent defects, including leaning walls, displaced masonry, open joints and cracked lintels.  After seeing amended plans it no longer had any objections.

Mr Parratt was also concerned about the impact upon the amenity of those living in The Old House especially if the new dwellings became holiday lets, and that a package sewage plant had not been included in the plans. The committee agreed that the latter should be included.

The agent for the applicant, Ian Swain, said that The Old House would not be overlooked by the new dwellings as the barn was at an angle to it.

Ian McPherson, who is a Sedbergh parish councillor, commented that he regularly walked past The Old House and the barn. “The barn has been crying out for renovation for a long time. In my view it would make an excellent holiday let or local occupancy dwelling.”

Gaisgill 

Despite a plea from a farmer for more time the committee refused planning permission for a wooden cabin at Gaisgill to continue to be used as a temporary dwelling for a further three years.

Neil Plant of Rayne Holdings said that the smallholding at 3 Rayne Cottage, Gaisgill, was being developed and the wooden cabin was still needed. “Just give us a chance. Three years is going to make a difference,” he said.

Eden District councillor William Patterson supported him and stated: “I can’t see the problem with giving the chap a chance to build up a small holding.” And North Yorkshire County councillor John Blackie added that many Dales farmers had started their farms that way.

But the head of development management, Richard Graham, reminded the committee that in December 2017 it had approved enforcement action to be taken for the removal of the cabin as the three-year temporary permission given in 2013 had expired.

A planning officer had told the committee that when Mr Plant had requested pre-planning advice in October 2018 he had been told that he had not shown there was a functional need for a full-time worker to live at the site and that the business could just as well be run from one of the nearby converted barns owned by Rayne Holdings.  The officer added that the current and previous owners had had two and a half years to remove the cabin from the site.

Authority Member Julie Martin commented: “We don’t have any clear evidence that this is needed for a agricultural worker and we don’t have evidence at this present time that this is a viable business. We do have evidence that there is alternative accommodation. I think we have to follow through otherwise we undermine our own decision [in December 2017].”

Eden District Council granted permission in May 2019 for the change of use of one of the two barns from a holiday cottage to an unrestricted residential dwelling.

The committee voted by ten votes to seven to refuse the application.

Garsdale

Cllrs Blackie and Peacock questioned the length of track required to provide a barn conversion in Garsdale with safe access to the A684 at Aye Gill Farm.

They compared the length required (about 160m) with that proposed for a barn conversion at Long Shaw near Bainbridge which was refused in March this year.  The track for that would have  been 110m long.

The head of development management, Richard Graham, emphasised that the barn near The Hill in Garsdale was a roadside barn in accordance with the Authority’s policy. That at Long Shaw was not a roadside barn and a length of walling would needed to be moved back from the road to provide sufficient visibility at the access, he said.

The planning officer reported that there would be no loss of walling at the access onto the A684 at Aye Gill Farm

Remarking on the photographs shown of the proposed track to the barn in Garsdale, Cllr Peacock said: “This looks to me like a farm track.” She noted that drivers in some small cars would have difficulty negotiating it and that the officer had not included any recommendation about improving it.

The planning officer described the building in Garsdale as being a substantial early 19th century bank barn standing beside the A684 some 7k to the east of Sedbergh. “It stands in an isolated and locally  prominent position on top of a bluff. The barn structure is basically sound and no rebuilding of walls is necessary,” he said.

The owner has agreed to demolish the additions to the barn which were added in the 20th century.

The committee unanimously approved the application to convert the two-storey stone barn into a three bedroom dwelling for local occupancy or short term holiday letting.

Grassington

The  committee very quickly approved a planning application for alterations to Yarnbury House in Moor Lane, Grassington, even though the parish council had asked the Authority  to investigate the true intentions of the applicant.

The committee heard that Grassington Parish Council strongly suspected that this was an attempt to change the use of the property to another shooting lodge without having to make a formal application for change of use – something it would oppose.

The parish council said that the application gave the appearance of wanting to enhance and increase the living accommodation and added: “How can this be done when the bedrooms will be reduced from four to three, but more features such as a boot room and a drying room are added, together with the conversion of the double garage?”

The application included altering the outbuildings and garage to become ancillary living space to Yarnbury House.

The planning officer reported that there had been lengthy discussions with the applicant and that the proposed scheme had been significantly amended so as not to cause substantial harm to the listed building.

She added: “Neighbours have raised the issue that the house may become a shooting lodge or used for some kind of shooting enterprise and that the applicant is a sporting company not a private resident. The agent has confirmed that the site will be used as a private domestic dwelling.”

The agent, Maria Ferguson, emphasised this at the meeting. She said that her client had bought Yarnbury House so that he and his family and friends could enjoy the countryside and sporting activities.

Langcliffe

There were gasps when an enforcement officer showed the committee a photograph of the fully fitted modern kitchen inside “The Old Dairy” beside Cowside Barn at Langcliffe.

She said that when she visited the building in June 2017 she was told it was mainly being used as a kennel facility even though there were some kitchen units, a sink, a cooker, a bed and a sleeping bag alongside the designated area for dogs. She was told that the only time it was occupied was when additional care was needed for the dogs and new litters.

When she went there in November 2018, however, she found that the building had been converted into a three -bedroom dwelling house. Two of the bedrooms are en-suite and there is a bathroom and living area. All the windows and doors had been replaced with uPVC double glazed units. Outside there are hanging baskets, decking, a BBQ, washing line and garden furniture.

The enforcement officer showed photographs of how the interior of the cabin looked in 2017 – and then those taken in November 2018 which so surprised the committee members, especially the black and white kitchen with large extractor fan.

She reported that the owner intended to apply for a Lawful Development Certificate to prove the lawful use of “The Old Dairy” as a dwelling house from March 2013 to December 2018.

She stated: “Despite the owner’s assurances that the outbuilding has been occupied as a self-contained dwelling house since March 2013, no supporting evidence to prove the lawful use of the building has been forthcoming. The fact that there was a bed and basic kitchen facilities within the building does not demonstrate that the building has been occupied as a self-contained unit of accommodation .

“At the time of visiting in 2017, the building did not appear to be in use as habitable living accommodation. It appears that, prior to the works being carried out to convert the building in late 2017, it was used as an ancillary out building and as kennelling facilities in connection with Cowside Barn.”

The enforcement officer added that a smaller building had been constructed without planning permission next to “The Old Dairy”. She said that when she visited in April 2019 there were seven dogs and three litters (24 puppies) in that building.

Richmondshire District councillor Yvonne Peacock commented: “So many people in the Yorkshire Dales never do anything without asking for planning [advice or] permission. To me it is only right that we respect that.”

For that reason, she said, the Authority should take enforcement action when something had been done without planning permission.

The committee agreed that the Authority’s solicitor should serve an Enforcement Notice to secure the cessation of the use of “The Old Dairy” as a dwelling house; the removal of internal fixtures and fittings including the kitchen units and appliances; and the removal of the decking and fence.

The original recommendation was for a three-month compliance period but the committee agreed this should be extended to six months to provide time for those living there to find alternative accommodation.

West Burton School “Set to Thrive”

Press release from the BAWB Federation:

Parents of children at West Burton Church of England School have received the welcome news that from September 2019 the full range of primary education will be taught at the school.

The governors of the BAWB federation of Bainbridge, Askrigg and West Burton schools have made the decision to restore a second class at West Burton following consultation with the Local Authority of North Yorkshire County Council.

The decision came as a result of the efforts of the working party set up recently to attract more children to the federation. The group, which combines the energies and enthusiasm of teachers, governors, parents and members of the community, has embarked on a wide-ranging marketing strategy which has created a renewed interest in this small rural school.

Set in the context of rising numbers of children across the whole of Wensleydale, West Burton School is well placed to take advantage of the increase in affordable housing, better broadband connection and the desire for a healthier lifestyle that is bringing more young families to the area.

In a letter to parents, signed by all the members of the working party, the Chairman of the board of governors said that he was ‘extremely optimistic’ that numbers at West Burton School would increase, and looked forward to the ongoing support of the parents and the community.

He also welcomed ‘the approval and support’ of the Local Authority.A member of the working party said ‘We are all very pleased that the younger children will be returning full-time, and we are sure that the school is now set to thrive.’West Burton School will be holding an ‘open day’ as part of the annual May Fair held in the village on bank-holiday Monday, 27 May.

A stall with games will be set up outside the school, and activities and escorted tours will take place inside. Further information about West Burton School and the BAWB Federation can be found at www.b-a-wb.co.uk

YDNPA – Planning committee April 2019

An ARC News Service report on the meeting of the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority’s (YDNPA) planning committee on April 9 2019 when decisions were made concerning: Hawes Methodist Chapel and Sunday School; a residential care home at Smardale; barns at Eshton, Litton, Threshfield, Thorlby, Bolton Abbey Estate (Stank House and Hazlewood);  Starbotton, Cautley near Sedbergh, and at Akrigg near Killington; and the Angel Inn and Wine Cave at Hetton.

Residents from Hawes again applauded the majority of the committee for agreeing with them that the conversion of the town’s former Methodist Chapel and Sunday School  into five holiday lets would be over-development and cause parking problems which would have a detrimental impact upon neighbours and businesses nearby. The committee, therefore, confirmed its decision last month to refuse permission.

But the story was very different for the residents of Smardale.

Smardale

Violent and anti-social incidents at a care home for vulnerable children in Smardale have created so much fear in that small community that the residents appealed  to the planning committee not to allow even more youngsters to reside there.  But their request has been refused.

Gloria Venning told the committee in March that the trained staff at Cloverdale, run by A Wilderness Way Holdings Ltd,  weren’t even able to control two children. She reported that the Police had been called when a staff member locked herself and another child in a safe room while a distressed teenager was left wandering around the area with a knife. She said there had been six incidents at Cloverdale so far including arson and anti-social and sexual behaviour.

“In less than two years this property has been transformed from a family home … to an offenders’ institution,” she said.

The planning committee accepted the request of Eden District councillor William Patterson to hold a site meeting mainly to see how difficult it was to reach Smardale. Cllr Patterson and residents pointed out that the nearest Police station was 30 miles away and the only route into Smardale was via a single-track road.

At the meeting on April 9  however, the planning committee by eight votes to six, gave approval for change of use from a dwelling house to a residential institution capable of housing six children.

At that meeting Cllr Patterson refuted a statement by a committee member that the residents of Smardale were prejudiced.

“If the people of Smardale were prejudiced they would have fought for it not to be there in the first place,” he said.

Rosemarie Lees on behalf of Waitby and Smardale Parish Meeting told the April meeting: “We agreed not to oppose the original application for four vulnerable children to be there – indeed we sought to welcome them.” She said the planning officer  had trivialised the residents’ major concern – the fear of crime.  “The fear is real – the incidents are serious,” she said and added.

“We have totally lost confidence in the management of Wilderness Way. The company does not communicate with residents.”

She and others pointed out that the nature reserve at Smardale was being publicised as a major tourist attraction by the YDNPA. But visitors would have to walk past Cloverdale to reach it.

Richmondshire District councillor Yvonne Peacock was especially concerned that the application was for the change of use of Cloverdale from a dwelling to a residential institution.  She warned that members needed to be very careful as they didn’t know what sort of applications might be made in the future.

The agent for A  Wilderness Way Holdings Ltd told the committee that the objective was to make Cloverdale similar to a family home for the vulnerable children residing there.  She said that Ofsted, which inspects and regulates the services at Cloverdale, had asked that it should have the capacity to take up to six children in an emergency.

A Certificate of Lawfulness was issued in December 2017 confirming it could be used to provide care and accommodation for no more than four children under the age of 18 with the support of two carers on a 24-hours shift rota basis. To be able to accommodate six children with six adult carers Cloverdale needed to become a residential institution.

The agent added that the aim was to have a care home where the children could enjoy the wonders of the National Park.

The planning officer stated: “The proposed use would deliver a significant social benefit for the wider community in that it would provide care and respite for children/young people to recover from experiences that have rendered them vulnerable. Cloverdale is considered to be an appropriate location for such a use given its rural setting being ideal for therapeutic care and being remote from the home areas of children/young people where there may be significant risks to the success of their care.

“Concerns based on the fear of crime are not compelling given the lack of a reasonable, cogent evidential basis linking the use with criminal activity and given that the Police are satisfied with the applicant’s Statement of Purpose and admissions process.”

The chairman of the Authority, Craven District councillor Carl Lis, said that the Police and Ofsted were the experts – and Ofsted had asked for the residential capacity to be increased.

Committee member, Jocelyn Manners-Armstrong, stated: “This is an excellent location making a positive contribution to these children’s lives.”

And another member, Jim Munday, added: “This is about providing a safe home for vulnerable children. What is missing … is serious dialogue between the applicant and the local population. It’s important that the applicant and local population sit down and talk this through.”

Hetton

The small village of Hetton in the  Yorkshire Dales had  to retain the services of a Queens Counsel at considerable cost in its bid to stop Michelin-star chef, Michael Wignall and his partners, from turning the Wine Cave at the Angel Inn into a fine dining restaurant with the loss of 16 car parking spaces.

Andrew Armstrong, representing Hetton cum Bordley Parish Meeting , told the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority’s planning committee last month, that the parish meeting had felt obliged to do this because residents believed that a considerable increase in on-street parking would have an unacceptable impact on highway safety and the community.

The planning committee was told that Michael and Johanna Wignall and their partners, James and Jo Wellock, wanted to create a fine dining restaurant at the Wine Cave. But their plans included the removal of 16  car parking spaces in the rear yard, the construction of a rear extension,  and the creation of a landscaped courtyard.

In March the planning committee did approve plans for internal and external alterations at the Angel Inn including extensions at the rear. Hetton cum Bordley Parish Meeting objected because, it said, the increase in guest bedrooms would lead to more cars being parked along the road especially if the parking area behind the  Wine Cave was no longer available.

The parish meeting was so concerned when the planning officer recommended approval for the applications by Wellock Property Ltd that it asked Lichfields Planning Consultancy for advice.  Justin Gartland, the chairman of that consultancy, told the committee in March: “It is not acceptable practice to suggest that the parish meeting should secure its own consultancy.”

The parish meeting’s representative, Andrew Armstrong, said: “Hetton parish meeting has been obliged to go to the length of employing the Queens Counsel who represented [the Authority] at the 1995 planning appeal.” The Authority’s decision at that time to refuse a planning application involving the Angel Inn was upheld at the three-day appeal on the grounds that it would be detrimental to highway safety and the amenity of the local community. Mr Armstrong said that the same issues still applied.

Carl Tonks of the cTc transport consultancy told that meeting that a survey had been carried out in September 2018 using a nationally accepted data base. This had shown, he said, that there would still be significant capacity for car parking within the area even after the proposed alterations at the Angel Inn and the Wine Cave.

The parish meeting, however, argued that the survey had been carried out at a quiet time in the village and when the rear car park at the Wine Cave was operational.

Also at the March meeting Charles Reeday, a farmer whose house is next door to the Wine Cave, told the committee that the alterations to it would greatly affect his garden and home. “We already suffer noise from the Angel across the road but the rear of our house is away from this.” They would not be able to escape the noise if the back of the Wine Cave was developed, he added.

Another resident, Richard Jackson, said the increase in noise and light pollution would have an impact on the neighbours. Mentioning the expense of employing a QC he said: “We are wondering how and why the National Park is still considering to give approval. What more is it  possible for the village and the parish meeting to do?”

As the majority of the committee at the March meeting did not accept the planning officer’s recommendation to approve the application the decision was referred back to that on April 9.  The head of development management, Richard Graham, reminded members that the traffic survey had been carried out in accordance with a nationally  accepted model to industry standards and that evidence would be needed to counteract that.

North Yorkshire county councillor Richard Welch commented: “This is the over development of the site and detrimental to the residents and other road users. It will also have a detrimental impact on the residents’ amenities.”

The committee unanimously agreed with him and refused permission for the application.

Barn conversions in Craven District:

Six out of the eight barn conversions in Craven District approved by the  planning committee on April 9 will be primarily for holiday accommodation.

David Staveley, however, made it very clear that he wanted to convert Lane Head Laithe at Throstle Nest, Eshton, into a three-bedroom home for him and his wife on the family farm. North Yorkshire

County councillor John Blackie commented: “I don’t think any member could make a more compelling case for the approval of this application than David Staveley himself. What better case can you make for a redundant building.”

The Highways Authority had, however, objected because it did not believe there was sufficient visibility at the access onto the road. The planning officer reported that about 12m of the boundary wall would be set back to improve visibility.

And Mr Staveley stated: “We are very aware of the danger as we have been using this as a farm access for 19 years.”

Even a planning officer described Nether Hesleden Farm Barn near Litton as being in the open countryside and it is in the Littondale Barns and Walls Conservation area.

He explained that the power supply to this roadside barn could be undergrounded from Nether Hesleden Farm, that there would be little change to the exterior of the building, and that the garden had been reduced to the minimum. He added that the converted dwelling would be used primarily as a holiday let.

North Yorkshire County councillor Richard Welch said: “I can’t think of a more classic example of what defines a roadside barn. I can’t see any problems with it. It ticks all the right boxes in the right places.”

The application to convert Ellis Laithe at Grisedale Gate Farm near Threshfield was solely for conversion to a holiday let. The planning officer stated that only the existing openings would be used and the proposed parking and external area would be modest and contained within the existing width of the walled lane to the south. No extension is required.

An application to convert this barn into a home for a farm worker was refused by the committee in December. The planning officer told the committee that the Authority was discussing with the applicant the possibility of applying to build a family home at the farm. Ellis Laithe will now become part of the farm’s holiday letting business.

Stirton-with-Thorlby Parish Meeting had told the Authority that not all residents were happy with Manor Farm Barn in Thorlby being used solely as a holiday let. As with most of the other applications the owners, Trustees for Roman Catholic Purposes Registered (TRCPR) had applied for both local occupancy or holiday let in line with the Authority’s conservation policy for roadside barns and those within settlements.

The agent for TRCPR, Robert Hodgkiss, told the committee that the application was not contentious and was in accord with national and local policies. It would, he said, have a sustainable use within the village once converted.

Three of the applications were made by the Chatsworth Settlement Trustees (Bolton Abbey Estate). For speed of approval none matched those dealt with by the planning committee in February.

The Trustees applications to convert the former Wesleyan chapel at Barden and Harry’s Barn at Storith were submitted on January 7 and approved by the planning committee on February 12 which might be a record! Both will have hot tubs installed as they will be primarily for holiday accommodation.

Those two applications did not require any amendments whereas the three submitted on January 17 did. The amendments to the plans for the Shippon at Stank House to the west of Bolton Abbey included moving the hot tub to a less obvious position!

Permission was granted for the conversion of both the Shippon and the barn at Stank House, which is already used as a holiday let. The access to the complex is via an existing private driveway.

The third application from the Trustees was for the conversion of Laneside Barn at Hazlewood to the east of Bolton Abbey. This is near two cottages on what the planning officer described as a very quiet lane.

She said that the proposed garden and parking would be contained in the yard serving the barn and so would be screened from public view.

The eighth successful application was by the artist Victoria Russell to convert a toft barn at Starbotton into a studio and dwelling.

Starbotton

Despite a warning by a parish council that the conversion of a barn at Starbotton would lead to further inappropriate development in a conservation area created to protect a medieval “toft” system the planning committee approved the planning application by artist Victoria Russell.

Kettlewell with Starbotton Parish councillor Ian Macefield  told the committee  that Tom Lear Barn was an integral part of Starbotton’s medieval toft (croft) system.

“The toft system is the key charm, character and essence of the village,” he said.

The planning officer agreed that the barn had a very high heritage significance as there was evidence of it originally being of cruck construction and so likely to date from the late 16th century.

She said there  had been extensive negotiations over the design to produce a sensitive scheme which would also enable the owner  to use it as an artist studio as well as a two-bedroom local occupancy dwelling.

The parish council had objected to the original plans because they included a glazed gable which, it said, was out of character with the barn and other buildings in the conservation area.

This was not included in amended plans. Instead there will be patent glazing providing light to the first floor. The planning officer stated: “Although patent glazing can be a significant feature on a roof, on this building it will appear as a single strip of glazing running the length of the rear roof and will avoid the requirement for several roof-lights or new windows which would alter the simple character of the barn and impact on historic fabric.”

A committee member, Julie Martin, pointed out that the Authority’s senior listed building officer had commented extensively on the application but that had not been included in the planning officer’s report. She noted that this had happened with several reports to the committee that day.

The parish council had also objected to the proposed access. The planning officer explained that access via Back Lane or Long Lane had been considered but it was concluded these  green lanes of medieval origin were too narrow and unsuitable for modern vehicles. It was also unlikely, she said, that Ms Russell would obtain legal right of access down those lanes.

Instead the application included using a track across the toft but stopping a short distance from Tom Lear Barn. The medieval wall line is to be reintroduced in order to separate the majority of the field from the proposed parking and garden, she said.

“It is considered that the important landscape setting of the barn and the Conservation Area will therefore be retained, with some enhancement in the form of the reinstated medieval wall line compensating for the introduction of the track within the field,” she added.

The parish council, however, had stated: “The proposed track will have a serious visual impact, being visible from the footpaths above the village. In addition, the track and the soakaway  on a medieval toft will require earthworks on a potentially important archaeological site.”

Cllr Macefield said that Back Lane was at least 8ft wide and was already being used for access to Tom Lear Barn and the Quaker burial ground. He added that a vehicle with good ground clearance could be driven over the hump back bridge along that lane.

The parish council was also concerned about the installation of a cattle grid as this, it maintained,  would be an alien feature in a medieval village setting.  It added that a cattle grid was not especially good at controlling stock and would present a danger to children and small animals.

Cautley near Sedbergh

Permission was granted for a barn at Cautley Thwaite Farm to be partially converted into a local occupancy dwelling or short-term holiday let.

Sedbergh Parish Council had questioned leaving part of it as a barn as it felt converting all of the building would better ensure long-term maintenance of a heritage asset,  provide valuable family scale accommodation and that it would remain as a single planning unit.

The planning officer, however, stated: “The retention of part of the byre (including internal stalls) in the southern end of the building is supported as this area contains older timbers and furniture that pre-date the barn itself. It is likely that some materials used in the construction of the building were salvaged from an older barn on or near the site. By not converting this area to habitable accommodation, allows the historic features to remain in place as evidence of the past history of the building.”

She added that the existing access to the barn could be used to provide a parking area behind the barn as a new dry-stone wall would be built to screen them from open view.

Killington

The majority of the committee yet again voted to approve an application for the reconstruction of a partially collapsed barn at Akrigg to create a dwelling.  This confirmed the decision made at the meeting in March.

Final Service at Aysgarth Chapel

AysgarthChapelS

Above after the service on April 7 : Front Row l-r – Richard and Ann Wilkinson, Jean Cockburn and Rona Trowell. Back row – Anne Moore, Martin and Pauline Beckett and Frank Trowell.

Aysgarth Methodist chapel was full on Sunday April 7 for its final service before its official closure on April 22. 

The few remaining Methodist chapels in mid and upper Wensleydale were represented as well as St Andrew’s Church, Aysgarth, and the local community.

The service was led by Dr Richard Wilkinson who for many years was a local Methodist lay preacher as well as being the organist at St Andrew’s Church.

He spoke of his own sadness about the closure of the chapel which, he said, had been a wonderful centre for the village. He reflected on the history of the chapel and the local man to whom it has been a memorial – the Rev Sylvester Whitehead who served for ten years as a missionary in China and who, in 1904 became the President of the Wesleyan Conference.

The present chapel was built by local craftsmen in 1900. It replaced a cottage on the site which had been used for services since 1766.

Dr Wilkinson remembered those who had ministered there and recalled the annual nativity plays in which the village children participated. “These were a wonderful experience for all of us, led by Jean Cockburn and Rona Trowell,” he said.

Mrs Cockburn started the nativity plays in 1966 four years after taking over the chapel’s Sunday School. For 20 years or more she has assisted Rona Trowell with the nativity plays and all age worship services.

“I ‘m very grateful that I’ve had over 90 years of being a chapel member,” said 92-years-old Mrs Cockburn as she shared some of her memories (see below). She is one of the five remaining members of Aysgarth chapel who made the decision to close it.

Another was Pauline Becket who told the congregration: : “We have reached the end of a long road and we have to look for a new direction.”

She sang a solo at the beginning of the service, and there were two duets by Emma Cloughton and Colin Bailey. The organist was Diane Hartley.

After the service Mrs Cockburn was presented with a bouquet of flowers by Mary Hugill as a thank you for all she had done at the chapel for so many years.

Most of the congregation remained in the chapel afterwards for the buffet tea.

 

Jean’s reflections:

When Richard asked me if I would say a few words about our chapel my first thought was “No Way” – but I thought of the years I’d asked him to play [the organ] and he never refused so I had second thoughts and decided I just couldn’t refuse.

I seem to have been involved with chapel all my life, sitting with Mam firstly and then in the choir, with Dad [Cecil Riggs] playing the organ.  Occasionally Mam allowed me to take my panama hat off and put it on the window ledge, but in the 1930s not wearing a hat would have been frowned on. Everyone wore their Sunday best for Chapel, and trousers for women wouldn’t have been acceptable at all.

The heating for the Chapel was a coal boiler which Dad had to go every Sunday morning whatever the weather down the steps into the cellar to light the boiler.

Each year members and friends went round Christmas singing, always walking – Hestholme where the Vicars lived then the houses up to Aysgarth, cups of tea and biscuits at a few of them. Then the next night finish Aysgarth and Thornton Rust where Hannah at Low Gill had a lovely spread for us.

For me Christmas singing was the highlight of Christmas. It stopped a lot of years ago, maybe because everyone got older, and maybe because we’d not got Dad with his tuning fork.

Some verses from the poem Jean wrote several years ago about her memories of Aysgarth Chapel:

I learnt pretty early that Sundays were Chapel,

No playing games for me,

It was Sunday School, Chapel then Chapel again

And in the middle up to my Aunty’s for tea.

 

The Aldersons, Sayers, Thompsons, Pedleys

All were sat in the centre

With Grandma Riggs on the very front seat

To hear the preacher the better

 

Ben, Jim & Alice took Sunday School each week,

For the boys and girls of Aysgarth who were not always meek.

The boys carved names on Chapel pews and led old Jim a dance.

But faithful soul that old Jim was, he didn’t stand a chance.

 

The Sunday School trip was a must each year

To Redcar, the sands and the sea,

Paddling and building sand castles,

Then into a cafe for tea.

 

The old ones now have passed away

But still our Chapel remained

With a host of happy memories

Of many happy days.

 

and she has now added this final verse –

But now our Chapel’s closing,

And we all feel very sad

But we’ll trust God for the future

And thank Him for all the years that we’ve  had.

Association of Rural Communities

The Association of Rural Communities stands for local democracy in the Yorkshire Dales National Park and consistency in planning decisions.

It was founded in 1995 during a period of intense anger against what was then the Yorkshire Dales National Park committee and its chairman at that time, Cllr Robert Heseltine.

People wanted to see more consistency and fairness in planning decisions, and more democracy and accountability. One of the Association’s prime objectives was to work for the economic and social well-being of those living and working in this national park. This was added to the purposes of national parks by 1997 – but is so very important today when the rule of the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority (YDNPA) quango has been extended to include more districts in Cumbria and Lancashire.

The Association campaigned for secret ballots and limited terms of office for the chairmen and vice-chairmen of the YDNPA – and that was finally introduced in November 1999. Before that they were elected by a show of hands, and Cllr Heseltine had been chairman for 11 years.

Members of the Association’s committee have monitored the YDNPA planning committee meetings since the late 1990s. Back then the Association called for applicants and objectors to have the right to address the planning committee – something which is now accepted practice.

The Association has questioned the YDNPA about other inconsistencies over the years, and in 2001 even pointed out that the members of the Authority’s planning committee should be provided each month with the minutes of past meetings so that they could make informed decisions.

The Association’s chairman at that time, the late Jim Cunnington, also asked the planning committee to defer decisions until newly elected district and county councillors could be there to represent their constituents. This became accepted practice – but has now been discarded by planning committee.

It was the Association’s late president, Tom Knowles, who spotted in 2007 that an officer, under delegated powers, had made a decision which seriously undermined the YDNPA’s ability to fulfil one of its statutory purposes – to promote opportunities for the understanding and enjoyment of the special qualities of national parks by the public.

The Association alerted the planning committee to the precedent set by the officer in allowing the removal of pitches for tents at Westholme caravan site near Aysgarth on the basis that this was a “planning gain”.   The result is that a site which had catered so well for touring caravans and campers, including those participating in the Duke of Edinburgh award scheme, has become a luxury lodge park where it costs about £600 per week to stay during the summer season. (For how the Westholme site started see Margaret Knowles.)

The planning committee took steps to contain that damaging decision and in June 2014 accepted that camping was “a low impact form of visitor accommodation” which enabled poorer families to come and enjoy this beautiful countryside and that this significantly benefited the economies of local communities. The new Local Plan will  provide even greater protection for camping and touring caravan pitches in the National Park.

We need your support if we are to successfully lobby for more democracy within the  Yorkshire Dales National Park and to act as a watchdog on the activities of the Authority. We want the voice of the people living and working in this area to be heard – locally, regionally and nationally.

The membership is £7 per year, or £10 for parish councils. The Register of Members is held by the Administrative Officer and is kept completely confidential. You can send us comments via reports on this website. To do so click on one of the reports below.

The Secretary of State approved the extension of the boundaries of the YDNPA. But do read Cumbria County Coun Kevin Lancaster‘s personal view and that of Mike Warden who, until he retired,  worked as a planning officer with the YDNPA and then with Harrogate Borough Council which included Nidderdale AONB.

To cut back on costs many more decisions are being made by planning officers. So parish councils and residents need to be even more vigilant when planning applications are advertised locally. Applicants and residents can contact the district or county councillor who represents their area on the YDNPA planning committee and request that an application should be discussed by the committee if they are concerned about the possible decision that just one planning officer might make.

FDCM – Scott Macfie portrait presentation

portrait_presentation

A painting of R.A. Scott Macfie, whose collection of books is at the Dales Countryside Museum (DCM) in Hawes, has been presented to the museum.

Photographed at the presentation are: on the left Bob Ellis, on the right side of the photograph, Mora Main, and on the far right Eleanor Scarr.

Macfie collected many books and documents while he was living at Lunds in the 1920s and early 1930s and these now form part of the Macfie Calvert Collection.This is housed at the DCM in trust to the people of Wensleydale and cared for by the Trustees of the Macfie Calvert Collection.

The stormy weather and floods on Saturday March 16 did not stop 27 family members and the godson of Macfie gathering at the museum.

The special guest at the gathering was 92-year-old Arthur Ashton, Scott Macfie’s godson, who lived on High Hall farm at Lunds a mile away from Macfie’s home. Arthur remembers Macfie well even though he was only eight when he attended his godfather’s funeral and burial at Lunds chapel in 1935.

There were 12 great nephews and nieces of “Uncle Scott” at the gathering, plus great great nephews and nieces and one very young great great great niece.

The gathering came about due to a chance encounter between some family members, John and Diane Elphinstone, and Bob Ellis who is a Friend of the DCM. When the Elphinstones were searching for a home in Clapham in 2009 they attended one of Bob’s lectures about watermills. Afterwards they discovered the connection between John, who is a great nephew of Macfie and Bob’s custodial role with the Macfie Calvert Trust.

Simultaneously a great niece, Mora Main, was cleaning out stored family items from her brother’s Perthshire garage and uncovered the portrait of Uncle Scott by renowned artist Francis Dodd. Dodd had worked in Manchester and London and was later an official WWI British war artist. Mora then began searching for a safe new home where the portrait could be hung and be accessible for future researchers.

The portrait had belonged to her father, the late Ramsay Main. Ramsay and his twin sister, Barbara (John Elphinstone’s mother) had held their Uncle Scott in high regard. It was John’s sister Janet who successfully contacted so many Macfie descendants to attend the gathering.

group_photo

At the gathering Bob and fellow trustees of the Macfie Calvert Collection, Eleanor Scarr and Mary Scarr, officially received the painting on behalf of the museum.

“We are so pleased that the portrait is joining the Macfie Calvert Collection,” said Janet. And her brother, John, commented: “We are delighted to find the portrait a permanent home in Yorkshire, close to where Uncle Scott lived. He loved the countryside and the people in it.”

To that Mora added: “He was admired by his nephews and nieces and now researchers can continue to uncover his story under his watchful eye at the museum.”

The Macfie/Elphinstone family also made a donation of £305 to the Macfie Calvert Trust.  Bob said this will be used to restore the portrait . When it has been restored it will be displayed on a wall in the Research Room in the museum,” he added.

Macfie was the son of a sugar magnate from Liverpool. Bob recounted in his article for the 2014 edition of Now Then (the annual magazine of the FDCM ) that after serving on the Western Front with the Liverpool Scottish Regiment during WW1 Macfie moved to the Lunds in the 1920s with the hope that the clean bracing air would prove beneficial to his precarious health. He bought Shaws, an isolated house on the fellside behind Lunds Chapel, and lived there until his death in 1935.

“During his years at Shaws, he became very involved with the local community and developed a passionate interest in the culture and history of upper Wensleydale, Mallerstang and the surrounding dales. As a result he amassed a large collection of books of local interest,” wrote Bob.

For a while Macfie’s books and those of Kit Calvert were in the care of the Wensleydale School and later were moved to the DCM.

At present the Research Room at the museum is being damp proofed and re-decorated. When that work is complete the Macfie Calvert collection of books will be moved back into the glass-fronted cabinets and store room there.

Bob plans to exhibit the tea service presented by the Macfie/Elphinstone family in one of those cabinets. The tea service has the family crest on it and the legend “R.A. Scott Macfie, Shaws, Lunds”. The family also presented other artefacts, books and documents to the museum.

There are Friends of the DCM in the Research Room on Mondays and Wednesdays to assist anyone who is researching family or history connected to upper or mid Wensleydale.

Above: the family gathering. Arthur Ashton is wearing a flat cap.

Below:  The portrait of Scott Macfie.

YDNPA – planning committee March 2019

An ARC News Service report on the meeting of the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority’s (YDNPA) planning committee meeting on March 12 2019 when decisions were made concerning buildings in and near the following towns and villages: Askrigg, Fremington, Hawes, Barbon, Garsdale, Barbon, Killington, Austwick, Embsay, and Stainforth (hot tub) . It was agreed to hold a site meeting at Waitby in Smardale concerning proposed changes at the residential institution there.

The application for alterations at The Angel Inn at Hetton was approved, but the majority of members voted against giving approval for changes at the nearby Wine Bar which is also owned by Wellock Property Ltd. As that decision was against officer recommendation it was referred back to the April meeting. There will be full reports concerning both of those applications posted on this website following the planning committee meeting on April 9.

The decision concerning the conversion of Hawes Methodist Chapel was also referred back to the April meeting for the same reason, as was that for the rebuilding of a barn as a dwelling at Aikrigg near Killington in Cumbria.

Before the application regarding Hawes Methodist Chapel was discussed North Yorkshire County councillor John Blackie explained why he would speak and vote on that even though the agent for the applicants had made a complaint against him and stated that he should not be involved in the decision making. See the report below.

Pip Pointon reports on the YDNPA meetings on a voluntary basis as part of the Association of Rural Communities commitment to local democracy in the Yorkshire Dales National Park.

Askrigg

A large field barn at Long Shaw near Bainbridge may be beautiful and large enough for a family home but converting it would be against policy the planning committee decided by an eight to seven vote.

Edward Scarr told the meeting that it would make a suitable family home given its location on the family farm. “It would be ideal for my work. We have four young children under the age of six and want to convert the barn into a family home.”

He said that he and his wife, Gwen, had always lived and worked in Wensleydale and converting the barn would enable them to raise their family on the farm. Mrs Scarr attended the meeting with their daughter Faye who was born in late February.

They heard several committee members speak in support of the planning officer who had stated that the YDNPA’s policy required that to be suitable for conversion a barn had to be in an existing settlement or building group, or be close to or adjoining a road.

He reported that the barn at Long Shaw was 110 metres from a road and would require a long track to be created and a significant length of walling to be moved to provide access to a road.

He added: “Although the proposed works to the barn are relatively well designed, it is in a very prominent and exposed position in the landscape. Its conversion to a permanently occupied dwelling would have a negative effect on the landscape that arises from the replacement of a simple, unadorned traditional farm building with a dwelling that has car parking, lighting, curtilage development, new access road and significant alterations to the existing roadside walls and the character of the road itself.”

Julie Martin agreed that this would be an intensive use of the barn which would have an impact upon the landscape. “It has been demonstrated there is a need but not at that location. The applicant has been asked to explore an alternative option,” she said.

Mr and Mrs Scarr had been told that, as it was accepted there wasn’t sufficient housing at the farm for the required number of agricultural workers, it was possible that an application for a new build dwelling at Yorescott Steading , where the ewes were lambed, would be acceptable. To this North Yorkshire County councillor John Blackie remarked that a new build might have more impact upon the landscape than a sympathetically converted barn.

Another North Yorkshire County councillor, Richard Welch, pointed out that many farmhouses were far from a road. “In ten years time you wouldn’t know it was a barn conversion,” he said.

Eden District councillor William Patterson agreed and asked if the YDNPA was going to pay for the upkeep of such buildings in the future – or would the owners be expected to keep them up as a national asset? He and others were concerned that if it was no longer needed for agricultural purposes and was not converted into the dwelling it would fall into disrepair and disappear.

“Is it true that we would rather see a non-designated heritage asset [disappear] when there is a family who wish to make use of it?” asked Lancashire County councillor Cosima Towneley. “I can not think of a better way of using an agricultural heritage that will otherwise go to waste,” she added.

Fremington

The committee unanimously approved the application by Mr and Mrs Peter Catchpole to convert Little Barn at High Fremington in Swaledale into a one-bedroom local occupancy dwelling.

Mrs Catchpole explained that they were living in rented accommodation and wanted a Dales home of their own.

Several residents had, however, objected and they were represented by Chris Whittaker. He disagreed with the planning officer that there was sufficient visibility splay from the proposed access as it was near to a blind bend and crossroads. Nor was it always a quiet road for, he said, during a cycling event 4,000 riders had raced up it.

He did not accept that the proposed extension was not significant as it would increase the size of the barn by 42 per cent and added that the amenity of those living in the house close to the barn would be affected.

The planning officer reported that the neighbouring house was 3.9m away on the other side of the narrow road. The plans had been amended so that the windows overlooking that house were smaller and glazed, he said.

He stated: “It is recognised that the proposal would introduce a degree of domestication into a site that currently exhibits a largely agricultural and undeveloped character. However, the proposal is relatively small in scale and, further to amendments to the scheme, is not considered to adversely affect the immediate setting of the barn. It should be noted that the wider landscape impact of the proposal is negligible given the lack of public views from longer distances.”

He also believed that the package treatment plant would not affect the two properties to the south of the barn.

The conditions include creating a photographic record of the barn before conversion and a written scheme of investigation regarding excavation and archaeology as the external work would be close to Fremington Dyke. This was one of the linear dykes in Swaledale which formed part of the boundary of an early, post-Roman, British political area or kingdom (Out of Oblivion).

Hawes

There was applause when the majority of the committee voted to refuse an application to convert the Methodist Chapel and Sunday School into five holiday lets. This, however, was contrary to the planning officer’s recommendation and so has been referred back to the meeting in April.

The planning officer stated: “The willingness of the parish council to set aside the problematic elements of this proposal illustrates the dilemma at the heart of this application. The buildings are part of the town’s heritage and as such are worthy of retention and a viable economic use that would ensure their future. However, it is difficult to envisage a new use that will not have the same parking and access problems as this proposal.”

Hawes and High Abbotside Parish councillor Sheila Alderson told the meeting: “There is absolutely no parking outside the chapel.” Both she and Jack Sutton, who lives near the chapel, said that the small area of parking at Town Foot, opposite the doctors’ surgery, was used by residents who had nowhere else to park their vehicles. When that space became full vehicles were parked on the pavement.

“You take your life in your hands when you try to access Hawes,” commented Mr Sutton.

The meeting was informed that the developers, Matthew and Sally  Faulkes with Ian Morton and Heritage Apartments Ltd,  had proposed that five annual parking permits at the Dales Countryside Museum (DCM) car park could be purchased for those staying at the holiday lets.

The agent, Rachel Ford, explained that the conversion of the building would cost over £500,000 so local occupancy was not viable. The application was, she said, compliant with the Authority’s policy and the provision of more  holiday lets would bring more visitors to Hawes and so be good for  local businesses. She maintained that the holiday lets would not have an impact upon residents and  that there would be a reduction in traffic compared with when the building was used as a church.

Cllr John Blackie disagreed stating that it had mainly been used on Sundays and many people had walked to it. Both he and Mr Sutton questioned that those using the holiday lets would want to walk 300m with luggage from the DCM car park especially when it was raining.

Cllr Alderson said the parish council was very concerned about Chapel Lane, which it described as an important access road for local residents, being blocked when people were unloading or loading luggage at the proposed  holiday lets. The parish council could not understand why the Highway Authority had not objected to the application.

The planning officer explained that according to the National Planning Policy Framework a development should only be prevented or refused on highways grounds if there would be an unacceptable impact on highway safety, or the residual cumulative impacts on the road network would be severe. He added: “The Highway Authority has no objections but requires a Construction Management Plan to be provided to include parking for operatives, the loading, unloading and storage of plant and materials.”

He said that the developers had shown that the building was no longer needed by the community and could be sensitively converted.

North Yorkshire County councillor Richard Welch commented: “I couldn’t think of a more insensitive conversion for the local residents and  how it will affect their  lives. We are creating a nightmare for local residents.”

Another North Yorkshire County councillor, Robert Heseltine, compared the development with trying to pour a pint into a quart pot.  And Allen Kirkbride added: “A large use [of this building] with lots of holiday cottages is going to make life in Hawes quite unbearable at times.”

The parish council had pointed out that the government through its Homes England Agency was now actively promoting community-led developments  of affordable housing with very substantial grants. This made an affordable housing scheme  for the Methodist chapel far more viable. “We would be prepared to accept some of the drawbacks if we saw clear benefits for the community,” Cllr Alderson said.

Cllr Blackie told the meeting: “The parish council has no doubt that no change is not an option but it questioned what is proposed is the best use. The word that comes to mind is over-development. Simply – there is no room for what is proposed. Something on a lesser scale would have been more acceptable.

“But they want to squeeze every square inch out of the former Methodist chapel. The trouble is with doing that – they will spill over their requirements to compromise the amenity of local residents who live in that very densely constrained area just near Town Foot. There are 14 houses – some are holiday lets and some are used by local residents. They have a right to enjoy their amenity.  Something less ambitious, something less profit-making would actually be more acceptable.”

Before the application was discussed by the committee Cllr Blackie said there had been a complaint from the applicants concerning whether or not he should be involved in speaking or voting. “There is a clear threat that if I do, the applicants may well wish to take legal action against the Authority. I want to say that I have never ever in 21 years of sitting on this planning committee – or at Richmondshire District Council –  had a complaint made in this way.

“I have never been accused of bias in the way that the applicant has accused me of bias. The bias comes from the fact that I had and I still run holiday cottages.”

He said he had taken legal advice many times and been told that he could take part in deciding holiday cottage applications so long as he had no financial interest. He explained that he had made it clear that he had expressed a preliminary view on the application in writing and verbally previous to the meeting, but had come to the meeting with an open mind as he was legally obliged to do.

“This seems to be an attempt to fix the jury but I have done absolutely nothing wrong. Threatening both me and the National Park is undermining the planning process.”

When she addressed the committee Ms Ford stated concerning that complaint that it had never been their intention not to have Cllr Blackie involved or to speak but to make the Authority aware  of some issues.

Ms Ford, who is the head of planning for the Leeds-based agents Bowcliffe, had written to the Authority previous to the meeting  that Cllr Blackie was biased against the application because he ran a holiday cottage company in the Dales. She had also complained about his behaviour at a site visit where, she said, he broke the code of conduct by using that as an opportunity to lobby against the plans.

She stated: “If Councillor Blackie proceeds to vote on the application …., to vote against the proposal and if his vote turns out to be decisive, then my clients will have no option but to explore potential legal claims against the council. I strongly suggest that Councillor Blackie plays no further role in the decision making process for my client’s application.”

Barbon

“This is  our first conflict with the Yorkshire Dales National Park,” Cllr Robert Groves, the chairman of Barbon Parish  Council told the meeting. Barbon in Cumbria became part of the National Park in August 2016.

The parish council had objected to an outline application for a single storey dwelling on some land in Moorthwaite Lane, Barbon.

Cllr Groves explained that the site had serious drainage problems and  added  that previously the refusal of planning permission for any residential development there had been upheld at appeal because any building would fill in one of the open spaces in the village which were an important part of the character and appearance of Barbon.

The planning officer explained that as Barbon was in one of the new areas of the National Park  the application had to be considered in accordance with the South Lakeland District Council’s Core Strategy. He said this had changed since the last application regarding that site and the new policy allowed for “infilling” development between residential properties.

He told the meeting that the applicant’s plans included flood alleviation measures,  and that the low profile of a bungalow would not be harmful to the distinctive characteristics of Barbon.

Lancashire County councillor Cosima Towneley said she hoped the Authority would be quite strict about the design when that was submitted for approval.

She abstained from voting but all the rest of the members voted to approve the application.

Killington

When an 18th century barn at Aikrigg partially collapsed during a severe storm the owners were heartbroken, Ian Dawson, the chairman of Killington Parish Meeting told the planning committee.

He explained that the owners had been given permission to convert the barn into a home for themselves and a base for their business. “We would welcome this new couple,” he said.

They had applied for permission to reconstruct the partially collapsed barn to form a dwelling but the planning officer pointed out that this would now amount to a new open market home which did not comply with the South Lakeland Core Strategy.

South Lakeside District Council had given permission in 2014 for the two other barns on either side of that which collapsed to be converted into open market dwellings. They are in a remote location near Killington.

Ian McPherson argued that the impact of the barn on that group of buildings, the beneficial impact on the visual quality of the surrounding landscape, the reason why it collapsed and that South Lakeland District Council has approved similar applications were valid material considerations for approving the application even if it was not in accordance with policy.

Cllr Towneley agreed and added that there would be considerable loss in the archaeological heritage of the hamlet if the barn was not reconstructed.

Twelve out of 15 of the members voted to approve the application. As this was against the officer’s recommendation it was referred back to the April meeting.

Embsay

Permission was granted for four bedroom dormer bungalow for  local occupancy to be built in Millholme Rise, Embsay.

Cllr Vince Smith attended the meeting on behalf of Embsay with Eastby Parish Council which had objected to the application. He explained that the parish council believed the height of the proposed building would set a precedent for higher builds in that area.

The parish council also wanted an area of hard standing to be created on the site before construction began so that vehicles were not parked on the road especially as it was close to a junction and a bend. But the planning officer said it was not possible to do that as any hard standing would hamper the developer’s ability to construct the building.

She told the meeting that the applicant, who lives next door to the site, had asked for a  higher ridge height so as to have space for two bedrooms in the roof space. She said the overall ridge height would be the same as for the original approved scheme with a negligible difference in the height of the eaves.

Stainforth

Residents asked the committee to refuse an application for a hot tub in the garden of a holiday cottage beside Stainforth’s 18th century Grade II listed bridge because the noise made by those using it detracted from the enjoyment of the natural environment and tranquillity of the area.

Cllr Richard Welch supported them and stated: “This should be refused as it is beside a historic bridge and a footpath and so did affect the quality of life and the tranquillity of the village.”

But the majority of the other members accepted the planning officer’s argument that there would not be a detrimental impact on the visual amenity of the area, nor would the heritage significance of the bridge be affected. One of the conditions, however, is that it should only be in use between 9am and 9.30pm.

The application by the owner of Bridge End holiday cottage for the replacement of two existing sheds and the siting of an electric hot tub was, therefore, approved.

Frank Underwood, on behalf of Stainforth Parish Meeting, explained that the electric hot tub would replace one which was heated by a  wood burner.  On occasions those using that hot tub had created a lot of noise he said. He added that the National Park was also responsible for the social and well being of residents.

“How a hot tub is fostering the social and well being of the local community escapes me,” he commented.

A resident, Viv Mills, told the committee that 19 residents – almost one fifth of the community – had sent in letters of objection and added: “It is clear from the number of objections that it doesn’t fit in with the historic nature of the area.”

She said that Bridge End was unique in the village because it was the only holiday cottage causing problems and the daily time limit on the hot tub would not solve these as it could be in use all day.

The owner, Lianne Butler, said a higher fence would be installed to screen the garden. The hot tub was, she added, near the pub’s beer garden, brought in business for the pub, and attracted families to stay at Bridge End.

Garsdale

Permission for an outbuilding beside Rose Cottage in Garsdale to be converted into one-bedroom short term holiday accommodation was granted very quickly as the application was not considered by the committee until after 6pm. (The meeting began at 1pm.) The planning officer quickly explained that it was a 19th century former garage alongside Rose Cottage within a roadside group of stone build cottages on the A684.

He said that the proposal represented a reasonably sensitive conversion and would not have a detrimental impact upon the landscape, residential amenity or highway safety.

Austwick

Permission was granted almost as quickly for the conversion of a detached stone building at Fleet House in Wharfe, near Austwick, into a one-bedroom dwelling either for holiday let or local occupancy.

Austwick Parish Council supported the conversion because it would reinstate some traditional features and secure the future of the redundant small barn by creating a viable use.

It did, however, ask that there should be conditions regarding external lighting and for the removal of all permitted development rights. These were included by the planning officer.

Cllr Towneley asked about parking especially as the parish council had requested that there should be clear, workable, enforceable and permanent provision for at least one car parking space. Richard Graham, the head of development management, said that the Authority could not regulate that.

The planning officer had told the meeting that the barn was adjacent to a non-metalled road within the hamlet of Wharfe and the design of the proposed conversion was considered to be high quality.

West Burton school – Stop the Bussing!

Aysgarth and District Parish Council has again agreed that the bussing of the youngest children from West Burton CofE School to Bainbridge by the Bainbridge, Askrigg and West Burton Federation of Schools (BAWB) for lessons must stop.

At its meeting on Thursday February 21 the council welcomed the invitation from BAWB to the West Burton Representative Group to engage with it in a small working party on Tuesday March 19.

Cllr David Pointon, an educational consultant who is a member of the Representative Group, reminded the council that the first request for defederation from BAWB by parents of pupils at West Burton school was made in January 2018.

He added that BAWB had refused defederation and was continuing with bussing the youngest children which was one of the main things that parents were objecting to. “The community is still not satisfied,” he said.

Richmondshire District councillor Yvonne Peacock described as dreadful had been the lack of communication by the BAWB governors. “We’ve had emails but we haven’t had a conversation. To me the governors should have dealings with people, with the parents.”

Another Richmondshire District councillor, Caroline Thornton-Berry agreed that the governors didn’t seem to know that the West Burton parents were so unhappy.   She told the council that she had invited one of the BAWB governors to have coffee with her – only for that governor to say that the chair of governors had said she shouldn’t accept.

One of the parish councillors spoke of a teaching head at a church school of 120 pupils who was at the top of the pay scale who earned about £20,000 less per year than the non-teaching head of BAWB which has 80 pupils. BAWB also has a part time business manager.

“The financial situation at BAWB is unsustainable,” commented Cllr Thornton-Berry. She also pointed out that, unlike councillors, the governing body of a school was unanswerable to anyone and was free to make all decisions  apart from that to close a school.

Cllr Pointon emphasised that the most important issue was the needs of the children  – and the councillors agreed that bussing the youngest children was contrary to that.

See: Cllr Pointon’s statement about educating primary school children.

Yore Mill Planning Application

Aysgarth and District Parish Council will support an application for the refurbishment of Yore Mill at Aysgarth Falls even though at its meeting on Thursday February 21 councillors were concerned about parking and that the mill race leaks.

The application, by David Peacock of Richmond, is for the conversion of the mill into two apartments, four holiday let apartments and one apartment in conjunction with a bar and restaurant, bunk house, community room and retail outlet; bicycle store and wash down area, and the re-instatement of the hydro-electric turbine. It was reported at the meeting that the proposal includes three parking spaces [on the east side of the building] but with none for those staying in the holiday lets or  visiting the restaurant and bar. Parking for them will be at the YDNPA car park across the River Ure.

An Aysgarth councillor reported that the Himalayan Balsam growing in the mill race would have to be cleaned out. He added that the mill race leaked and the turbine in the mill had been turned off so that the cottages on the west side adjacent to the river could dry out prior to being sold. “If the turbine is brought back into use they will flood again,” he said.

The councillors agreed, however, to support the application as it would improve and make safe a building they had reported as being in a dangerous condition. This, they said, would be a planning gain.

Above: Yore Mill as it is at present

YDNPA – planning committee February 2019

An ARC News Service report on the meeting of the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority’s ( YDNPA ) planning committee on February 12 2019 when decisions were made concerning buildings in or near the following villages or dales: Arkengarthdale and Langthwaite, Barden, Storiths and Thorpe, Gayle, Askrigg, Carlton in Coverdale, and Hawes. The ARC News Service is the local democracy reporting service of the Association of Rural Communities.

This was an  unusual planning meeting for several reasons: the number of applications to be decided (see Conversion of barns and traditional buildings); the large number of people in the “public gallery” – about 35; and that the YDNPA chief executive officer, David Butterworth, was there throughout the meeting. In addition, Ruth Annison said the Authority might be reported to the Secretary of State – see Halfway House, Hawes.

The split in the committee so evident at the December meeting was less apparent this time – but was clearly visible in the voting concerning the proposed new agricultural building at Throstle Nest Farm, Thornton Rust. There again the decision depended upon the chairman of the planning committee, Richmondshire District councillor Caroline Thornton-Berry, voting with seven others in line with the officer’s recommendation to refuse the application. Most of the elected representatives voted to approve it. But this time, at least, there was a more open debate compared to the meeting in December.

Two decisions were deferred so that site meetings could be held. The applications were for the redevelopment of the Angel Inn at Hetton and the conversion of the former Methodist church in Hawes to three apartments and two cottages for holiday let accommodation. In both cases the parish councils have strongly objected because of the likelihood of increased street car parking.

Conversion of barns and traditional buildings

After tensions ran high in December about barn conversions the planning committee found that even the most straight forward of applications were on the agenda at the February meeting.

When asked about this by Richmondshire District councillor Yvonne Peacock the Authority’s head of development management, Richard Graham, replied: “I am concerned that officers’ interpretation of policy is somewhat determined by members’ interpretation of policy. So, in the interests of consistency in decision making… it is for the best interests of the Authority that these are brought to the committee.”

All five of the applications for converting traditional roadside buildings were quickly approved: three  from Wharfedale and two from Arkengarthdale –  for the Old Butcher’s Shop at Langthwaite, and Neddy’s Barn, East of Eastfield on the  Arkengarthdale Road.

Dan Gracey, the agent for the owner of the Old Butcher’s Shop, described it as an interesting little building in the centre of Langthwaite. The back of the building facing the beck is lower than the front and that will contain two bedrooms and a bathroom. The kitchen and living room will be in the upper floor which is level with the road at the front.  Mr Gracey said the owner had worked closely with the planning officers to achieve an acceptable design.

The planning officer told the committee that the conversion would maintain the character and appearance of the building and would not harm its setting within the village.

North Yorkshire County councillor John Blackie welcomed both this application and that for Neddy’s Barn as Arkengarthdale so needed local occupancy housing.

Richard Coates read a statement by his son, Thomas, about why he wanted to convert Neddy’s Barn into a two-bedroom dwelling. Thomas recalled that when he attended Arkengarthdale School there were 34 pupils and now, he said, there were only three. He explained he had gone on to qualify as a joiner and had the skills to work on the conversion himself, making it affordable to him.

He said: “I would like the chance to preserve this building for the future while also providing a home for myself. This is my one chance to remain in the Dale.” He added that he would maintain the agricultural character of the barn and there would be minimal impact upon the landscape because no external alterations or extensions were needed.

Cllr Blackie commented: “Wasn’t it wonderful to hear somebody of the age of 21 prepared to stay in the Upper Dales for the rest of their life.”

Wharfedale:

Barden – The application to convert the former Wesleyan chapel at Barden to a local occupancy dwelling or holiday let and the provision of pedestrian access to the existing car parking area was very quickly approved. The planning officer  reported that there would be four bedrooms and four bathrooms with the garden, including a  hot tub, in the existing enclosed area outside.

Storiths – the Chatsworth Settlement Trustees had applied to convert Harry’s Barn at Storiths into a single bedroom dwelling for local occupancy or holiday let. This again had a small enclosed area outside sufficient to accommodate a hot tub. The planning officer pointed out that the piggery attached to the barn looked to be in poor structural condition but was still an undesignated heritage asset as was the rest of the barn.

Cllr Blackie asked how such buildings were defined as undesignated heritage assets. Mr Graham said this term had come into use about six years ago. “Many of these buildings are over 100 years old. With the materials and traditional construction methods they often have a history. They may look somewhat dilapidated but you can describe them as a heritage asset because of their contribution to the landscape.

Eden District councillor William Patterson then jokingly asked if all the heritage assets had asbestos roofs.

Thorpe – The application to convert Pogles Wood Barn into a two bedroom dwelling was the only one that was just for short term holiday lets. The planning officer recommended approval because, she said, there would be minimal alterations to this barn in Bolland Lane outside Thorpe and so its simple character and appearance would be retained.

Gayle

It was agreed that a large roadside barn “in the wilderness” along Beggarmans Lane near Gayle can be converted and extended to create a “horse assisted learning” business.

The planning officer told the committee: “The applicant’s therapy is geared towards people who have experienced post traumatic stress disorder as well as people with stress and other mental health issues. As well as horse-assisted learning the applicant [Caroline Penman] would use the building as a base for Paleo eating, Craniosacral therapy and mindfulness. The location has been chosen by the applicant for its tranquility and wild nature which is considered to aid the therapy.”

The two-storey Dodds Hall Barn is around two miles south of Gayle and has a stone walled enclosure which will be used for car parking. The planning officer reported:

“What is proposed in this location is a very high intensity employment use requiring the erection of a large first floor extension to the building and the erection of stables, [two] shepherds huts  and an outdoor interaction area in the surrounding land. The whole field would also be used for equestrian purposes.”

He added that the addition of a large extension, the fact that the barn was not adjacent to or within an existing settlement and that the business was not land-based, meant that the application was not in accordance with policy and so any approval would require a departure from the Local Plan.

Although it was reported that Ms Penman had run a similar, successful business in Cyprus the planning officer warned that there was a degree of risk should this venture fail once Dodds Hall Barn had been converted.

The senior listed building officer had reported: “The external stairs and floating FF extension with balcony and covered GF terrace underneath has a harmful impact on the heritage significance of the barn’s and Dales vernacular architecture in general, and would be visible from the road.”

The committee, however, accepted the planning officer’s  argument that the proposal had been relatively well-designed to work with the site itself to minimise its landscape impact and impact on the building. He said: “Whilst the extension to the building is significant, it is relatively lightweight and would only provide internal living space to one floor with the ground floor forming a sheltered area [for  horses].”

He added: “This is a relatively unique site and a unique proposal that would result in economic and social benefits in the locality and has support from the parish council.”

Hawes and High Abbotside Parish Council had told the committee: “It offers a completely new dimension to the all-important tourist sector in the Upper Dales – horse assisted learning. The site and the surrounding landscape entirely fits the description of a wilderness, although the town of Hawes is just seven minutes’ drive away.”

The planning committee approved the application for the conversion and extension of the barn to provide visitor accommodation and manager’s dwelling, a change of use of land for equestrian purposes, provision of  all weather riding surface, car parking and erection of stable building.

Askrigg

Three representatives of the Askrigg Foundation charity  had to wait several hours before the planning committee considered – and unanimously approved –  an application to create three affordable dwellings for rent in perpetuity at the foundation’s buildings in Askrigg.

“It’s great isn’t it? So pleased with the decision and all the support we had. Now the hard work starts in earnest,” commented Betsy Everett.

This approval means that the charity can not only renovate the retail unit and relocate the office to the ground floor, but also convert the upper two storeys into residential flats and the rear building into a cottage. This is the third community-led housing scheme in the Yorkshire Dales National Park, the others being the three-home scheme completed in Hudswell last year, and a four-home scheme at Arkengarthdale for which planning permission has been granted.

Carlton in Coverdale

Cllr Peacock told committee members that they should go and see the high standard of workmanship Andrew Dent had carried out when converting the former Church of England School and Good Shepherd Church in Carlton in Coverdale before making a decision about some of the uPVC windows he had installed.

But the majority of the members refused his retrospective planning application as they agreed with the planning officer that by replacing the late 19th century windows at the front and the side of the building with uPVC ones he had harmed the character of what was described as an un-listed heritage asset.

Planning permission was given in 2011 to create an extension and two local needs dwellings side by side facing the highway. Mr Dent explained that he bought the building in 2013 and decided to have one dwelling in the front and one at the back so that he did not need to break through external and internal walls to create doors. He also installed uPVC windows rather than wooden ones which, he told the planning officer, would have cost about £50,000.

“The south facing windows did not have any frames. The glass was just set into the stone. It would be impossible to create the original look. New windows were, therefore, essential,” he said. He added that only by installing the uPVC windows could he meet the fire escape regulations. He described the uPVC frames as being a neutral, earthy colour rather than yellow.

Cllr Blackie told the meeting that the windows were installed four years ago but only came to the notice of the Authority when Mr Dent wanted to bring the planning permission in line with the latest policy which allows converted buildings to be used for short term holiday lets as well as local occupancy even though he plans that the dwellings will later be for two of his three sons.

Mr Dent not only offered to sign a legal agreement but also asked for the same planning  condition as had been approved some years ago on the uPVC windows installed in a Grade II listed building in Carlton. This required any future reglazing to be agreed with the Authority.

The planning officer reported that the internal conversion of the building carried out by Mr Dent was considered acceptable in principle and there was no longer any need for an extension. It had been agreed he could retain the uPVC windows at the back.  She maintained, however, that the windows to the front and side of the building could have been upgraded far more appropriately and showed members pictures of alternative solutions.

Mr Dent said about his work on the church and his former school: “It was so important to me to get the details correct and in keeping.”

Thornton Rust

A Wensleydale farmer was refused permission to construct a new agricultural building even though the committee was told by a parish council chairman that there was no chance of finding a site nearby that didn’t flood.

The planning officer stated that as the farmer,Nigel Thornborrow, did not want to reduce the size of the proposed building at Throstle Nest Farm on the A684 near Worton, he should locate it further away from the road.

Cllr John Dinsdale, chairman of Aysgarth and District Parish Council, Mr Thornborrow,  Cllr Peacock, and Cllr  Blackie, all tried to explain to the committee that the farmhouse and buildings were on a hill surrounded by fields that flood regularly, as does the road. Mr Thornborrow had applied to demolish two old farm buildings and replace them with one large one. This, Mr Thornborrow said, would house his farm machinery and also his livestock when a barn nearby flooded.

When shown a diagram of  how much larger the building would be compared with those to be demolished many members agreed that it would be too close to the road and have a harmful impact upon the landscape.

North Yorkshire County councillor Richard Welsh commented: “I think it would stick out like a sore thumb”.

The parish council,  however, had told the committee: “The current agricultural buildings [are] in an unattractive derelict and potentially dangerous state and need replacing urgently. The proposed replacement building is in line with the existing building and should cause no concern.

“The Council consider the proposed development to be a planning gain as it will improve the landscape visually and will assist with the development of a local family business.”

Halfway House, Hawes

The committee was told that four cars being parked on the former track bed at Halfway House near Hawes might prejudice the re-opening of the railway between that market town and Garsdale.

Ruth Annison, who convened the meeting at Hawes last summer to discuss the re-opening of that six miles of railway, told the committee: “Halfway House is one of the very few critical sites for railway reinstatement. The possibility of access and parking for four cars encroaching on the track way is a serious matter so that I have already given formal notice that, if necessary, we will report this application to the Secretary of State.”

A professional engineer, Tony Smare, said that it looked as if establishing a new train service on the former branch of the Settle-Carlisle railway was achievable, and asked if alternative parking at Halfway House could be investigated before the application was approved. Richmondshire District councillor Yvonne Peacock agreed with him.

The application was for full permission to convert the barn attached to Halfway House into a separate local occupancy dwelling.  The planning officer said that as the Authority’s policy was to support the reinstatement of the railway line the application had been advertised as a Departure to the Local Plan for a period expiring on February 22.

He reported that the conversion of the barn would have a neutral impact upon the landscape and that a dry stone wall would be built to divide the present garden between the two dwellings.

He told the committee that although the existing car parking area on the former track bed would be increased to accommodate two more cars the track bed would remain unaltered and would be reversible should the railway be reinstated.

The head of development management, Richard Graham, reported that the owners of Halfway House also own the track bed there, using some as curtilage and some for parking. Neither he nor the Authority’s chief executive officer, David Butterworth, felt the issue was big enough to be considered by the Secretary of State.

Mr Butterworth commented: “In the 21 years that this Authority has been in existence I don’t think there has been a single application that a Secretary of State would even consider calling in. I don’t think this one will be either. So it’s up to members to make a decision.”

Cllr Blackie asked, however, that the representations made at the meeting should be carefully considered and if there any issues that couldn’t be resolved the application should be brought back to the committee.

The majority of the committee, however, accepted Mr Butterworth’s advice and voted in favour of the officer’s recommendation. This means that it is very likely that the application will be approved by officers on February 22.

Hawes

An enforcement notice will be served on the owner of Bainbridge Ings Caravan Site at Hawes for the removal of camping pods which were described by Cllr Blackie as grey-painted abominations and by a planning officer as “wholly alien features within the landscape”.

The planning officer read the following letter from Hawes and High Abbotside Parish Council:

“Councillors were appalled at the ‘Pembroke’ pods that have been installed which look completely out of keeping on the site at Bainbridge Ings. The bright orange fencing around the stone chipping base adds to their unacceptable appearance.

“It was pointed out they have been installed close to Old Gayle Lane, along which many local people and visitors enjoy a circular walk on mainly flat ground, often with young children in push chairs, starting and finishing at either Hawes Town Centre or Gayle. At this time there are few leaves on the trees by the edge of the site so they are in full view.”

The parish council had objected to the loss of almost all the camping pitches on the site and pointed out that many regular visitors had said they could no longer afford to stay there. (A glamping pod on the site is advertised at £249 per week.)

At the planning meeting Cllr Blackie said that in the past the site had been covered with tents during the summer and that campers were the best supporters of the local economy.

He described how the parish council had been heavily involved in seeking modifications to a previous application by David Khan of The Lodge Company North.

The planning officer reported that the four Lune Valley pods included in that application had been considered acceptable due to  their dark stained timber, curved shape and being arranged in an informal circle.

She said that the four Pembroke pods,  however, were larger and have an unusual shape –  “akin to a portacabin with a triangular insert bisecting the body and protruding above the flat roof. The structure is clad in a dark battleship grey material with orange wood panels. Each pod has a horizontally boarded timber enclosure around it and the pods are laid out in a line.

“The structures have an uncompromising and unsightly appearance, lacking any aesthetic or architectural merit,” she added.

Mr Khan told the committee that the Pembroke pods were lower in height than those originally planned and so would be easier to screen. He said that a comprehensive planting scheme had been agreed with the Authority.  He had been assured by the supplier that the orange fences would weather to a cedar colour. He explained that he had invested heavily in the site and needed a variety of accommodation to attract people.

The committee, however, unanimously agreed with the planning officer that the Pembroke pods did harm the natural beauty and visual quality of the National Park landscape as they were highly visible and incongruous, and represented poor design. Mr Khan was given three months to comply with the enforcement notice to remove them along with the fences and the hard standings, and to reseed the affected area with grass.

 

Pip Pointon reports on the YDNPA meetings on a voluntary basis as part of the Association of Rural Communities objective to encourage democracy in the Yorkshire Dales National Park.

West Burton CofE School – no solution

The parents of children at West Burton CofE School and many in the community served by that school have lost confidence in the BAWB Board of Governors, Stuart Carlton, North Yorkshire County Council’s Corporate Director of Children and Young People’s Service, has stated.

He wrote to Derek Walpole, chair of the BAWB Board of Governors, in November 2018, to explain why the county council as the local education authority (LA) had reversed its decision and decided to support the request to defederate West Burton school.

He recognised that the BAWB governors had hoped that during the autumn term of 2018 the new transporting arrangements (bussing) would be successfully implemented and that the parents of children at West Burton school would, therefore, no longer have any objections.

But he added: “The transportation of pupils away from West Burton will never be accepted by the West Burton parents and community. There is obvious parental and community discord which means the three BAWB federation would lose West Burton support and this has negative implications for the education of all children.

“I believe, based on what I have seen and heard that the relationship between the parties is broken beyond repair as the West Burton parents and community have (despite your best efforts and unfairly in my view) lost confidence in the BAWB governance as evidenced by the formal complaint.”

Since mid 2018 there have been several meetings of parents and community members connected with West Burton school to which BAWB governors were invited  but none attended.  According to the minutes of the meeting of the BAWB Board of Governors in November 2018 it was pointed out that there was a vacancy for a co-opted member but the parents of children at West Burton School were not invited to nominate anyone.  Those parents have constantly pointed out that not one of the BAWB governors has listened to their arguments against bussing the youngest cohort of children from West Burton to Bainbridge during school days.

Mr Carlton did emphasise that decisions about the federation rested with the BAWB governors – and on January 21 the latter again decided against defederation. Following that decision several of the parents of pupils at West Burton school met to consider their options which included moving their children to other schools not connected to BAWB.

Referring to the minutes of the BAWB governance meetings in November and December 2018 they pointed out, yet again, how out of touch all the federation governors were with the majority of the parents of children attending West Burton school and the communities within its catchment area.  The parents were angry and  upset about some of the statements in those minutes which, they said, misrepresented them.

They very strongly disagreed with the following statements in those minutes: that parents could have been under duress to sign the letter requesting defederation; that the request for defederation had come from just five families and that Option 3a (bussing) could be seen to be working well with the children happy and settled.

Their anger and frustration increased when they read the eight-page letter of January 31 2019 from the Executive Head of the BAWB Federation, Charlotte L Harper, in which she explained the reasons why their request for defederation had been refused.

She wrote: “In his letter Mr Carlton reiterated on many occasions that the West Burton Community and parents have lost confidence in the BAWB Board and that there was unresolvable discord between BAWB Board and the ‘community’. The BAWB Board challenged the assertions about the community. The Director and LA officers have ONLY spoken with the defederation group, many of whom do not live in West Burton.”

Miss Harper continued: “It is not clear what ‘community’ refers to, but the BAWB Board are aware of support from many long standing residents of West Burton, at least two of whom have now written to him. The BAWB Board are concerned that the LA have demonstrated a clear lack of impartiality by relying solely on evidence given to them by the group seeking defederation, and then repeating this in writing without any checks or clarity of definition.”

The catchment area for West Burton school includes Walden, Bishopdale, Thoralby, Aysgarth, Swinithwaite, West Witton and even part of Redmire so it is not surprising that the parents requesting defederation (representing 85 per cent of the children in that school) do not all live in West Burton.

Mr Carlton has stated that the LA came to an impartial view based on the issues placed before it.

 

Miss Harper’s letter can be read here.

The reasons given by the county council for supporting defederation can be read here.

West Burton CofE School – a consultant’s view

Statement by David Pointon, independent educational consultant: As a member of the West Burton School Representative Group I am very aware that the debate about the request to defederate the school has fuelled a lot of misinformation about education, schools and the optimum size of classes.

The principle purpose of a school is to equip children with the knowledge and skills to be successful in their lives and be useful members of their community and the wider universe.

It should be providing opportunities to enable the children to access knowledge as well as providing a stable, safe, inclusive and comfortable environment in which the children can learn. It should be concentrating on learning before teaching.

Learning is an individual process.

All schools should be concentrating on the above ‘shoulds’ with the children as the central main priority.

Teaching should be adapted to the needs of the children. There is much supporting evidence that most children thrive and learn better in small groups. In fact some children would be submerged in large groups and may then need special provision. Teaching is imposed on learning and requires very special people to ensure that all childrens’ individual needs for learning are met.

These are the basic premises that govern a successful school. Does your child’s school meet these standards?

A school should not be training children to pass tests and to help to get a good Ofsted or other reports, so it can meet financial targets.  It should not be stealing and misusing the children’s time in useless exercises (such as in-school-day bussing).

For time is our only non-renewable resource.

Every adult with any contact with the school has a responsibility to enable and support the learning and teaching to be achieved, to the highest standards.

D.G.Pointon, BA, Cert Ed.,DipCTB, CETHIC, Fellow of VIEW

Independent Educational Consultant.

(VIEW is the professional association  of the Visual Impairment Education and Welfare)

 

West Burton CofE School – defederation refused

Frank Knowles’ Photography Exhibition

FKQueenMotherIn the 1950s Frank Knowles was Wensleydale’s archetypal news photographer – and until Sunday February 17 60 of his magnificent black and white photographs are on show at Tennants Garden Rooms in Leyburn. These include his favourite news picture – the one he took of the Queen Mother when her train stopped at Harrogate Station (left)

He was working for the Ackrill Group of newspapers based in Harrogate and had gone there to process the glass slides which were then used as negatives. He was asked to go to the station and try and get a photo of the Queen Mother.

“Everything was cordoned off. There wasn’t a soul on the platform but I got on alright. It was a long train and I had to go right down the platform. Eventually I found the Queen Mother. She was sat at the window, had her glasses on, her ledger open and was writing in it.

“I bowed my head to be respectful and I pointed down at the camera. She [signalled to me] to wait a minute and I thought ‘Oh, all the security people are going to come and catch me.’ She just took off her glasses, put them to one side, closed the ledger and she posed. And I took that picture. I was absolutely amazed. I thought how nice it was of her. She could so easily have waved me out of it. I was quite prepared that if she did tell me to be off I would have done so without taking a picture. I think it’s a good picture.”

Frank was 15 when he left Harrogate Grammar School and joined the Ministry of Aircraft Photographic Laboratory in Harrogate in 1943. His job entailed making 8×6 inch contact prints from whole plate glass negatives. He explained: “Many of these were photographs of new and secret aeroplanes and were subject to Official Secrets Regulations.

“When the Ministry of Aircraft moved back to London I started as a printer with the Ackrill Group.” He did his two years National Service in the Army during when he continued his interest in photography. He even took the official photos of his Company Commander, Officers and NCOs for recording purposes.

THE LIFE OF RILEY

“When I returned [to the Ackrill Group] from National Service, I started using a press camera in earnest in both Harrogate and Thirsk. Soon after this I was asked to cover the Wensleydale area. It was the life of Riley. I cannot think of any better job in the world – to be given a camera and told to go up into the beautiful Yorkshire Dales and record the people and events. I had a completely free rein as long as I sent in a supply of pictures each week.”

Those provide a remarkable glimpse into the life and times of the dale which became his home. They include house fires, train crashes, local gymkhanas and dramatic winter weather.

“Perhaps the most memorable and scary event was being with a bomb disposal team on the moors and actually touching a live 100lb German bomb prior to it being detonated,” he commented.

The bomb disposal unit from Portsmouth had been sent to Wether Fell near Hawes in 1957 to deal with the bomb. The unit took five weeks to reach it but Frank had only a fraction of a second to photograph the 200ft-high plume of debris when it exploded.

It was even harder for him to estimate the right moment to take a photograph when one of the largest prepared explosions in England took place in Redmire Quarry in 1952. His photograph showed the rock face bulging outwards due to the impact of the 3,750lbs of explosives when they were detonated inside a tunnel.

“I had to follow a lot of ambulances to get one good story,” he told me. One ambulance took him to the Blea Moor tunnel near Ribblehead station where, in April 1952, the morning express from Glasgow to London had crashed. He was the first pressman at the scene and took some moving photographs of not only the crash, complete with discarded pram, but also of a mother and her baby waiting with other slightly injured passengers for transport.

Frank didn’t chase fire engines. Instead he often beat Leyburn’s retained firemen to a fire.

“The firemen then had only basic equipment and no radio pagers,” he said. “They had to rely on the siren and if they were working out of town they couldn’t hear it. The fire engines were not much better than Green Goddesses. When I heard the siren I went to the fire station to find out what sort of fire it was. The fire engine was quite ponderous and could not go as fast as my van.”

THE FIREMAN’S ASSISTANT

One day only two turned up at the fire station, a fireman and himself! They loaded a couple of extinguishers into his press van and went to a house in Leyburn where a settee was smouldering. “The fireman and I carried it out into the garden and he put the fire out.” Not surprisingly Frank has no photographs of that fire scene.

But he did get others such as in Bedale when a car burst into flames behind Mr Brears’ ironmongery shop. The man who had been working on the car was in flames as he ran for help. Frank arrived in time to photograph people using new buckets from the ironmongery as they helped quench the flames.

“I was also involved in life and death situations,” he said. “On one occasion I helped a farmer to deliver a calf with a difficult birth. I pulled on a rope around the calf’s legs. Another time I took some photos of a fire where an old gentleman died. The photos were used by the police at the inquest – obviously they were not published.

“I was fortunate that I had a good relationship with the police. On one occasion I provided transport to take an officer on to the moor to try and rescue a swan [which had fallen] down a mineshaft. Unfortunately it had to be shot as no one could get near enough to rescue it.“

The police once asked me to keep an eye out for two young boys who were missing from home in Sunderland. When returning to Leyburn from Hawes Sports, I saw two youngsters near Bainbridge. I returned to Hawes, picked up a police officer and we caught up with the boys who turned out to be the missing pair. They had been camping near the river. I looked after one while the officer took to the other boy to their camp to collect clothes etc. I received a letter of thanks from the grateful parents.”

JUST ONE CHANCE

Photographing action shots was not easy in the days when photographers had to use heavy quarter-plate glass slides as negatives. “With a modern camera you can keep your finger on the trigger! I had only one chance – I either got it or I didn’t. You didn’t have a second chance because you had to change slides. It was quite a performance between one shot and another. I could change a glass slide in 10 seconds. You had to keep careful track of which ones were unused and which ones were used. Otherwise you could spoil the ones you had already taken.”

“With that camera I had to focus manually. It had what you call a focal-plane shutter. You had to wind a nob on the side and a shutter came down and a blind with a slot in it. You adjusted that slot as to how little or how much exposure you wanted to give it. You didn’t quite know what you were doing but you just knew by experience to put it at an eighth of an inch wide or an inch wide if it was bad light. It was quite a skill really.”

Photographing gymkhanas was a particularly difficult job. He had to decide, before a horse jumped a fence, if the rider was likely to come a cropper or not. If he aimed at photographing the final part of the jump it was possible he wouldn’t get an interesting photo at all. He did capture the moment at Bellerby one year when a competitor’s horse “carried all before him” and destroyed a jump.

camera_two

In addition to carrying the large camera and a box of glass slides he also had to take a heavy pack to recharge his flash unit.“It was terrible when you were going off to take snow pictures. You had this great weight on your shoulder,” he said.

He was always expected to cover bad weather stories, however dangerous. In December 1952 he heard about a multiple pile-up outside Leyburn. As he reached the scene his own van skidded on the black ice and was damaged.

“It was happening so fast no one could run up the hill to warn people. You had to keep leaping out of the way. It was like one of those funny films,” he said. In all 11 vehicles were involved including two large Army trucks and the seven-ton army recovery lorry sent to rescue them. Above: Frank and his camera in the 1950s.

In February 1956 he joined a post woman, Marion Bowes, from Ulshaw Bridge, to photograph her trying to deliver letters during a four-day snow storm. Together they battled their way up to Sowden Beck farm where they found Mr and Mrs Banks feeding their sheep. Marion had just one letter to deliver and when Mrs Banks opened it she commented: “You needn’t have brought that.” It was a notice of a rent increase!

Frank then had to take his slides to Harrogate for developing. “I would fight my way out of the dales and when I got to Harrogate there wasn’t a flick of snow. If I didn’t have the photographs with me they would not have believed me.”

In 1953 he married Betty Wray whose father and uncle ran the ironmongery business in the centre of Leyburn. He joined the family business in 1960 and continued to manage it, even after it was taken over by new owners, until he retired in 2004.

He will be 90-years-old on January 31 but is as determined as ever to continue taking good photographs. He uses what he describes as a glorified digital camera which has a zoom lens but no interchangeable lenses. “It’s a lot lighter,” he said with a chuckle.

frank_knowles

Above: Frank pointing out the difference between the glass slides he used in the 1950s and, on the right, a modern SD card on which over a thousand photos can be stored. Photo by Gilly Knowles.

He also showed me his excellent action photo of cyclists racing towards Leyburn during the Tour de France in 2014.

“Even today it depends on what the photographer wants and how he is going to get it,” he commented. Both he and his daughter, Gilly, took pairs of steps with them so that they could be above the crowd to take photos of the Tour de France.

A FAMILY TRADITION

Photography has become a family tradition for the Knowles. Frank explained: “One hundred years ago my mother was employed as a photographic finisher at Davey’s, a well-known Harrogate photographer in James Street.

“My son, Andrew, was the official photographer and line artist for North Yorkshire County Council. His son, Ben, is a professional photographer and his daughter, Abi, is also an accomplished photographer. Gilly continues the theme by embarking on a degree course in photography. Four generations working with photography. I think we may have photography in the blood!”

Gilly added that, as a family, they produce a calendar every year. The photographs for these are contributed not just by Frank, Gilly and Andrew but also by Ben and Abi.

It was Gilly who introduced Frank to Leyburn Band when it was re-started in 2003. She plays 2nd horn – while Frank takes the photographs. “I must have two to three hundred pictures of the band,” Frank said.

One of the regular venues has been Tennants Garden Rooms. He described how Rodney Tennant (chairman of Tennants Auctioneers) had allowed him to photograph the band from anywhere he wanted. And it was Rodney who encouraged Frank to hold an exhibition there of his 1950’s press photos.

The curator at the Garden Rooms, Harriet Hunter Smart, worked with Frank to organise it. Together they chose 60 out of the 200 that he and Gilly have made digital copies of. One of those photos is of a crowd at Middleham and in the front is Rodney in school uniform.

Harriet was keen to have photos for which there were stories. “It was quite a job writing full captions,” commented Frank.

The exhibition includes the photo he couldn’t take – that of his own wedding.

“I must have taken over 1,000 wedding photos over that ten years,” said Frank. Some people still remind him that he took their wedding photo.

Gilly is looking forward to hearing peoples’ comments at the exhibition. Those who took the opportunity to visit on January 18 so as to meet Frank were very impressed.

 

Remembering a father and a great uncle

MajorRoseS

The Festival of Remembrance at St Andrew’s Church, Aysgarth, in November 2018 provided an opportunity for Hugh Rose of Leyburn and Catrina Cloughton of Thornton Rust to remember their father: Major Donald Herbert Rose MC (above).

Major Rose was born in 1885 in Lincolnshire, went to what was then Ceylon in 1910 and became a tea and rubber planter. He joined the Ceylon Planters Rifle Corps (CPRC) in 1911. Lance Corporal (Rifleman) Rose was among the 237 from the Corps who were sent to Egypt in October 1914. They initially helped to defend the Suez Canal against Ottoman Turkish attack.

In December that year they joined the Wellington Battalion of the newly formed Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (Anzac). They made such a good impression that many were sent for officer training. Rose did his in Egypt with the 1/6 Essex Regiment. In August 1915 the regiment was sent to Suvla Bay, Gallipoli. Those who survived were evacuated in December 1915, first to guard the Suez Canal and then to fight the Turkish Army through Egypt into Gaza.

Major Rose commanded the company which was the first to enter Gaza City. From there they went to Damascus where he and his company marched into the city 200 yards behind General Allenby and Lawrence of Arabia. He finished in Baghdad and returned to Ceylon in 1919.

He remained there until the early 1950s by which time he was married. On returning to England they finally settled in Thornton Rust when his wife Joan became the assistant matron at what was then a sanatorium at Thornton Lodge.  He died in 1963.

SgtMooreS

“Trina” Cloughton also shared the sad love story of her maternal great uncle Sgt Ernest Moore.

He grew up in Tudhoe Colliery in Co Durham, the only son of John and Alice Moore. John was from a mining family but attended evening classes after he left school when he was 14. He worked his way up to becoming a mine’s inspector.  His job included making sure there was no gas in the mines said Trina.

When Ernest joined the Durham Pals (18th Battalion Durham Light Infantry) at Craken Hall on 29 December 1914 he was 20 years and 10 months old and listed his occupation as “shop assistant”.

After training the Durham Pals were sent to Egypt late in 1915 to defend the Suez Canal. They were then moved to France in March 1916 for the “Big Push”. Sgt Moore survived the Battle of the Somme but was killed in action on 19 May 1918. He was buried at Caestre Military Cemetery in France.

He had hoped to return and marry his girlfriend and had given her a bracelet as an “engagement” present before he went overseas.

Mrs Cloughton said: “He was ‘engaged’ to one of my grandma’s sisters, Emma Musgrave. He and Aunty Emma loved poetry. He sent her a book of poems each Christmas. They are suede covered and wouldn’t have been cheap.”

Emma cut out the “In Memoriam” notice in the local newspaper and stuck it on a page in one of those books. The notice read: “Roll of Honour. MOORE. – In cherished memory of Sgt. E. Moore (Durham Pals), beloved son of Mr. and Mrs. J. G. Moore, Tudhoe Colliery, who fell in France May 19th, 1918. Safe in our Father’s home until the day breaks and the shadows flee away.”

And the poem on that page was God’s Acre:

I like that ancient Saxon phrase, which calls

  The burial-ground God’s Acre….

God’s-Acre! Yes, that blessed name imparts

  Comfort to those who in the grave have sown

The seed that they had garnered in their hearts,

  Their bread of life, alas! no more their own….

Below: It is likely that Sgt Moore is the man with a cigarette standing at the back with his arm resting on a friend’s back. He does look older and battle weary compared to that above which was probably taken before he left England for the Western Front.

DurhamPalsS

Remembering Pte Thomas Spence

PteSpence

Pte Thomas Spence of Walden and West Burton was one of those who did come home from WW1 but then died during the flu epidemic. ‘He was gassed and later got the flu. He died at home,’ said his grand-daughter, Frances Sledge of Leyburn.

For his wife, Fanny, and daughter, Grace Kathleen, his death meant that they had to leave their home in West Burton. Fanny took her daughter back to her family in Wharfedale. They either lived with Fanny’s parents (William and  Deborah Gill) at the post office in Buckden or they stayed with her aunt and uncle at Fold House Farm in Kettlewell.

It was to those addresses that his medals (the British War Medal, the Victory Medal and the 1914-1915 Star) were sent and the family carefully stored them in the boxes and envelopes in which they came.

Tom was born at Hargill Haw Farm in Walden where his father, John farmed. He had four siblings: Margaret, Grace, Sarah and John. In the 1911 census he was described as a 15-years-old draper’s apprentice.  By 1915 he had enlisted with the 4th Battalion Yorkshire Regiment (Green Howards).

On April 1 1915 he wrote to his mother, Margaret Spence,  from Newcastle-on-Tyne: “Dear Ma, I arrived safe and sound, but I got a very pleasant surprise, we are of (sic) across before the 18th of this month. Dont fret or worry I shall be alright…. Tell uncle Kit I am of but dont forget I shall come safely back again. I had a very enjoyable time at Northallerton…. Tell Mr Roulden I shall write to him soon now, to let the School children know how we get on. … I am in the Pink of health. I am  your loving son Tom. Remembrance to all at Burton.”

His battalion had moved from its home base at Northallerton and, just as Tom said, was sent to France on April 18, and straight into battle in the Ypres sector. The regiment saw action at the Battle of the Somme in 1916 which was probably  when he was gassed. He received his honourable discharge certificate and silver badge after being in hospital in August 1916.

He married Fanny Gill at Skipton registry office in August 1918 but died on April 18 1819 aged 23. He was buried in Aysgarth churchyard four months before his daughter was born.  In the 1911 census her grandmother, Deborah, then 57-years-old, was described as being in charge of the post office at Buckden.  Deborah’s husband was then 71-years-old.

“He was a shoemaker. He had a long beard and lived until he was in his nineties,” said Mrs Sledge. Below: William Gill with his daughter, Fanny Spence, and grand daughter.

william_gill

Peace and Remembrance Poppies at Bainbridge

The two 4ft diameter brightly coloured  poppies on the fence outside the  Bainbridge Quaker Meeting House in Wensleydale with their message of peace and remembrance which have been a feature of the village since March 2014 have now been removed.

When this was reported at the Local Quaker Meeting at Bainbridge Meeting House on Sunday January 7 it was pointed out by one member that several villagers had said how much they had appreciated this Remembrance display.

(Click on the photo above to see pictures of how the poppies were created and installed.)

When the poppies were first put in place all were invited to place their own individual remembrances and attitudes towards war and peace on the fence.  There was also a display inside the meeting house illustrating the local involvement in the two World Wars. This explained the Quaker views on peace and the work of the Friends’ Ambulance Unit (FAU).

The Bainbridge Quaker Meeting has its own special link with the FAU for during the 1st World War as John Leyland of Bainbridge was one of the 96 volunteers with the Unit to be awarded the Croix de Guerre for continuing to work when under fire along the Western Front. His son, Peter, served with the FAU in China in the 2nd World War. (See also A Bainbridge Family )

The poppies were created at Gayle Mill by David Pointon, a member of the Bainbridge Quaker Meeting. He was very grateful to the Gayle Mill Trust for making that possible.

 

 

Aysgarth parish and WWI

In December 1918 the vicar of Aysgarth, the Rev William K Wyley wrote in the parish letter: “I wonder if, in the years to come, November 11 will overshadow the 5th as a day greatly to be remembered.”

He was, however, very aware that dalesfolk were in the midst of the great Spanish Flu epidemic and that the WW1 peace agreement had not yet been signed.

Two soldiers, L/Cpl John Wood of Carperby and Driver William Metcalfe of Aysgarth, were given compassionate leave when their wives became ill with the flu. Both women died, Eleanor Metcalfe (22) before her husband got home.

Soldiers began to be demobbed in early 1919 and this led to Mr Wyley publishing an interesting ‘advert’ in the parish magazine: “The Employment Exchange at Northallerton has asked me to state that it has on its Registers women discharged from War Service and suitable for several classes of employment.”

It was acknowledged that women had an important part to play in reconstruction. The role that women had played during the Great War was recognised when limited suffrage was granted to them in 1918.

In October 1918 Mr Wyley commented: “We are approaching the time when, as a nation, we shall realize more fully what a tremendous change the war has made in the social, industrial and religious life of England.”

In that letter he reminded everyone about the great need of economy in the use of oil and especially coal. “I know that very many of us are reducing our fires to a very low minimum, and where wood fuel is available I am sure we shall be careful to ‘do our bit’ in this respect for our country.” He had regularly emphasised the need for food economy and, in June 1917, explained why (below).

HomeFront1S

WW1 had a massive impact upon the lives of everyone and not just because of the ravenous war machine in France and Belgium. The parish magazines not only listed those who had enlisted – but also those who were killed.

When war first broke out local people didn’t know how to respond. Initially events were cancelled but it didn’t take long for people to realise that they could use the church’s flower festivals and other celebrations to raise money for the War Working Parties or to be sent direct to hospitals caring for the war wounded. Concerts, jumble sales and tea parties were also held.

In May 1915 there was a bold headline: “200,000 Eggs wanted weekly for the wounded.” The National Egg Collection had been launched with the request that each household should send one each week to help the recovery of wounded soldiers. The West Burton and District Scout Troop took on the job in the parish and by late November had collected 6,144 eggs. These were sent to military hospitals in France and Malta and some to wounded soldiers at Leeds Infirmary.

HomeFront2SRight: published in the Aysgarth section of The Upper Dales Parish Magazine in December 1917

Children helped with collecting sphagnum moss for dressing wounds, made items of clothing and, in November 1917, were encouraged to collect horse chestnuts for munitions and also waste paper. Mr Wyley reported that within two months he received half hundredweight of horse chestnuts and four hundredweight of waste paper.

The times of services had to be adjusted when lighting restrictions were introduced in February 1916 following air raids by Zeppelins. And the shortage of manpower was beginning to have an effect. In July 1918 Mr Wyley wrote: “May haytime be favourable and health and strength sufficient to tide over the shortage of labour.”

Conscription was introduced in January 1916 and in July 1917 he wrote: “I am glad to say that the local Tribunal has granted exemption to our Sexton on condition that he is released as far as possible for agricultural and other work of National importance.

The signing of the Peace Treaty in July 1919 led to celebrations throughout the country and the Empire. But in Wensleydale the hay harvest had to come first. Mr Wyley commented: “I hope that when all the hay has been led each village… will do something to mark our rejoicing over the Peace and our gratitude to the men who won the possibility of it.”

This has been edited from the Aysgarth sections of the  Upper Wensleydale Parish Magazines 1914-1918. Aysgarth parish consists of Aysgarth, Carperby, Bishopdale, Thoralby, Thornton Rust and West Burton.

Below: The peace celebrations in 1919 at The Rookery in Bishopdale  (courtesy DCM)  The Rookery no longer exists.

Peace CelebrationsS

For more stories see the WWI section of the Thoralby Through Time website.

JWLodgeSThe biggest military funeral at Aysgarth church during WW1 was that for Col John William Lodge with the band of his regiment and the detachments of two battalions being present. The firing party fired volleys over his grave and buglers sounded the Last Post. He was 60-years-old when, on leave at his home at The Rookery in Bishopdale, he died on 23 August 1917, after a short illness.

He had served in the Boer War and from 1906-1912 had commanded the 3rd Battalion of the Yorkshire Regiment. At the outbreak of the 1st World War he had immediately returned to the battalion as a major and in May 1916 was appointed to the command of a Garrison Battalion. (Information and photo courtesy Wensleydale Remembered)

There wasn’t a military funeral for Pte John Percival but there is a military gravestone. He was 21-years-old when he died and was buried on 12 April 1918.

This obituary was published about him:

“He enlisted when he was 19, and after being trained at Rugeley Camp, went to France in April 1916, and was through the battle of the Somme, being badly wounded in the hand in September 1916. He was sent back to England for treatment, and made a sufficient recovery to enable him to return to service.

JohnPercival

“As he was a competent motor driver he was transferred by the authorities from the Yorkshire Regiment to the Motor Transport, Army Service Corps, in June 1917. In this work he did good service until October last, when he was badly gassed, and was seriously ill. He returned to England, and was in the 1st London General Hospital, Camberwell, until November 27th, when he was officially discharged from the Army as physically unfit for further service.

“A relative went to London to bring him home. He was very weak, and while crossing London an air raid was proceeding, and the journey was several times interrupted. Arrived at Aysgarth he was very happy to see his home and family, and seemed to revive for a while, but the gas had seriously damaged his lungs and recovery was seen to be impossible.

“Though relatives and friends nursed him tenderly day and night there was no progress towards health. The funeral was largely attended by sympathising friends, and some beautiful wreaths and affectionate messages were sent.”

YDNPA – Full Authority meetings in 2018 and 2017

ARC News Service reports from some  YDNPA Full Authority meetings in 2017 and 2018.

December 2018: the Review of Designated Landscapes including the important role of farmers and landowners; a new Three Peaks Code of Conduct; and a Youth Manifesto. See also YDNPA and the cost of the boundary extension.

March 2018:  farming in post-Brexit Britain and a pioneering agri-environmental scheme in Wensleydalecouncil tax on second homes; and extending the conservation area at Downholme. A resolution concerning Yore Mills at Aysgarth was published.

December 2017: Attracting families to live and work in the Yorkshire Dales and increasing council tax on second homes;  and allocating funds for a garden at the Chelsea Flower Show. There was also a very interesting report on the introduction of a charge to use the YDNPA’s  public toilets at Grassington compared to having a donation box at those at Aysgarth.

DECEMBER 2018

Review of Designated Landscapes

It was agreed at the Full Authority meeting that the government should be informed  about the significant and central role of farmers and landowners in maintaining the Yorkshire Dales National Park.

The members approved the Authority’s Review of Designated Landscapes which was then submitted to the government. This will be used to compile the government’s review of National Parks and Areas of Natural Beauty (AONB) as part of its 25 Year Environment Plan.

The YDNPA review stated: “The Yorkshire Dales NPA has a close working relationship with farmers and land managers. This has been developed over many years with the Authority sometimes running its own local agri-environment schemes, as well as supporting the delivery of national schemes (and occasionally directly delivering them).

“The most high-profile example currently is the ‘Payment by Results’ pilot project in Wensleydale. This builds on the wider work of the Northern Upland Chain Local Nature Partnership and the Northern Hill Farming Panel, which identified the need for action to support ‘High Nature Value farming’. In particular, it identified a need for ‘a more collaborative approach to the delivery of agri-environment schemes, using the skills and knowledge of HNV farmers to deliver environmental outcomes in a way that allows the whole farm to work and make sense as a system.”

The review continued: “From our experience through the pilot [scheme] and the wider feedback from farmers we believe that National Park Authorities should be involved in the direction, co-design and delivery of the new environmental land management scheme. The aim being to provide a system that is responsive to our landscapes and farming practices; that better integrates and works alongside local farmers and land managers and ensures positive outcomes for nature and those who work the land.

“These schemes should be: locally-tailored and locally-administered; based on a more collaborative approach that uses the skills and knowledge of the sort of High Nature Value farmers found in the National Park; paid by results not by adherence to a tangle of rules and prescriptions; and focus on delivering multiple benefits (biodiversity, water management, heritage etc).”

The review also considered the socio-economic impact of National Park and AONB authorities on those who lived and worked in those areas especially at a time of large demographic shifts (including the movement of young people),  the huge increase in the number of second homes and holiday lets, and the reduction in key local services such as transport, post offices and the roll-out of broadband and mobile telecommunications.

It stated that there were significant market failures in relation to housing and a chronic shortage of affordable housing and added: “These are national rather than local or even just rural issues.”

Richmondshire District councillor Yvonne Peacock emphasised that the YDNPA should have a duty to the social and economic wellbeing of those who lived and worked in the National Park.

And North Yorkshire County councillor John Blackie said that the way forward was to encourage more self-help projects like those in Hawes. He also described the Right to Buy scheme for Housing Association tenants as being one of the biggest threats to providing local affordable accommodation in the National Park. “Right to Buy threatens the communities that we have here,” he said.

North Yorkshire County councillor Robert Heseltine and Cllr Peacock questioned the statement: “There is a wide recognition that National Park Authority boards are too large and cumbersome. In the YDNPA the board is also unrepresentative of the population at large [as a consequence of the 2016 boundary changes].”

“Small is not always beautiful,” commented Cllr Heseltine. He felt that the membership of 25 on the YDNPA board was right because sufficient members were required to ensure good representation.

Cllr Peacock commented that the Yorkshire Dales National Park was so diverse that a wide spread of board members was necessary.

It was agreed not to change the report, however, especially as it pointed out that the YDNPA would be carrying out a governance review in 2019 and 2020.

The full report can be seen at: Review of Designated Landscapes – Submission.

See also YDNPA and the importance of farmers

Three Peaks

North Yorkshire County councillor Richard Welch described the problems that the residents of Horton-in-Ribblesdale were facing due to the tens of thousands of walkers seeking to complete the Three Peaks Challenge.

He said that on one occasion two coach-loads of walkers arrived at 5am. The coach drivers kept the engines running while the very noisy walkers disembarked. Once the walkers had completed the route they headed for the pub and were clearly heard singing about their success until late at night.

He agreed that the new code of conduct should be approved. This was outlined to the members by Kathryn Beardmore the YDNPA director of park services.

She said that the main problems for Horton in Ribblesdale appeared to be noise and anti-social behaviour. The Authority had worked with the community there to draft the new code of conduct.

She noted that Horton in Ribblesdale was the traditional start of the Three Peaks challenge which was a 24-mile walk on public rights of way and open access land.

She reported: “The Authority does not want to stop people doing the Three Peaks [as] the promotion of understanding and enjoyment of the area is one of our statutory purposes. Moreover increasing visitor numbers in National Parks is a Government target.”

The Authority’s member champion for recreation management, Cumbria County councillor Nick Cotton commented: “In a way this is an enormous success story.”  He pointed out that the Three Peaks challenge attracted people of all ages and was also used by charities to raise money. This meant a lot of people spent one to two nights in the area and it was likely many would return to visit the Yorkshire Dales.

For the full report and new code of conduct click here.

Youth Manifesto

The Youth Manifesto adopted at the meeting was heralded by some members as a good way to gather information about the needs of young people in the National Park.

And two members pointed out that there were already groups from which the information could be collected.

Askrigg Parish councillor Allen Kirkbride commented: “It [the manifesto] seems quite sound. Local youth groups are quite well into this already.”

And Eden District councillor William Patterson said the National Park should work with the young farmers groups which involved people from all walks of life.

Jocelyn Manners-Armstrong welcomed the manifesto as a mechanism for obtaining the views of young people. She emphasised that the way to retain young people in the National Park was to make it economically viable. “We need jobs and for the environment and the economy to work together. They are co-dependent rather than thinking they are always in conflict.”

In the manifesto, presented by YDNPA communications and ranger apprentices Katy Foxford and Ian Colledge, the problem of low wages and the need for job opportunities and more training were highlighted alongside such issues as the provision of transport, improved digital connectivity, affordable housing,  further education and business support.  The objective was youth empowerment through establishing youth councils and other means so that young people would gain the experience to be the future leaders in National Parks and rural communities.

They plan to launch a youth forum in the park to facilitate social opportunities for under-25s.

Mr Butterworth explained that the manifesto was developed by a number of young people across Europe after the 2018 Europarc Conference in the Cairngorms.

He said: “The Europarc Youth Manifesto seeks to improve the connection between decision makers in rural areas and young people. It highlights what public bodies can do to assist in the retention of young people in our communities and act as an attractor for others to move to the area.

“It is certainly the case that the voice of young people is marginalised on decision making bodies. This makes it all the more vital that those bodies open themselves up to the challenge, debate and discussion from this important demographic group within our community.”

He hoped it would also be adopted by county and district councils.

See Youth Manifesto.

MARCH 2018

Farming post-Brexit

The YDNPA is leading the way towards farming in the post-Brexit era thanks to a pilot scheme involving 19 farmers in Wensleydale. And members agreed that Defra should be approached for the funding needed to extend it.

Ian McPherson told the meeting: “We are leading the field in the country on the way in which agric-environmental schemes might look like.  Ministers are extremely impressed by the work we are doing (with) the results based agri-environmental scheme in Wensleydale.

“There’s a strong possibility that what we are doing here might well be the model that could be rolled out across the whole country.”

The National Park’s Farming and Rural Management two-year scheme in Wensleydale, which is being run in partnership with Natural England, involves 19 farmers and will end in September this year. The YDNPA has now applied to Defra so that it can be extended for three years and the number of Wensleydale farmers increased to 40.

The scheme was developed in response to the Government’s intention to introduce a 25-year plan to improve the environment.

One of the members, Neil Heseltine who farms at Malham, described it as exciting. He told the meeting that it could mean that rather than him having a one dimensional farm which produced red meat it could also encourage wildlife habitat, bio-diversity, pollinators, soil health and public and educational access.

He said it appeared that Defra and the government had followed closely a paper presented by National Park England last year before it produced its Agriculture Command Paper entitled Health and Harmony: The future for food, farming and the environment in a green Brexit.

“Local knowledge is imperative to delivering high results and also gives us a much better value for money,” he commented.

YDNPA officers Gary Smith and Adrian Shepherd explained that the Wensleydale scheme was exploring the concept of “public works for public money”. They reported that at every stage the pilot had been developed in collaboration with the local farming community. The farmers, they said, had invested time and effort into developing the skills necessary to implement a results-based approach, and switch to a system based on farmer self-assessment.

In his report Mr Smith underlined the problems being faced by farmers in the dales. “Farming remains critical to the local economy. It accounts for 10 per cent of employment in the National Park, with around 2,700 people employed directly agriculture.” But, he added, the core agricultural business of many upland farms was operating at a loss.

He quoted the Evidence Compendium that accompanied the Government’s Agriculture Command Paper which was launched in February this year. This stated that currently Direct Payments provided an average of about 60 per cent of upland farm business income. Even with Direct Payments 14 per cent of upland grazing livestock farm businesses were currently making a loss, and without it this could have risen to 46 per cent.

“Farming remains critical to the local economy – not only because of the direct employment it provides but because it manages the landscape on which a multi-million pound tourism industry depends,” Mr Smith said.

Members were told that during the transition period the government is considering reducing the direct payments to the largest landowners so that it can support farmers with agri-environmental schemes which would include restoring peat bogs, protecting drystone walls, reducing flood risks, creating new habitats for wildlife and increasing biodiversity. This will be in line with the government’s manifesto pledge to “be the first generation to leave the environment in a better state than we inherited it.”

David Butterworth warned, however, that so far the Government had not yet set out a clear work programme.

And Chris Clark stated: “We as an authority have to under pin farmers’ uncertainties. We must communicate more what are the issues that are facing the dales farmers, and we also need to communicate the solutions. I think as an authority we need to be doing that in a more open way.” Mr Clark (who farms in Langstrothdale) is, like Mr Heseltine, a parish council representative on the Authority.

(To take part in the Government’s consultation on the future for food farming and the environment click here. The consultation period closes on May 8 2018)

Council tax on second homes:

Mr Butterworth reminded members that the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority still has a policy which involves controlling the creation of second homes through either the planning system, taxation or other means.

North Yorkshire County councillor Richard Welch had spoken of the members’ disappointment that Richmondshire District Council (RDC) had rejected the Authority’s call to increase the council tax on second homes. Cllr Welch asked: “Bearing in mind that one of our initiatives is to increase [the number of] people living and working in the Dales – what do we do now?” He added that he did not want the Authority to give up on finding a solution.

Mr Butterworth responded that they should wait for a while and when they did look at the issue again it might involve some more research and data analysis.

He said that only one of the four authorities with areas within the Yorkshire Dales National Park had voted against the proposal, but the RDC had the largest number of second homes.

“We failed,” commented the leader of the RDC and YDNPA member, Cllr Yvonne Peacock. She added, however, that during the two months that the issue was being debated the Government and many others in England had been made aware that the large number of second homes was a causing a huge problem for rural communities.

Lancashire County councillor Cosima Towneley agreed with Mr Butterworth that it was just as important to improve the infrastructure within the National Park.

Whilst she mentioned the roads he listed the need for more affordable homes, the development of economic sites, the extension of broadband and the branding of the area as ways in which to make the National Park a more attractive place to live and work.

Downholme conservation area:

It was unanimously agreed that Downholme conservation area can be extended into the Yorkshire Dales National Park.

Gary Smith, the Authority’s Director of Conservation and Community, told the members that the application to extend the conservation area was unusual for two reasons: First, that the part of the village within Richmondshire District Council’s area already had conservation status; and secondly because Hudswell and District Parish Council had asked the Authority to extend it into the National Park.

Mr Smith said that the Authority had worked with the villagers, the parish council and the district council on the appraisal. Members were told that there were no objections to the proposed extensions although at first the Ministry of Defence was concerned about the potential obligations for remedial or other works on its land.

It was, however, assured that no such work would be necessary. It was reported that the district council had indicated its intention to support the boundary extensions which will affect minor inclusions in its area.

The areas to be included in the extended conservation area are:

  • The north side of the main street inside the village which includes important historic buildings like the Bolton Arms, Downholme Hall ruins and the former smith as well as the central village green, the pin fold and a churn stand.
  • The area at the northern edge of the village which includes the remains of the former mining industries and fine views into Swaledale, to How Hill and Downholm Hall ruins.
  • The triangular green which provides a significant entrance into the village from the west, with the Vicarage and surrounding mature trees and hedges.
  • The large open fields to the north and medieval lynchets, the quarry with lime kiln, quarry-foreman office building and explosives magazines, and the church.

Yore Mill, Aysgarth

The condition of the mill was discussed in private session at the December Full Authority meeting. In the minutes approved at the March meeting it was stated that the following was resolved:

That the Authority: a) supports Richmondshire District Council to secure appropriate urgent works to Yore Mill through the use of their legal powers; and b) makes public the Mill’s plight in the hope of securing a change in ownership and new funding possibilities so as to improve the chances of a comprehensive re-use in the future.

DECEMBER 2017

Attracting families and increasing council tax on second homes

Second homes  “deny” a home to a permanent resident and help to push up house prices beyond the reach of  local people, especially younger people, David Butterworth, the YDNPA chief executive, told members.

He quoted figures from the 2011 census which showed the from 2001 to 2011 an average of 65 new homes were created each year in the National Park. But approximately 90 houses were being turned into second homes or  holiday lets each year. Of the 13,500 dwellings or more 3,000 were second homes or holiday lets.

The majority of the members supported his recommendation to support putting time into working with the constituent district councils to try to reach agreement on a joint programme of activity to attract more families and people of working age to move to the National Park; and, as part of that programme, to approve the Authority working alongside the district councils and other relevant authorities to develop a specific proposal to the Government on second homes.

Mr Butterworth recommended that the YDNPA should work with the local authorities to seek government support for the establishment of a five-year pilot to test whether a substantial increase in council tax on second homes within the National Park would have a positive impact, in part by bringing homes back into full-time occupancy and by discouraging the purchase of second homes.

He said: “It is not for the YDNPA to set the level of council tax that might apply during the pilot period. This can only be decided by the authorities that have responsibility for these matters. Nonetheless the sum concerned has to be of sufficient magnitude to have a significant impact. Whilst a small increase in council tax on second homes might raise some additional revenue, it is unlikely to deliver the objectives.

“For those reasons it is suggested that a figure of at least five times the current rate should be considered. To provide an indication of impact, that would equate to a charge of at least £8.5k per annum on a Band D property. It is unlikely that this initiative would raise significant revenue, and that is not the aim. However, any additional funding that is raised should be ring-fenced to provide extra support for local services in the Park communities.”

One reason  he gave for this was that second home ownership was inadvertently contributing to the long term decline of the area. He told members: “ People should not be prevented from buying second homes but we believe there is merit in exploring options to make the process less attractive for second home owners.”

Many of the members agreed that something had to be done as communities were being undermined leading to the loss of schools, shops and other facilities. Richmondshire District Councillor Yvonne Peacock pointed out that in order to retain such a beautiful landscape it was not possible to build many new houses. She hoped that an increase in the council tax on second homes would lead to a drop in house prices. “Then we will actually have people living and working in our National Park,” she said.

Some members did question the proposal to increase council taxes on second homes.

A former chairman of the YDNPA, Steve Macaré, did not believe that the Authority should be leading the way with such a proposal because it was not a precepting council. That, he said, should be left to the district councils which have areas within the Yorkshire Dales National Park.

He and others pointed out that the negative impact upon rural communities of the increasing number of second homes and holiday lets was a nationwide problem and not just within national parks.

North Yorkshire Conty Cuncillor John Blackie warned about the law of un-intended consequences which could lead to the interests of local communities actually being damaged. Others described the proposal as a blunt instrument which had not been fully researched.

Jocelyn Manners-Armstrong said: “The people who buy second homes are our [national park] friends, they are our supporters, they care about the Dales. We shouldn’t repay their support by making them pay more.”

She accepted that something did need to be done but asked at what cost. She agreed with some others that the priority had to be to create more jobs, and to improve transport and communications.

The chairman of the Authority’s planning committee, Richmondshire District Councillor Caroline Thornton-Berry commented: “I think we could be open to legal challenge if we suddenly say to somebody who has been coming here for maybe 40 years that [their second home] is going to cost an extra £10,000 a year.”

A parish council representative, Cllr Allen Kirkbride, described how many second home owners in Askrigg actively supported community events. He did not believe that increasing the tax on second homes would solve the problem of providing more affordable housing.

Cllr John Blackie pointed out that many of the volunteers with the Little White Bus service had been second home owners and now wanted to give back something to the community. “An increase in tax will put off people who want to contribute – they will go elsewhere,” he added.

Some members wondered why the issue of holiday lets was not also being considered as these also had a detrimental impact upon local schools, medical practices and other facilities. Jim Munday said the Authority should consider its own planning policy which allowed traditional barns to be converted into holiday lets as well as local occupancy homes. “I support this initiative but I strongly recommend that there is no difference between holiday lets and second homes,” he stated.

Mr Butterworth,  however, replied that holiday lets were businesses that contributed to the local economy in a way that second homes didn’t. More importantly, he added, was that one of the policies of the National Park was to encourage more tourists to come and enjoy it (see below regarding the Chelsea Flower Show). To include holiday  lets  with second homes would be an ‘absolute nonsense’, he said.

(One member told the Association’s representative at the meeting that some second home owners were already considering turning their properties into holiday lets. If they did that they would then pay business rates of which only half would go directly to the district council. The rest would go to the government which would then decide how much to give to the district council. )

Toilet charges

AysgarthNPToilets

After a 25-month trial the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority has found that people prefer to make a financial donation to use public toilets as at Aysgarth rather than being charged.

“Psychologically it is known that making a donation makes the individual feel good. Paying for something can have the opposite effect,” Kathryn Beardmore, the director of park services, said.

According to her report it was decided in March 2015 to run a trial at two National Park centres to help raise funds for the Authority. At Grassington turnstiles were installed at a cost of £8,700 so that visitors have to pay 20p to enter the National Park’s toilets, whereas a donation box was placed at those at the Aysgarth information centre (above) for just £500. The net income at Grassington between August 1 2015 and August 31 2017 was £23,900 after £3,200 was spent on collection costs and £1,200 on repairing the turnstiles.

Ms Beardmore reported: “In the first year, when the turnstiles were under warranty there was no maintenance, but two years on they are becoming increasingly troublesome.”And that means more trouble for the Authority’s staff at Grassington.

The staff have had to deal with irate visitors who have put their pennies in but couldn’t gain admission to the toilets. Besides helping them to access the toilets and organising the repairs, staff have also had many requests for change.

This was compared to the toilets at Aysgarth where the car park is one third the size of that at Grassington and where coaches cannot park. The income raised from donations there was £3,000. Ms Beardmore said: “The box is emptied by the centre staff and banked by them as part of their daily routine so takes minimal staff time, and has no start up or on-going repair costs.”

She added that at Grassington 54 per cent of visitors were satisfied with the toilets there compared to 91 per cent at Aysgarth. She said this was not due to the level of upkeep or cleanliness of the two sets of toilets. Not surprisingly, the Authority will not be installing any more turnstiles at their toilets although those at Grassington are expected to remain for a few more years.

Ms Beardmore commented: “Based on this trial, the life span of the turnstiles and the amount of on-going maintenance and staff time required could be problematic.”

A donation box has already been installed at Malham and it is likely that there will be boxes at the National Park’s toilets at Hawes and Horton in Ribblesdale.

Ms Beardmore concluded her report by stating: “We want to be a welcoming National Park, with a high level of customer satisfaction, particularly when people come to our own sites. At the same time we need to set ourselves targets for income generation. Based on income generation, the turnstiles at Grassington have been a success. This is largely due to the high number of coaches, and because staff are on hand, throughout the year, to resolve problems as they arise.”

Chelsea Flower Show

It was agreed that the Authority will allocate £25,000 from its Opportunities Fund to sponsor Welcome to Yorkshire’s “Yorkshire Dales Garden” at the 2018 RHS Chelsea Flower Show.

David Butterworth, the Authority’s chief executive, told the meeting: “At a difficult time economically, tourism within Yorkshire and the National Park has continued to grow. It is important that this continues into the future and it is felt that playing a part in the 2018 Chelsea Flower Show would be part of that process.”

YDNPA and the cost of the boundary extension

The Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority (YDNPA) not only needs a Local Plan which includes all the new areas added in August 2016 but must also commission  its own socio-economic study.

“Our policy making and our decision making is only as robust as the evidence on which it relies. The evidence we have available is based upon assumptions, analogies and anecdotes,” Jocelyn Manners-Armstrong said at the YDNPA’s  Full Authority meeting on Tuesday December 18.

Peter Stockton, the Authority’s head of sustainable development, told the meeting: “In the past we sort of begged, borrowed and stole the evidence from our district [council] colleagues and it never quite fitted with our own planning area. The problem is that it is skewed to the towns outside [the park]. So we never quite got that deep rural information that we needed. We don’t really know how many people live in each district of the National Park.

Approval was given for the Authority to commission an independent socio-economic study of the National Park to provide baseline facts for a new Local Plan and also for the review of the present one.

Mr Stockton commented: “Generally speaking Local Plans are worth tens of millions of pounds … to developers, landowners and to people who are making use of the infrastructure and the development that needs undertaking.”

He explained that when the boundary was extended the YDNPA inherited seven local plans some of which were out of date. During the  Full Authority meeting on Tuesday the Eden District Local Plan was adopted.

But members decided that the Authority must now begin preparing a new, single Local Plan for the whole of the National Park.

Mr Stockton reported: “Within the new parts of the National Park (especially Eden) there may be a perception of unnecessary and additional bureaucracy being ‘imposed’. It is also by far the most expensive and resource-intensive option.”

As several specialist consultancies (including the socio-economic one) would be needed he added: “The costs are likely to be significantly higher than the current budget projections for the ‘Development Planning’ programme.”

Nor did the planning department have sufficient staff to carry out all the work required to get the new Local Plan adopted within three to four years. His proposal that a senior policy and performance officer should be employed to assist with this was accepted.

Member Chris Clark said: “It now seems sensible to have one plan rather than several. We need it to breathe life into the vision we have come up with in our Management Plan.”

He argued for a wide-ranging socio-economic study to provide benchmarks for a park-wide Local Plan and added: “There will be costs and there will be a significant amount of time and staff resources required but to me that is where we need to start this planning policy.”

The socio-economic study, he said, would provide a solid foundation for robust decisions and would set the options for long term strategy.

North Yorkshire County councillor John Blackie warned that the Authority needed to find consultants who understood deeply rural areas and that even more resources could be required if the Authority was going to produce such a Local  Plan within four years.

Both he and Lancashire County councillor Cosima Towneley asked that the county councils (North Yorkshire, Lancashire and Cumbria) should be consulted, as well as the district councils and Lancashire City Council, as the former provided so many important services such as transport, schools, health and social care. It was agreed to amend Mr Stockton’s report accordingly. 

In March Mr Stockton will report to the Full Authority about the commissioning of the socio-economic report.

……….

In September 2016 the Association of Rural Communities asked Richard Graham, the head of development management, if additional staff would be required following the boundary extension. He replied:

“The number of planning staff has not increased since 1st August. The additional work generated by the enlargement of the Park has been dealt with by officers working additional hours. The Finance and Resources Committee has approved a reorganisation of the Authority which includes some additional resources for Development Management in technical support, minerals planning and planning enforcement.”

YDNPA and the importance of farmers

AlistairDinsdale

Above: Alistair Dinsdale at his farm in Wensleydale

The developing partnership between farmers and national park officers could save some hill farms from dereliction if and when the single farm payment is phased out the Association of Rural Communities was told at its annual general meeting at Kettlewell.

Its chairman, Alastair Dinsdale, who has a dairy farm at Carperby in Wensleydale praised the team at the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority (YDNPA) which is involved in pioneering some of the agri-environment schemes that could be rolled out nationally.

He has been involved in the three year agri-environmental scheme which was funded by the EU to test the payment by results in Wensleydale and several other areas of the country. The government is now directly funding those for a further two years.

Mr Dinsdale said he was encouraged by the way the YDNPA’s team was working with the farmers. “The involvement of the National Park has been quite impressive. It has grasped that there is a clear link between farming and the landscape.

“I feel we have a partner. It is wholly different from years ago when the Authority didn’t acknowledge the social and economic importance of those who lived and worked in the national park.”

This is something that the Association of Rural Communities has campaigned about for over 20 years.

Mr Dinsdale was, however, still very concerned about the future of hill farming. He said: “Without the Single Farm Payment the vast majority of the agricultural hill businesses are not sustainable. The environmental payments which are emerging will have great difficulty in matching that funding which is desperately needed to keep these people on the land.

“I am sure people will leave the land. Given the [average] age of farmers, the farming community will look at this as the final straw. We may have a period where we see dereliction in certain areas.

“The people who are developing these new policies haven’t grasped that this funding [Single Farm Payments] is necessary to produce a living off these farms.”“We need to make sure that the funding coming in for the environment will keep people on the land and keep the National Park looking like we all want it to be.”

In his speech he especially remembered the association’s founder, Tom Knowles, who had inspired them to campaign for more consistency in planning and a better working relationship between Authority’s officials and those living and working in the National Park. He also paid tribute to a former chairman of the association, Stephen Butcher.

Both Mr Knowles and Mr Butcher died this year. “I don’t think people have acknowledged what they really achieved,” he said.

He thanked Jack Heseltine and Pip Pointon for continuing to monitor the Authority’s planning committee meetings and Mrs Pointon for producing ARC News Service reports on behalf of the association.

See also the Review of Designated Landscapes section of the Full Authority December 2018 report.

 

YDNPA and Swinden Quarry

ARC News Service: An application to deepen Swinden Quarry received unanimous approval at the meeting of the  Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority ’s planning committee on Tuesday December 11.

Tarmac applied to deepen the quarry by a further 50m by removing an additional 11.3 million tons of limestone. This will extend the life of the quarry from 2030 to 2039. Although restoration work would  be completed by 2041 the 144m deep lake would take 27 years to fill once pumping stopped, the committee was told. 

Tarmac’s  area director, Stephen Barker, told the committee that the appearance of the site would not be altered. He said Tarmac was determined to remain a good neighbour an stated: “We can’t deny that quarrying has an impact upon the local community but we believe much of that impact is positive.”

They had, he said, consulted extensively with the community over a two year period and made some significant changes and commitments in response to the feedback they had received.

He explained that they planned to expand the rail operations and reduce the amount of road haulage.  The company would continue to be involved with bio diversity and environmental projects in Upper Wharfedale as well as supporting community projects, he said and added:

“Early in the consultation it was made apparent to us that the potential impact to the ground water and the springs and wells that supply drinking water was a concern. We have agreed to pay Yorkshire Water to install mains water to Cracoe village and to outlying properties [including Rylstone]  following the granting of planning permission.”

One of the conditions of the planning permission is that the company will sign a legal agreement which includes funding mains water supply to local residents and the reduction in road transport from 800,000 tons in 2019 to 25,000 tons a year between 2030 and 2039.

Also included is the extension of the existing provisions for independent arbitration if there are any disputes over water supply, subsidence or blasting vibration. Adequate insurance cover will be provided to cover any remedial works resulting from any adverse impacts of quarrying.

These conditions cover many of the issues raised by Cracoe Parish Meeting. The parish meeting did, however, feel that the company’s hydrology and hydrogeology report was flawed and there were insufficient monitoring wells. A Cracoe resident Dr Richard Muir explained to the planning committee why there were concerns that the lake could become alkaline.

The parish meeting had welcomed the undertaking that there would be no heavy traffic from the quarry on Saturdays and had also asked that HGV transport should not start  until 7.30am. The hours of haulage approved the the planning committee, however, were from 6.30am to 5pm Monday to Fridays.

David Parrish, the Authority’s Minerals Officer, told the committee: “There are clearly economic benefits by extending the life of Swinden Quarry – by the direct and indirect employment and to the local economy.”

North Yorkshire County councillor Richard Welch pointed out that each day everyone depends on quarried products both within and outside our homes. He remembered the days when residents packed liaison meetings because they were so concerned about issues at the quarry. Now there was often no need to organise such meetings.

This supported Mr Barker’s statement that Tarmac took its obligations to the community seriously. Mr Barker said: “We recognise that some people object to the concept of quarrying in the National Park but there is a clear local and regional need for the materials we produce. We believe we have designed a scheme that protects the local landscape, secures local jobs and minimises our environment impact.”

Aysgarth Chapel Nativity

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Above: Jean Cockburn (in the foreground) and Rona Trowell with the children who participated in the Aysgarth Chapel Nativity this year.

Christmas won’t be quite the same in  Aysgarth without its annual children’s nativity at the Methodist Chapel. With the chapel due for closure in 2019 the last nativity was held  on Sunday December 9.

A few days later I sat with Jean  Cockburn (92) as she searched both her father’s diaries and her own to pinpoint exactly when she started organising this very special community event.

Finally we found her notes in November and December 1966 about the rehearsals for the first nativity play in the chapel. By then she had already been running the Sunday School for four years.

“I used to go to Kendal to buy suitable plays as there was a nice little religious bookshop there,” she told me.

It was pointed out at this year’s nativity that the parents of several of the children taking part had also previously participated in the plays – and some of the grandparents too.

For the past 25 years Rona Trowell has helped to organise the chapel’s Nativity event. Both she and Jean were thanked by Frank Trowell.

In recent years Rona and Jean have introduced some very creative changes to the nativity story adapting it to the abilities of the children taking part. This year’s was a very good example with the older children (Charlotte, Thomasina, Abigail and George) providing the narration and impressing everyone with their singing.

The younger children (Sebastian, Douglas, Aidan, Lily-Anne, Jacob and Will) had great fun enacting the arrival of the nativity characters. The congregation also thoroughly enjoyed the  instrumental solos by Amy and Sophie.

Andrew Souter accompanied the carol singing on the organ. The collection of £160 was shared between the charities Action for Children and Children in Need.

Below top: One little shepherd comes out of hiding!

bottom: Jean with Amy and Sophie

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YDNPA – Barns and Yurts

ARC News Service: Reports on the YDNPA (Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority) planning committee meeting on Tuesday December 11 2018 regarding the following: reference back refusals concerning Shoemaker Barn at Grinton; Mike Barn near Appersett; and  Pike Hill Barn near Hawes; as well as holiday yurts at Low Abbotside; a proposed barn conversion at Threshfield; and a building for a biomass boiler at Stirton Tithe Barn. Cllrs Allen Kirkbride, Yvonne Peacock and John Blackie were very critical of the way the reference back decisions were dealt with:

Businesses involving young families are not appreciated by the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority, Askrigg parish councillor Allen Kirkbride told the committee.

“I am not pleased with the way today has gone and how the Authority appears to be reacting,” he told other members of the committee.

Richmondshire District councillor Yvonne Peacock agreed with him. She warned that the Authority was going back to being as divided as it was 20 years ago.

And North Yorkshire County councillor John Blackie stated: “We want to attract young families. We want to retain young families. We want to attract new businesses. [But] we have been kicked in the teeth by a planning system that is there to shape our future not ruin it.”

They spoke out about the way three barn conversion applications had just been dealt with when discussing an application for seven seasonal yurts at West Shaw Cote Farm, Low Abbotside in Upper Wensleydale.

The head of development management, Richard Graham, told the committee that the barn conversions should be refused as the landscape would be harmed if they became dwellings. For each application Cllr Blackie and Cllr Peacock asked the committee to consider the needs of local young families.

Cllr Peacock pointed out that it was young farmers like the one who wanted to convert Shoemaker Barn at Grinton into a home for his family who maintained the walls and barns. “You cannot expect to sustain our communities and to look after our landscape if we don’t actually have people wanting to live and work in the dales,” she said.

It was very unusual that no committee members spoke against the three barn conversions. Yet when the vote was called seven lifted their hands in support of the officer’s recommendation for refusal while seven supported the applications. The counting was almost inaudible and it wasn’t clear that the chairman, Richmondshire District councillor Caroline Thornton-Berry had also voted against approving the applications. Nor did she clearly state after each vote what the results were.

It was also unusual for the Authority’s Chief Executive Officer, David Butterworth, to attend a planning meeting. Mr Graham told members that if they did grant permission the decision might be unlawful.

For the voting about the yurts at West Shaw Cote Farm no announcement was needed as every member approved the application – even though the officer had recommended refusal.

Cllr Kirkbride had questioned the way a “long-range” photograph had been used to support the officer’s argument. “That must been at least two and a half miles away at least… to make it look worse than it actually is,” he commented.

He pointed out that the yurts would be there during the summer when the trees were in leaf and so there would be more screening. The nights were also shorter – and so there would be far less impact upon the National Park’s dark skies status.

Mr Graham agreed that this decision would not be referred back but the applicants will be asked to plant more screening. “Bushes not trees,” said Cllr Thornton-Berry.

After a long afternoon she asked the committee to make a quick decision about an application for a children’s playhouse at Hudswell which the planning officer had recommended for approval. The voting was so fast it was lost among the scraping of chairs and chatter. And there was no announcement about the result. (It was approved)

North Yorkshire County councillor Richard Welch commented afterwards: “As someone who sits on other Authoritys’ planning committees this is the only one which has a reference back procedure.”

He recalled that at the October meeting  of the YDNPA planning committee the majority of members voted to approve an application for a house in a haulage yard at Hebden for a local family. This was against officers’ advice. He continued: “I wonder what happened in the following month when, at the November meeting under reference back, it was refused by nine to eight. What happened to make five members change their minds?”

The YDNPA press release following the meeting: Landscape conserved with barn decisions

Decisions made by Planning Committee today have helped to conserve the open, farmed landscape of the Yorkshire Dales, the Park Authority Chairman Carl Lis has said.

Members voted to refuse applications to convert three barns near Appersett, Hawes and Grinton because of the harm such conversions would do to the landscape. Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority Chairman and Planning Committee member, Carl Lis, said:  “I need to stress that we are permitting lots of barn conversions – 99 of them since 2015, against eight refusals – but they do need to be in the right locations.

“Approvals for the three applications today would have led to landscape harm, in part because such developments would bring with them new tracks, car parking, lighting, overhead lines and the other facilities necessary for residential use.

“Some Members made the argument that we should have approved the applications in order to help the applicants find an affordable home.  I think it is not a case of deciding between looking after the landscape and looking after local people.   The two must be taken together, as it is the fantastic landscape of the Park that provides the engine for the local economy.”

Mr Lis added “I can understand the disappointment of the applicants, but if they believe we have made the wrong decision they have recourse to appeal to an Independent Planning Inspector.”

Shoemaker Barn, Grinton

At the October meeting of the planning committee the majority of the members voted to approve the application to demolish an agricultural building and convert a stone barn into a dwelling. Grinton Parish Council supported this not just because it would improve the appearance of the site but  as it would also provide a home for a young family. The application included a new agricultural building to be constructed nearby.

As that decision was against officer recommendation it had to be referred back for confirmation. At the December meeting Mr Graham stressed that members had to put forward acceptable material considerations to support any decision which was not in accordance with the Local Plan. He stated that two of the considerations put forward by members could be considered: that the improved appearance of the site represented a planning gain; and that it would support sustainable communities and provide an opportunity for a home for a local family.

He argued, however, that as so much of the barn would be rebuilt plus the addition of two porches and a rear extension it would look like a modern building rather than a historic barn. He said: “A large modern farm building and a large modern-looking dwelling in this location would detract from the visual quality of landscape and would not preserve or enhance the historic character of the Conservation Area.”  This could not, therefore, be described as a material consideration he added.

“The provision of a house for the applicants specifically can not be a material consideration unless there are exceptional personal circumstances involved. Personal circumstances are rarely sufficient reason to outweigh policy… It has not been demonstrated that this proposal represents the only opportunity for the applicants to live in the locality, or that their current accommodation in Grinton is not suitable, or that there is an essential need for them to live at this location,” he said.

Cllr Blackie commented: “Here is an opportunity to be flexible and to support a local family who will add to the sustainability of the local community.

Mike Barn, Lanacar Lane, Appersett

At the October meeting a decision on this application for the barn to be converted for local occupancy was deferred as the majority of members were in favour of approving it contrary to the officer’s recommendation. The reasons given by members were: the barn fulfilled the “roadside” criterion as in the Local Plan; there were dwellings nearby and the residential use would not have a harmful impact upon the area.

Mr Graham told the December meeting that the barn did not “physically adjoin the boundary” with the road and did not have an “immediate definable curtilage”.

Cllr Blackie pointed out that Mr Graham’s report did not give the distance between the barn and the road.

He asked how this compared to the distance between Tug Gill Lathe and the B6160 in Wharfedale. The application to convert Tug Gill Lathe was approved by an appeal inspector.

Mr Graham accepted that Tug Gill Lathe was further. He added that the appeal inspector had stated that its curtilage did meet the road. “That was a mistake. I think the inspector’s decision was a very cruel one and I don’t think [we] have to stand by it.”

“That’s something I have never heard before in a planning committee in 21 years,” commented Cllr Blackie.

North Yorkshire County councillor Richard Welch compared barn conversions to many of the farmhouses which were often quite a distance along a track from a road.  Converting barns could enhance the landscape he said and added:

“It makes it look as though people live there. It is not a museum, not a chocolate box scene to be put on postcards. Providing barns are converted sensibly there is no difference between them and a farm house.”

Pike Hill Barn, Ashes, Hawes

A decision on this application was deferred at the October meeting as, yet again, members had been inclined to disagree with the officers.

At the December meeting Cllr Blackie explained that Pike Hill Barn was within one of the small enclaves that formed part of the community of Hawes and so the application was in accordance with the Local Plan.

He also asked why Mr Graham’s report did not include the fact that the owner of the barn had amended his application to include local occupancy as well as for holiday lets.

Ellis Laithe, Grisedale Gate Farm, Threshfield

One young couple with their baby waited all afternoon for the committee to discuss their application to convert a barn into an agricultural worker’s dwelling.

Frank Kitching told the committee that he needed to live close to the family’s farm as he helped with caring for the livestock. During the two-month long lambing season he said he slept in his pick-up at the farm.

The planning officer reported that there were three holiday lets at the farm and argued that one of these could provide a home for the couple. He said that no financial information had been provided to prove that the holiday lets were essential to the farm business. He accepted that there was a need for permanent on-site accommodation for Mr Kitching.

Jocelyn Armstrong-Manners said the committee did need more financial evidence concerning the  holiday lets. And Cllr Kirkbride wondered if the plans could be amended so that the proposed extension would be on the gable end of the barn.

It was agreed, therefore, to defer making a decision.

Stirton Tithe Barn

Permission has been granted for a building to house a biomass boiler and to store pellet fuel in the car park beside the Tithe Barn at Stirton.

Clive Armstrong, who now owns the barn with his wife, told the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority’s planning committee on Tuesday December 11: “We feel passionate about preserving our environment for future generations.” For this reason they aimed, he said, to install a zero carbon footprint heating system at the barn.

Planning permission for the 17th century barn to be converted into four offices with car parking spaces for six vehicles was obtained by the Trustees of Roman Catholic Purposes  in November 2014. Mr Armstrong said they now intended to have only  three offices and one of these would be for his wife’s business, Dignicare.

One of the reasons Stirton-with-Thorlby Parish Meeting objected to the new building was because it would reduce the parking spaces to four.  Heather Longbottom, on behalf of the parish meeting, told the planning committee that it would not be possible to park on the road near the barn due to the bends and narrowness of Stirton Lane. Residents, she said, were also concerned about the possible increase in large vehicles  using the lane.

Her husband, Peter Longbottom, questioned the efficiency of biomass heating in the barn conversion and felt that the proposed building would detract from the appearance of the Tithe Barn. He was also concerned about having access to repair the wall between his meadow and the car park at the barn.

Mr Armstrong said that, if in the future more parking spaces were required, there was land available.  He told the committee that only two deliveries of pellets would be required each year and by wagons which were well under the weight restriction on that lane.

They had originally intended to attach the new building to the barn but the Authority’s conservation officer was concerned about the impact of this upon the character of a listed building.

The building will be clad with vertical timber boarding with a mono pitched roof of reclaimed stone slates. One of the conditions was that the flue should be removed should the building no longer be used to house a biomass boiler. The committee agreed with  the request of the parish meeting that the whole building should be removed should that occur.

 

Pip Pointon reports on the YDNPA meetings on a voluntary basis as part of the Association of Rural Communities objective to encourage democracy in the Yorkshire Dales National Park.

Remembrance – John Leyland and the FAU

This story about John Leyland and the Friends Ambulance Unit was included in the Festival of Remembrance exhibition at Aysgarth church, November 9-12, 2018. The exhibition has been left in situ for the next few months.  Juliet Barker mentioned John Leyland in the address she gave at the Remembrance Service on November 11.

 

John Leyland was born in Bainbridge in 1890. His parents sent him to the Quaker school at Ackworth near Pontefract in West Yorkshire and there he learnt the principles of non-violence which made him choose to be a conscientious objector.

In July 1915 it was recorded in the Askrigg section of the Upper Dales Parish Magazine that 30 men had answered the call to serve King and Country. John was listed among those as he had joined the Friends Ambulance Unit (FAU) – group mainly staffed by conscientious objectors.

It was set up at the start of the Great War by a group of Quakers who wanted to offer a service that would save lives. The first party of 44 newly trained me arrived in Dunkirk in October 1914. Their first job was to help the 3,000 wounded soldiers lying on the straw-covered floor of the goods sheds at the railway station.

There was a terrible typhoid epidemic that winter and so the FAU set up the first of its hospitals, the Queen Alexandra at Dunkirk. Two of its hospitals near Ypres cared for the civilians affected by the bombardment of that city and the typhoid epidemic. The FAU had eight hospitals during WW1, four of which were in England, as well as two hospital ships.

The French army medical headquarters asked the FAU to staff and run three of its ambulance convoys (Sections Sanitaires Anglaises) – SSA 13,14 and 19. These French ambulance convoys served the whole length of the Western front during all the major offensives.

The FAU sent over 1,000 men and women to France and Belgium. Between July 1915 and February 1919 its ambulances with the SSA and its ambulance trains carried 224,964 patients, and travelled over two million kilometres. Of the 96 Croix de Guerre awarded by the French government to the FAU 78 were to those with Convoys 13,14 and 19. John Leyland was a member of SSA 14. During WW1 26 members of the FAU were killed including five convoy members.

His son, Peter, said that it had come as a big surprise to local people to hear, at John’s funeral in 1942, that he had been awarded the Croix de Guerre. He had earned that by continuing to drive ambulances to the front line to collect the injured even when the road was being shelled. ‘One day he could see shells popping up the road towards him. As they got nearer he hopped out into the ditch and the next shell hit his ambulance,’ Peter explained.

 

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Above:  John Leyland beside his ambulance; and the ambulance after it was shelled.

Photos copyright Janet Leyland

Many Quakers (members of the Religious Society of Friends) wear the white poppies of the Peace Pledge Union to remember all victims of all wars and to reflect the society’s commitment to peace since 1660.

More about John Leyland from an interview I had with his son, Peter, in 2008:

When he returned to Wensleydale from service with the FAU John was accepted once again as a stalwart of the local community even if many felt he had, as a conscientious objector, “skived” during WW1.

In 1918 he inherited the village grocery and drapery shop started by his great grandfather, Alexander Tiplady after returning from fighting at the battle of Waterloo.

John, like his father, was also a Wensleydale cheese factor, collecting cheeses from the local farms and selling them to retailers throughout the country. He and his wife, Isobel, whom he married in 1919, carried on running the Bainbridge Electric Lighting Company which his father had helped to set up in 1912.

The couple had two sons – Derrick and John, the latter being known locally as Peter. John Snr was chairman of the Aysgarth Board of Guardians, governor of Yorebridge Grammar School, and a member of Aysgarth Rural District Council. He played cricket and also enjoyed playing football with the Bainbridge team.

Peter served with the FAU China Convoy during WW2.

Remembering Pte William Thomas ‘Tot’ Dinsdale

‘Granddad was never the same man again. He was gassed [mustard gas] towards the end of the war. When the Armistice came he was in a hospital somewhere in the Midlands. He was there for a long time. He just got out before the hospital was decimated by Spanish Flue,’ said John Dinsdale of Hawthorn Farm, Thornton Rust. (John is the chairman of Aysgarth and District Parish Council). He continued:

‘Granddad went back to farming at Sedbusk but he was never a fit man. He was always short of breath. If he did anything strenuous he was jiggered. When the lads [his sons] got to be 12 or 13 they did most of the work.

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Above: Tot and Charlotte Anne Dinsdale with their children l-r Thomas (John’s father and also known as ‘Tot’), Alice, Jim, Dorothy, Jack and Margaret.

Below: The kettle presented to Tot Dinsdale by High Abbotside Parish Council in recognition of his service during WW1

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Pte Dinsdale fought with the 1/4th Battalion Yorkshire Regiment throughout most of the war apart from when he was recovering from being wounded, John said.

‘He joined up at Hawes when they first started recruiting – I think there were 15 or 16 of them from the Upper Dale and then they all marched to Leyburn with the rest from the Dale. He thought it was the right thing to do. He was 19 or 20.’

The 4th Yorkshires first experience of trench warfare was during the Battle of Ypres from April to June 1915. The front line battles the battalion was involved with included Armentieres from August to December 1915, the Somme from August to November 1916, Ypres October 1917 (Tot returned to the battalion in time for Passchendaele) to February 1918, and Aisne in May 1918.

At Aisne on May 27 1918 the battalion and others fighting alongside it was decimated by a massive German attack. That was the end of the 4th Yorkshires as a fighting unit during WW1. (from 4thYorkshires.com).

Like many others who returned home after the war Tot found it difficult to talk to anyone about it other than those who had also fought in the trenches. The two he turned to were Anthony and Jack Fawcett, his brothers-in-law, from High Abbotside.

John said: ‘They would go into the far room and shut the door. I’m pretty certain they were talking about the war but as soon as anyone went in they shu7t up. They never talked to us about it. But granddad did talk to my Uncle Ernie – his son-in-law.’ (Ernest Metcalfe)

Anthony ‘Ant’ Fawcett was given a small book of Common Prayer and Hymns Ancient and Modern by his sister Annie (later Mrs Pratt) in February 1914 and he carried that with him throughout the war. From the state of the pages it is obvious that he read some of the hymns a lot such as No230. (See Penny Barker’s address in Remembrance Service at Aysgarth Church)

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Family photo courtesy John Dinsdale. Other photos by Pip Pointon.

Remembrance Service at Aysgarth

For me the Remembrance Service at St Andrew’s Church, Aysgarth, was particularly poignant for several reasons. First, as the names of The Fallen were read each soldier was so real to me after having spent weeks preparing the display for the Festival of Remembrance exhibition. Secondly, my final duty after 14 years as a Community First Responder was to ensure that a wreath from the Yorkshire Ambulance Service was included among those laid below the memorial plaque.

Thirdly, there was the memorable address by Juliet Barker in which she reminded us that World War One was a time when ordinary people did extra-ordinary things. (See below)

About 180 residents attended the Short Acts of Remembrance at village memorials at Aysgarth, Carperby, Thoralby and Thornton Rust that Sunday morning. Many then joined the procession to the church for the Remembrance Service passing the wooden ‘Tommies’ along the drive from the WW1 memorial gates on Church Bank (above). The memorial pillars had been renovated ready for the festival.

The church was full for the service which was led by the Rev Lynn Purvis-Lee and Reader Ian Ferguson.  Wreaths were laid by the  Deputy Lord Lieutenant of North Yorkshire Brigadier David Madden on behalf of the Lord Lieutenant, and Lieutenant Colonel Peter Wade (British Legion), Cllr John Dinsdale  (Aysgarth and District Parish Council) and Neil Piper (Aysgarth church).

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Juliet’s address:

Exactly one hundred years ago today, on the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month, the guns on the Western Front fell silent as the Armistice that was to end the First World War came into force.

While the crowds back home in England went wild with joy, cheering, singing and getting drunk, the men actually serving in the trenches at the time spoke only of a sense of anti-climax. ‘We were drained of all emotion’, one said. ‘You were so dazed you just didn’t realise that you could stand up straight – and not be shot’, said another. Sgt-Major Richard Tobin summed it up:

‘The Armistice came, the day we had dreamed of. The guns stopped, the fighting stopped. Four years of noise and bangs ended in silence. The killings had stopped.

‘We were stunned. I had been out since 1914. I should have been happy. I was sad. I thought of the slaughter, the hardships, the waste and the friends I had lost.’

The scale of the slaughter over those four years is unimaginable, even by our standards today, and the statistics are worth repeating. Across Europe nine million soldiers died. A third of all British men who were aged between 19 and 22 in 1914 were killed.

At small public schools, which provided most of the officers, the proportion was even higher: the headmaster of Loretto, near Edinburgh, (who lost three of his own sons) observed that every boy who had left school fit to serve over the four years of the war had joined the army: over half of them had been killed or wounded.

Even on the very day of the Armistice itself, 863 Commonwealth soldiers were killed – the last one, Private George Price, a Canadian, who was shot by a sniper in Mons, died at just two minutes to 11.

This was a war that affected the whole of our country on an unprecedented scale. Although it was the big industrial towns with their ‘Pals’ regiments who suffered the heaviest losses, it is worth observing that out of all the 13,702 civil parishes in England and Wales only 53 or 54 welcomed back alive every man who had left to serve – the so-called ‘Thankful Villages’.

Statistics like these may give us some idea of the sheer numbers who died but what they cannot do is reveal the devastating human impact of each and every one of those deaths: the bereaved parents, the wives made widows, the orphaned children, the women who would never marry because a third of their generation of young men had been wiped out. Nor do they tell us of the lasting impact on those who survived, but had to live with sometimes horrific physical and mental injuries; or the many hundreds, if not thousands, who died of what was classified as influenza or TB – though in fact it was actually the result of being gassed.

Every Remembrance Sunday we pledge ‘We will remember them’. But even if we honour their sacrifice, how can we actually ‘remember’ people we don’t know? And as the years pass, fewer and fewer of us can claim to have known anyone who lived through, or fought in, the Great War of 1914 to 1918. When their names on the war memorial are read out, how many of us know who these men were? How many of us have wondered, like me, if repeating the name of Pte Matthew Heseltine is simply a mistake?

This centenary year of the signing of the Armistice seemed a particularly appropriate time for us to hold our Festival of Remembrance – an opportunity for us to come together as a community so that we could gather and preserve the stories of the men and women from our parish who served in WWI, before they are lost forever. So when you hear Pte Matthew Heseltine’s name read out twice, you will now know that it is not a mistake, and that these two young men were cousins from farming families in Thoralby and Newbiggin, who not only shared a name, but enlisted into the same regiment on the same day and, aged 21 and 22, were killed in action at the Somme – on the same day, 14th September 1916.

And you’ll also know that Pte John Percival of the Motor Corps, who is buried in a Commonwealth War Grave in our churchyard, was actually 21-year-old Jack, son of the huntsman of the Wensleydale Harriers, who fought all through the Somme in the Yorkshire Regiment alongside the Heseltine cousins, and was only transferred to the Motor Corps after being severely wounded. Sent back to France, he was badly gassed in October 1917, discharged as unfit for further service and brought home by his family to die. Jack has the dubious distinction of being commemorated on more local memorials than any other man from our parish.

For every man on our memorial there is a story: 19-year-old Pte William Edmund Bushby, who won the Croix de Guerre but was killed in action only nine days before the Armistice; 28-year-old Gunner Timothy Spensley Percival who died of his wounds five days after it; 26-year-old Pte George Sydney Gould and 28-year-old Pte James Pickard Bell, who had both emigrated to Canada in search of employment and a better life, as so many young Dalesmen did during the first decade of the 20th century, but returned to fight in defence of king and country, and were killed for their altruism.

But there are also men born in the parish whose names had already slipped from memory when the memorials were erected in the years immediately after the war: Pte Albert Dinsdale Bell, of Thoralby, for instance, who was killed in action on the Western Front in 1917 and Pte Walter Percival, of Thornton Rust, who was only 19 when he died of dysentery as a Prisoner of War in France.

Thanks to the extensive research undertaken by Penny Ellis, our First World War Roll of Honour for The Fallen of our parish has now risen from 20 to 32 men. But what the new Roll of Honour also does is commemorate the service and sacrifice of the men – and women – from this parish – 193 of them – who went to war, but came back again.

One of the popular vaudeville songs about American soldiers returning from France posed the question in its chorus ‘How ‘ya gonna keep ‘em down on the Farm? (After they’ve seen Paree)’. The idea that there was a wider world outside the small farming communities in which they had hitherto spent their lives was one which certainly spoke to some of the women who joined the Voluntary Aid Detachment.

May Heseltine, who served as a nurse in Egypt and lost her brother and cousin in the war, had no intention of returning to Thoralby once it was over, choosing instead to take up a nursing career in America. Madge Blades, who trained with her, would also have liked to remain a professional nurse in Leeds, but succumbed to family pressure to return home, becoming instead the pharmacist at the doctor’s surgery in Aysgarth – and organist at this church for a remarkable 69 years.

By contrast, the men who had lived through the horrors of the trenches and served at the Front, seem to have been quite content to return to the Dales and pick up the threads of their old lives as far as they were able to do so. Many of them had been injured, some of them repeatedly, and some of them endured constant pain; some of them had been gassed and would suffer from breathing problems for the rest of their lives, which were often cut short because of their wartime experiences. We live in an over-sharing age, but these men kept the burden of their terrible memories to themselves: only when they were with other veterans would they feel able to talk freely – and would always fall silent if someone else entered the room.

John Leyland’s friends and neighbours would only learn at his funeral in 1942 that this staunch Quaker and conscientious objector had won the Croix de Guerre for driving ambulances to the front line, under heavy shelling, to collect the wounded.

And despite everything that had happened to them, most of them kept their faith and remained stalwarts of church and chapel. Some of the most poignant exhibits we have on show are examples of this: the tiny Bible, carved with a nail out of a piece of marble from the rubble of Ypres cathedral in 1918 by a local stonemason – whose family are still local stonemasons; the well-thumbed prayer and hymn book (see Pte W T Dinsdale) which accompanied a soldier to the Front and falls open at his favourite hymn:

‘There is a blessèd home

Beyond this land of woe

Where trials never come

Nor tears of sorrow flow…

There is a land of peace

God’s angels know it well ….

Look up you saints of God

Nor fear to tread below

The path your Saviour trod

Of daily toil and woe.

For Ant Fawcett, and the thousands of men like him facing the sheer horror and terror of daily life – and death – on the Front Line; experiencing the worst that human beings can, and do, inflict on each other; there was comfort and hope in trusting and believing in a Saviour – our Saviour – who shared both our humanity and its sufferings. A Saviour who, in that inspirational Gospel reading we heard today, commanded His followers to love one another, as He had loved them.

This goes to the heart of Christian teaching. Love is not only stronger than death, it is the path to life and to salvation. It is selfless and therefore it is sacrificial. ‘Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends’ Jesus told His disciples as He prepared to go to His own death so that we, his friends, might have eternal life. His words appear on so many of our war memorials because they reflect the sacrifice made by so many who also gave their lives for those whom they loved.

If our Festival of Remembrance does nothing else, I hope it pays appropriate tribute to the so-called ‘ordinary’ men and women of our dale who, not of their own choosing, were called upon to do extra-ordinary things.

In a period when hatred and violence seemed all-powerful, they demonstrated time and again the selflessness of love: love for their families and friends back home (‘Don’t tell mother so much about it’ one young man drafted into a tank unit nick-named ‘The Suicide Club’ writes home to his brother, ‘I know she will take it badly’). And love for their comrades whose lives they held dearer than their own in the hell on earth that was the battlefields and trenches of the First World War.

By telling some of their stories I hope that we will be able to say, with renewed conviction and greater understanding than before: ‘We will remember them.’

(Photo of front page of the Northern Echo Tuesday, 12 November 1918, courtesy of John Suggitt. A copy of the front page of that newspaper is still on display on the Home Front board in Aysgarth church.)

For photos of the Festival see Aysgarth Festival of Remembrance.

(Sadly I had to resign as a community first responder due to back problems)

Aysgarth Festival of Remembrance

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(above l-r: Rishi Sunak MP, Richard and Christine Tuer, and Ann and Stuart Guy, studying the Roll of Honour created by Penny Ellis for Aysgarth ecclesiastical parish. 

Over 1,000 people including school children participated in the Festival of Remembrance events hosted by Aysgarth church from November 9 to 12.  (Click on the photo above to see more pictures of the festival)

‘That’s the value of what you have done – bringing together the many communities in an act of remembrance and a mark of remembering and paying tribute to the sacrifice of those who gave up their freedom so that we might enjoy ours today,’ Richmondshire MP Rishi Sunak said when he officially opened the festival of Friday November 9.

Mr Sunak took time to study the Roll of Honour created by Penny Ellis which listed 193 men and women from Aysgarth, Bishopdale, Carperby, Thoralby, Thornton Rust, West Burton and Walden who served during WW1. The stories of some of them were told in the festival exhibition. In her address at the Remembrance Service on Sunday Juliet Barker said: ‘If our Festival of Remembrance does nothing else, I hope it pays appropriate tribute to the so-called “ordinary “ men and women of our dale who, not of their own choosing, were called upon to do extra-ordinary things.’

The Vicar, the Rev Lynn Purvis-Lee, praised what she described as the amazing team which had planned and prepared the festival and especially thanked the sponsors. These were: Aysgarth and District Parish Council, the Richmondshire Area Partnership Fund, Tennants of Leyburn, The Wensleydale and Swaledale Quaker Meeting, Lambert’s Florists of Leyburn, Outhwaite Ropemakers of Hawes, RCP Parking Ltd, the Wensleydale Creamery and Campbells of Leyburn.

Lynn thanked those in the parish who had knitted poppies and made the paper ones for the ‘waterfall’ of poppies which cascaded over the altar. This began with 1,100 poppies and grew throughout the weekend as visitors made more.

Juliet Barker chaired the committee which worked for more than a year on the arrangements for the festival.This included an inspiring flower festival, organised by Barbara Hadlow, with floral displays depicting the battles and poets of WW1 created by the ladies of the church’s congregation and friends from Wensleydale Flower Club. Many gasped with admiration as they entered the church and saw Hazel Oliver’s ‘War Horse’ (below). And that sense of wonder continued as they viewed all the other floral displays.

(Click on the photo of the ‘War Horse’ to see more pictures of the Flower Festival.)

WarHorse

On the Saturday afternoon over 250 people attended what many described as a brilliant and very moving Concert of WW1 Words and Music in the church. The music was provided by the Hawes Silver Band, the Aysgarth Singers and the children of The Songbirds community choir based in West Burton.

The music was interspersed with readings under the headings ‘The oubreak of war’, ‘Fraternising with the enemy’, ‘Life and death in the trenches’, ‘The horrors of war’, ‘Women at war’ and ‘The Armistice’. Many of the readings had considerable impact because those quoted were ordinary soldiers rather than poets.  Juliet Barker, who was one of the readers, said: ‘We have deliberately chosen to use a larger number of less familiar pieces which voice the first-hand experience of the ordinary men and women who lived through The Great War.’ The other readers were Sophie Barker, Heather Limbach and David Poole.

The end of the first half was especially moving as, after everyone sang Lead Kindly Light the lights were turned out and there was silence as the Remembrance Candle was lit.

I especially liked the fact that the concert did not celebrate war but rather celebrated the human spirit.

On Monday November 12, 90 school children from Askrigg, Bainbridge and West Burton schools (many with their parents and grandparents) spent over an hour at the church.

This gave them an opportunity to see and touch the WWI memorabilia brought along by a curator of the Green Howards Museum in Richmond, and also to find some of the gravestones in the churchyard on which the soldiers of two world wars have been remembered. For the latter they used the pictorial guide which I produced for the festival.

Throughout Saturday, Sunday and Monday there was a steady flow of visitors with some returning to spend more time in the exhibition and to enjoy the floral displays and excellent homemade refreshments. The exhibition created by Penny Ellis and myself will remain in the church after the festival.

The Roll of Honour can be viewed on the WW1 section of Penny’s website, Thoralby Through Time.

Photos copyright Pip Pointon

February to November 2018

ARC News Service local democracy reports on YDNPA planning meetings in 2017 provided on a  voluntary basis by Pip Pointon. Below are reports on the decisions made regarding applications from the following towns and villages: Appletreewick, Arkengarthdale,  Bainbridge, Bolton Abbey Estate, Coverham (Forbidden Corner) , Dent, Embsay, Fremington, Grassington, Hartlington, Hartlington Raikes, Hawes,  Hebden,  Kettlewell, Long Preston,  Malham , Maulds Meaburn,    Newbiggin-on-Lune, Oughtershaw, Rylstone, Stalling Busk,  Swaledale (telecommunications masts,Thoralby, Threshfield, West Witton.

The issues discussed included telecommunication masts in deeply rural areas (see also Swaledale Telecommunication Masts below), and barn conversions.  See also the appeal decision regarding an application to convert Tup Gill Lathe near Kettlewell.

There are no reports from the August meeting (due to my wedding celebrations) nor from that in October (as I was ill).

Quote of the year:

At a meeting of Aysgarth and District Parish Council the chairman of the YDNPA planning committee, Richmondshire District councillor Caroline Thornton Berry was asked about inconsistencies in how applications for garages had been dealt with in a Dales village.

Cllr Thornton Berry replied: “You are dealing with humans and the planning officers are all different. They all have different takes on everything. That’s what you are up against. There is no total consistency.”

Transparency and Accountability:

The Association of Rural Communities was very concerned that the planning department was becoming less transparent and accountable. In June it made the following statement to the planning committee:

“At the Full Authority meeting in September 2017 [YDNPA] Members agreed that the functions of the Authority’s Development Management should be streamlined.

“One of the criteria was that the information should already be readily accessible to Members and the general public. It was argued, therefore, that the monthly list of decisions made by officers under delegated powers was unnecessary because there was a wealth of information about planning applications available on the Authority’s website. It was stated that this data could be searched by date and location in any parish.

“The emphasis there should be on ‘in any parish’. There are now 112 parishes in the National Park. We would estimate that it could take two days to carry out an overview of decisions regarding any one issue such as barn conversions. That is not making information easily accessible to either Members or to the general public.

“In fact, the Association of Rural Communities would argue that information is remaining hidden especially as it can be very difficult even for Members to contact individual officers. The standard auto-reply from one officer urges enquirers to contact him by email, stressing how difficult it is to maintain contact by telephone.

“We do understand that the planning service is under-staffed and under pressure – but surely in the 21st century it is possible to generate lists of decisions by officers and to make those available on the Authority’s website? This would greatly improve the transparency and accountability that the Authority has stated it wishes to achieve.”

This request was refused – and so that lack of transparency continues, as it does in other ways.

When studying planning applications it is frustrating that the YDNPA does not make it possible to view all the comments it receives unlike Richmondshire District Council. Residents in Middleham could read all the arguments for and against a proposed glamping site in a field north of Curlew Barn on East Witton Road, Middleham (17/00892), Middleham, compared to what was available about the Forbidden Corner applications on the YDNPA website. The ARC News Service can – and does – report on what is said during the five minutes allocated to objectors at planning committee meetings. The written objections, however, often give far more detail.

Debate about barn  conversions at the June meeting

Even strong legal advice about the consequences did not stop the majority of the members confirming that two barns – at  Oughtershaw and Hartlington Raikes – could be converted into dwellings.

Parish council representative Ian McPherson told the meeting: “We [the Authority] went to the trouble to get Counsel’s opinion. It is a very thorough and detailed opinion. If we don’t stick to policy … we will be letting ourselves in for the consequences as Counsel sets out.

He added that those members who agreed to approve the applications after such advice were on a different planet to him.

Julie Martin commented that if they breached their own criteria it would be difficult in the future to adhere to the policies in the Authority’s Local Plan and Jocelyn Manners-Armstrong reminded the committee: “Our policy is basically a conservation  based policy – and that is our primary purpose.”

Richard Graham, the head of development management, summed up the Counsel’s advice by stating that consideration had to be given to the impact  upon the character and appearance of a traditional barn, its landscape setting and upon the historic significance of the building.

Most of the committee, however, did not agree with the planning officer that the conversion of both of the barns should be refused because the proposed alterations would detract from their heritage significance and the landscape. The planning officer also argued that the proposed extension to that at Oughtershaw was significantly too large.

North Yorkshire County Councillor John Blackie pointed out that Counsel had stated it was possible to have a large extension or alteration that did not have a significant effect on a building, just as it was possible for a small extension or alteration to have a significant impact. So just measuring an extension did not reveal if it’s size was significant or not.

He added that the converted barn without the extension to house a utility room would not suit the needs of a young farmer with a family living in such a remote place as Oughtershaw.

Parish council representative Chris Clark said: “If that barn is not converted it will fall down. It is already deteriorating and there are holes in the roof. I would rather see a family in a roadside barn with the extension than have a barn which falls down.Its only a few yards away from Oughtershaw hamlet.”

The planning officer had also argued that the barn at Hartlington Raikes was too far away from the road to be described as a roadside barn.

North Yorkshire County Councillor Robert Heseltine reminded the members that an appeal inspector had overturned the Authority’s decision to refuse a barn conversion at Tug Gill Lathe near Starbotton which was a similar distance from a road.

He did, however, want the Authority to reconsider its policy of allowing dual use of such barn conversions, removing the permission for holiday lets and retaining just that for local occupancy. And he did not like the use of telescopic lenses on cameras when officers were seeking to illustrate what they believed would be the impact upon the landscape.

“It is important to take care of the landscape but also to care for the people who live here,” said Richmondshire District councillor Yvonne Peacock. She added that it was proving very hard to get new affordable  homes built in the National Park and so barn conversions were very important.

Appletreewick – February

A planning officer’s recommendation to approve a retrospective application to retain an area of hard-standing near the New Inn in Appletreewick was accepted. This was on condition that there was an approved Management Plan and that only pre-organised groups will have the right to camp at the site.

The Management Plan would include the provision that the field gate should remain shut and locked at all times with only authorised key holders able to have access. This would be in accordance with the requests made by Appletreewick Parish Council. Residents are also concerned about how the security of the site is monitored and the control of litter and noise.

The hard standing was created by Yorkshire Water when it was carrying out work at the sewage works. It was reported that the owner does plan to cover it with earth from the site and then to seed it with grass.

Some residents had questioned the size of the hard standing but the planning officer believed that it was needed to accommodate up to six cars and three larger vehicles carrying equipment when Scout groups were camping at the site.

Arkengarthdale – November

There was unanimous approval for the application by the Upper Dales Community Land Trust Ltd to build four affordable homes for rent in perpetuity on land adjacent to the Methodist Church in Langthwaite, Arkengarthdale.

Arkengarthdale Parish councillor John Watkins told the members that when he bought his home in Arkengarthdale 20 years ago it cost him less than £70,000. Today it would sell for around £270,000. ‘For me that is simply not affordable. Home ownership in Arkengarthdale and indeed the rest of the Dales is now the privilege of the older and the fairly well off. And that’s why our communities are dying off in my opinion. What is badly needed are nice affordable homes to rent such as the ones under consideration here’.

The chairman of Arkengarthdale Parish Council, Stephen Stubbs, said: ‘Arkengarthdale Parish Council is very excited abut the prospect of four affordable homes being built for rent for perpetuity in Arkengarthdale. They’ll be primarily for young people to live in, and will encourage them to bring up their families here and so keep the future bright for our deeply rural communities, because a Dale without the presence of young families does not have a future at all.’

Mr Stubbs and Mr Watkins are both directors of the Upper Dales Community Land Trust. Another director,  North Yorkshire County councillor John Blackie, told the planning committee how important the development was to Arkengarthdale and then went and sat with the public and took no further part in the meeting.

The planning officer commented: ‘This is an encouraging proposal for community-led housing made by a community land trust that would help increase the supply of local housing for the local community. The proposal would address a proven local need that is supported by the Housing Authority and there are no alternative sites within the housing development boundary that could deliver affordable housing.’

Richmondshire District councillor Yvonne Peacock said that such community-led housing schemes were an excellent way to solve the problem of providing affordable homes.

The YDNPA’s member champion for development management, Jim Munday, said after the meeting: ‘It is very encouraging to see this community-led housing scheme being proposed. The Upper Dales Community Land Trust, led by John Blackie, deserves considerable credit for making it happen.

‘The Authority has been pleased to be able work closely with the Trust, the local community and the housing authority, Richmondshire District Council.’

Bainbridge – February

The committee also approved the application to construct five affordable dwellings on land to the rear of the Rose and Crown.

Bainbridge Parish Council supported this and had pointed out that the real incomes of farmers and those employed in agriculture had substantially declined in the last few years to a point that open market housing was no longer affordable.

“Above all councillors felt that they wanted to be able to keep local people in the place where they want to be.”

But some residents are not sure the proposed development could be described as affordable housing and so set up the Holmbrae 2016 Residents Group. The planning committee deferred a decision in December because this group threatened legal action.

The Authority reported that In a letter from its solicitors this month  the Holmbrae 2016 Residents Group reaffirmed its position that it would seek to quash any decision to approve the application by way of judicial review. The letter, it said, reiterated previous objections based around the lack of evidence that the dwellings would be affordable and attached a report that they have had prepared by a consultant. The report disagreed with the need for five affordable dwellings within Bainbridge Parish, argued that alternative infill sites have not been fully considered, questioned the support for discount for sale properties rather than requiring affordable rented accommodation, and disputed the affordability of the proposed dwellings to those in housing need.

The planning officer has recommended that the application should be approved. He reported that even though the area behind the Rose and Crown was outside the housing development boundary it could be considered as an exception site as long as it was a small scale development where all the  houses were all restricted by legal agreements to be “affordable” to local residents who were in housing need “on a cascade basis”.  There was, he said, a considerable backlog in the provision of affordable homes in the Upper Dales.

He believed the new houses would reflect the character and appearance of other dwellings nearby and would have no negative impact upon the conservation area or on the amenity of other residents.

He stated: “The National Park has a static (potentially declining) and ageing population – a serious demographic problem identified in the Local Plan. The Authority’s Housing Strategy aims to release more land for housing to address this problem and support the social and economic well-being of local communities. The provision of more housing for sale to local people at a price below the market price in Bainbridge will contribute to the strategy and support the sustainability of the community.

Cllr Peacock said that such community-led housing schemes were an excellent way to solve the problem of providing affordable homes.

The YDNPA’s member champion for development management, Jim Munday, said after the meeting: ‘It is very encouraging to see this community-led housing scheme being proposed. The Upper Dales Community Land Trust, led by John Blackie, deserves considerable credit for making it happen.

‘The Authority has been pleased to be able work closely with the Trust, the local community and the housing authority, Richmondshire District Council.’

Bainbridge – November

The committee unanimously approved the application to build five ‘affordable dwellings’ on land at the rear of the Rose and Crown.

Cllr Peacock stated that the term “affordable housing” did not just mean to rent but also to buy. She explained:

“There are many, many local people who want to live and work in the Yorkshire Dales National Park who would not be eligible for property and they cannot afford to rent on the open market, which is now evidently higher than any mortgage. And they cannot afford to buy open market houses. They are in housing need. In the last six months a huge amount of work has gone into making sure that these are affordable houses.”

She was supported by Cllr Blackie who said that unless there was a 30 per cent discount on the new houses many local people would not be able to afford them because of the price increases caused by properties being bought for second homes and holiday accommodation. The committee was told that 30 per cent of the housing in the National Park was now holiday accommodation.

“Bainbridge is thriving but it still needs young families. Without young families your community does not have a future.” he added.

The six month delay in approving this application was due to a review being commissioned by the YDNPA following the threat by the Holmbrae Residents Group (HRG) that legal action might be taken.  The HRG questioned that the development at Bainbridge would be in accordance with Local Plan policy in respect of assessing the need for such affordable housing. It added: ‘The Authority has adopted a flawed approach to the question of whether the development can be described as affordable housing taking into account local incomes.’

In his report to the November meeting the head of development management, Richard Graham, stated that, even with the discount, two of the houses would only be affordable to those with the highest earnings available in National Park. With the discount the cost of the  three-bedroom houses has been estimated at £185,000,  £196,00 and £182,000, and the two-bedroom houses at £147,000 each.

Mr Graham  pointed out that the number of private lettings in the Upper Dales has fallen dramatically from a high of 92 lettings in 2012 to just nine in 2017. In the same period the median rent had increased from £477 a month to  £594pcm. He reported that most of the cheaper houses which those on low incomes could buy were small stone built cottages that were more expensive to heat and were often in remote areas and had no gardens. He added that insufficient affordable houses were being built each year to fulfil the estimated need.

The new houses at Bainbridge would, he said, be built to modern building regulations and would have adequate parking and garden space for families. In addition to each house being subject to legal agreements which will apply the 30 per cent discount with a local occupancy restriction there will also be a clause restricting purchasers to those in housing need. This would be vetted by Richmondshire District Council as the housing authority.

Mr Graham stated: “The Authority’s Housing Strategy seeks to widen the range of affordable housing to meet the needs of local families and first time buyers and attract younger working households to live in the National Park.” He added that there were no suitable sites within the housing development boundaries of the Upper Dales villages. That at Bainbridge is outside the housing development boundary and so comes under the policy for rural exception sites.

Bolton Abbey – September

It would be a sacrilege to change a 200-year-old barn at Bolton Abbey in any substantial way, Cllr  Heseltine, told the committee  – and the majority of the members agreed with him.

Lancashire County Council councillor Cosima Towneley, however,  reminded the committee that the agent, John Steel, had warned that if permission was refused the Chatsworth Settlement Trustees of the Bolton Abbey Estate would not appeal. “Why should anyone pour any more effort into a building which is absolutely no use?” she asked.

At present all that the public can see of it is the corrugated roof Mr Steel said. He explained that the Estate expected the cost of converting the barn into a two-bedroom holiday let, including using insulated dry lining for most of the interior, to cost just under half a million pounds.

The planning officer commented: “The internal finish …would have the appearance of a modern property. The proposed dry lining of this building would harm its heritage significance and could put the long-term survival of its fabric and features at risk of accelerated decay.” He stated that insulated lime plaster would be better as it was a breathable material.

The Estate, however, believed that if lime plaster was used the barn would not be fit for use as a holiday home, said Mr Steel. He added that the Estate had submitted seven sets of amended plans during its discussions with the Authority and Historic England. One of the biggest changes had been to agree to thatch the roof with ling (heather). “This will be sourced from the Estate as it would have been when the barn was originally built,” he explained.

The planning officer reported that the large threshing barn and adjacent walled-off cow house dated from the 17th Century or early 18th Century and was one of the largest surviving example of its type in the northern English uplands. It has partly reset cruck trusses, low eaves  and remnants  of heather thatching under the sheeting on the roof. The cow house, he said, had a particularly wide doorway which, it was believed, was widened in the late 18th C to accommodate the famous 1,132kg (312 stone) Craven Heifer.

Historic England assessed the barn and cow shed as a listed building in November 2017  about four months after the Estate applied to convert it. Some of the committee members agreed with the Authority’s  listed building officer that conversion to any domestic use, including holiday accommodation, would have a detrimental effect on the high heritage significance of the building.

The planning officer told the members that until a few weeks prior to the meeting the officers had hoped to come to an agreement with the Estate but then there were problems concerning what type of interior wall covering to use and the proposed car parking and curtilage area. He said that an alternative parking area had been suggested which the Authority and Historic England believed would have a less damaging impact upon the historic layout beside the barn.

“Because the applicants are not prepared to change [these] we reluctantly recommend refusal,” he stated.

Cllr Allen Kirkbride, the parish member for the Upper Dales, commented: “I am very disappointed there hasn’t been agreement between the two parties. It is a historic building [and] what has been done to the roof is criminal.”

He voted in line with Bolton Abbey Parish  Council which had not objected to the proposal but the majority of the members  accepted the officer’s recommendation.

Coverham– February

Middleham Town Council  did not object to Bell Barn being re-developed to provide catering facilities beside the Saddle Rooms but pointed out that this was yet another retrospective application, requested more conditions and suggested that the owner should be asked to pay towards the cost of repairing the road to this tourist attraction.

It stated: “Council notes that this is a further retrospective application and is unhappy that this appears to be an established practice by this applicant [Colin Armstrong]. The important contribution of the site to the local economy is fully recognised by the council, indeed we include the Forbidden Corner within our Middleham business forum and wish to support them as we do all other local businesses and enterprise.

“It is disappointing always only to be able to comment in retrospect, when construction has been undertaken without any permission. Planning rules apply equally to all businesses and residents.”

The council is also concerned about the road conditions around Forbidden Corner. It pointed out that there would be an inevitable increase in traffic levels along the narrow roads through Middleham and past the Low Moor racehorse training gallops. These, it said, were not maintained for heavy use and the surfaces deteriorated rapidly.

It added: “The council wishes the planning authority to consider placing a condition that the applicant should contribute towards the additional costs of retexturing the road, particularly from West End, Middleham to Tupgill Park entrance, including taking account of the surfacing needs for use by ridden, shod horses.”

It also asked for a condition which will protect racehorses on Low Moor. It stated: “Council asks the planning authority to take account that there is no vehicular right of access … across Low Moor to the northerly entrance to Tupgill Park. The Moors are  held in trust by the council and leased to Middleham Trainers’ Association. The route is clearly signed as a private road and Public Bridleway only.”

It was now, however, being frequently used  by large goods vehicles and delivery vans going to and from the Forbidden Corner. As a result it was very worn and damaged causing considerable risks to valuable racehorses and their riders.

It continued: “Council objects strongly to extending opening hours for the altered structure: business hours for the Forbidden Corner have been restricted on grounds of the potential danger to ridden horses and disturbance created by vehicles moving through Middleham at night and during the morning training hours from dawn to 1pm.”

The opening hours considered acceptable for Bell Barn by the planning officer are 12am to 11pm Monday to Saturday, and 12am to 9pm on Sundays and Public Holidays.

While the YDNPA’s visitor services manager commented that the re-development of Bell Barn was positive in terms of local employment, local services and produce, and the wider tourism economy, the senior  listed building officer was less impressed.

The latter stated: “The application has failed to adequately take into account or conserve the heritage significance of the site or of the recently demolished stable block. The replacement building includes details which imitate traditional features, but without any demonstrable historic context, and is likely to give a false impression of the site and its historic development.”

The planning officer’s recommendation to approve was accepted by the committee.

He reported: “The re-development of the  courtyard building which has occurred has created an additional indoor visitor facility at an existing visitor attraction and has potential benefits for the local community.

“Although the development has resulted in loss of part of an undesignated heritage asset the former stables are not considered as having been worth of retention for their own sake.

“The siting, design and appearance of the redeveloped courtyard building is considered to be acceptable and has not caused significant harm to the landscape, residential amenity or highways safety.”

Coverham – June

Yet another retrospective planning application for a site connected to Forbidden Corner at Tupgill Park, Coverdale drew an exasperated sigh from Cllr McPherson.

But a planning officer said that as most of the application site was hidden from view the work which had been carried out would have little impact upon the landscape. The committee, therefore, accepted his recommendation to approve the application for permission for grading and drainage channels on land to the rear of the Ashgill buildings, the provision of rear access, parking areas, construction of an oil tank compound, planting, landscaping an ancillary works. The application was described as part retrospective as not all the work had been completed.

Cllr  McPherson commented: “Whenever I see an application with Tupgill Park on it my heart sinks, simply because I know it’s going to be retrospective. I would like them to know we really have had enough.”

The planning officer explained that there had been a significant development in the working relationship between the owner of Tupgill Park and the YDNPA. The Authority had received one application (for the demolition of Ashgill Cottage) prior to work starting, and another for an extension to Ghyll Cottage where work had only just started. The application to demolish Ashgill Cottage and replace it with a building containing four self-catering holiday units had been withdrawn, he added.

The Ashgill complex, he reported, was on the hillside above the Forbidden Corner and consisted of the main  house, several cottages, stable buildings, yards and a  horse walker. It was, he said, a commercial race horse training and equestrian centre.

Middleham Town Council informed the Authority that it had several concerns about the application. These included the “piecemeal development on a large site with no coherent design strategy”, the consistent pattern of retrospective applications and the use of the private road to the north of the site.

The  Council stated: “There is ongoing vehicle traffic from the site across Middleham Low Moor owned by this Council and leased to Middleham Trainers’ Associaition. It causes undue wear on a private road and affects the horses under training and crosses a bridleway. The operators of the Forbidden Corner make no attempt to restrict this.”

In response the planning officer observed: “The proposal is a comprehensive solution to the access, parking and drainage issues affecting a definable area of the Ashgill complex.

“As the private road [is] owned by Middleham Town Council they would know who has the right of access and can control it accordingly. The National Park’s Access  Ranger notes that the right of way is indirectly affected but has not objected.”

Dent – November

A small barn next to the Stone Cross in Main Street, Dent, can be converted into a three-bedroom holiday let even though Dent Parish Council strongly objected.

The majority of the planning committee agreed, however, that it was better to let it be converted than for it to fall down.

South Lakeland District councillor Ian Mitchell told members that the parish council’s main argument was that converting the barn into a holiday let did not meet the YDNPA’s policy on sustainable development.

The parish council had stated: ‘Increasing the number of properties in Dentdale that are available as holiday lets does not contribute to the sustainability of the community. There are already holiday lets in the village which are under utilised (some being empty for many months including during the summer). There is a need for housing for local occupancy and the constant sale of property to be converted to holiday lets means there are less opportunities for local housing.

“If something is not done about this now, the community will die. The loss of the primary school would be a tragedy in this community and without housing for families this will happen. The Census revealed that the population has stopped growing for the first time since 1970.

“The existing open market housing stock remains very attractive to people wishing to retire to the National Park, while this external demand pushes up prices beyond the reach of many local families and first time buyers. The Census also revealed that 22 per cent of housing is now second homes or holiday lets.”

In response the planning officer said: ‘While the views expressed by the parish council are understood and it is recognised that there is an acute need for more local occupancy dwellings across the National Park generally, it is important to remember that the conversion of traditional buildings (acceptable uses) policy is a conservation orientated policy not a housing policy.

“The aim of the policy is to secure the long term future of traditional buildings in a manner that conserves their intrinsic value in locations able to accommodate the intensity of the new use.”

Embsay –April

The committee agreed with Embsay with Eastby Parish Council that a raised patio in Brackenley Lane would have an unacceptable impact upon the amenity of neighbours.

Embsay with Eastby parish councillor Judith Benjamin told the meeting that those standing on the 60cm (almost 2ft) high patio could look directly into the garden and a private room next door. She said that this would be a breach of the Authority’s own guidelines to avoid  any tall extensions along a boundary which would be overbearing or dominating if viewed from a neighbour’s window or sitting out space.

She added that the two metre high fence proposed with the approval of the planning officer would not remedy this, and that the fence would be overbearing and over-shadow the neighbour’s garden.  “The only logical solution would be a reduction in the height of the patio.”

She also asked that the width of the patio should be decreased so that it did not reach up to the neighbour’s boundary.

The planning officer had stated “The construction of the raised patio is unfortunate as it is an  un-neighbourly development which gives the neighbours a perception that their privacy is more greatly affected that would be the case if the patio was at ground level. Nevertheless it is considered that the patio does not afford a greater degree of overlooking … The proposed two metre high fence will screen views from seated patio users and will help to reduce the perception of overlooking.”

Cllr Heseltine agreed with the parish council that the patio was an un-neighbourly extension as people would stand there and so be able to see much more.

When the majority voted to refuse the application Mr Graham commented that this could lead to enforcement action. He said the decision would have to be ratified at next month’s meeting.

This decision was confirmed at the meeting in May. The members agreed it was high enough to have a significantly harmful  impact upon the privacy and residential amenity of a neighbour.

Fremington  – Dales Bike Centre

The new management plan for the Dales Bike Centre must be enforced Cllr Blackie told the committee.

Like the rest of the committee he fully approved of the plans put forward by Stuart and Brenda Price to double the size of the Dales Bike Centre at Fremington in Swaledale. But the committee had heard that some residents were unhappy especially as the Bike Centre had not complied with the planning conditions included with the original permission ten years ago.

Paul Evans, on behalf of the residents in Low Fremington, told the committee that, contrary to the original planning conditions, the café was not only being used by cyclists but by other day trippers who arrived by car. He said that residents had not complained about breaches in planning conditions and any disturbances because they had tried to be good neighbours.

He continued: “This new proposal will result in a much large scale 24-hour a day operation which we are told we now have to police by the way of a telephone number – and the impact will increase dramatically.

“Very limited steps have been taken to relieve our concerns. The best we are offered is a six-foot wooden fence that may be better than the previous screening which was never delivered.

“This is a huge development dwarfing the village and creating a tourism hub in a residential location. It has been claimed this will have no impact on either the landscape or local amenity. However, we would say this view has been influenced and skewed by the potential economic gain.”

He asked if the car parking area at the Bike Centre could be moved away from nearby properties and a high stone wall in place of the wooden fence.

Mrs Price said: “We have made every effort to minimise the impact and considered how to manage the expanded business. We are deeply passionate about our community and take an active part in it. “We felt our home village of Fremington was an ideal location to tackle the emerging cycle tourism market. It’s been an amazing time. We have been part of a huge explosion in cycling and cycle tourism in the Yorkshire Dales.

“Our development will provide the vital infrastructure to support the Swale Trail and capitalise on the legacies of the Tour de Yorkshire whilst allowing us to be at the forefront of cycling in Yorkshire.”

Cllr Blackie said how grateful he was for such entrepreneurs who supported the local economy and local communities as well as providing so much pleasure and enjoyment for visiting cyclists.

Cllr Peacock agreed stating: “This application is spot on. We have got to try and encourage people and this is a good way to do it. They [Mr and Mrs Price] have done a wonderful job.”When members asked about the original planning conditions not being kept they were assured that the new management plan would be secured with a section 106 legal agreement.

Grassington – March

There was a unanimous vote in favour of allowing New Dyke Barn on Hebden Road near Grassington to be converted into a three bedroom dwelling for either local occupancy or a holiday let.

Grassington Parish Council had originally objected to the application because of concerns about the safety of the access onto Hebden Road. “Traffic leaving the access is doing so blindly and this could cause numerous accidents. There was a fatality there a number of years ago and the concern is that if that access was opened and used again another could occur,” the parish council reported.

“The access to the site is currently to the east of the barn which has been identified as unsafe,” the planning officer said. She told the meeting that the proposal now included a new access and parking area on the western side and this had resolved the issues raised by the parish council.

She reported that if any new electricity supply to the barn was required it should be installed underground.

Hartlington Raikes – May

“I don’t want to see that again,” Cllr Heseltine told planning officers at the meeting.

He was referring to the second reason a planning officer had given for recommending refusal of an application by Matt Mason for a barn to be converted at Hartlington Raikes.

The officer had stated: “The applicant has not entered into a legal agreement that would restrict the use of the building to short term holiday lets and/or local occupancy use and as such, the proposal would not contribute positively to the economic/tourism benefits or to the housing mix of the National Park and would therefore be contrary to … policy.”

Both Cllr Heseltine and Cllr  Blackie said they had never seen such a reason for refusal like that before. Cllr Peacock pointed out that usually planning permission was granted first with a condition that a legal agreement was required.

The planning officer replied: “It’s simply a procedural matter. If it [the application] were to be refused today and it was appealed against, the inspector considering the appeal would see that there wasn’t a legal agreement entered into. When it goes to appeal the only thing that can be considered is what is on the reason for refusal, so the inspector wouldn’t be considering whether it would be a local occupancy at all. He would say the Authority hasn’t objected to a lack of a legal agreement, therefore, I don’t need to require one. That’s why it’s on the recommendation.”

Mr Mason was the first to compare his application with Tug Gill Lathe near Starbotton. In late March a planning inspector overturned the planning committee’s decision to refuse permission for Tug Gill Lathe to be converted into a local occupancy home. In the appeal decision summary the inspector disagreed that the converted barn would have a negative impact upon the landscape and also recognised that the Authority’s policy which allowed roadside barns to be converted required local occupancy or holiday  let legal agreements.

Mr Mason told the meeting that the planning officer had questioned the proximity of the barn at Hartlington Raikes  to a road. But this barn, he said, was closer to a road than that at Tug Gill. He explained:

“I submitted this application in  January 2017 to convert this roadside barn to a family home for my daughter. We would happily sign [a Section 106 agreement] and comply with all the regulations.” On his application he had written that the converted barn would be subject to either local occupancy or holiday let restrictions.

Julie Martin agreed with the planning officer that converting the barn at Hartlington Raikes would detract from the landscape character of the National Park and commented: “I was very concerned about the Tug Gill Lathe decision which, to me, didn’t seem to be the correct interpretation of our policy. In what circumstances can we actually refuse roadside barns?”

Cllr Peacock, however, stated: “It is a judgement as to whether we think that is a roadside barn or it isn’t. Tug Gill Lathe has now been passed so  I personally believe that our policies say that this is okay.”

At the June meeting the majority of members confirmed the decision to approve this application – see “Debate about barn conversions” above.

Hartlington – July

An application for a pay station machine and control barriers at the seasonal car park at Wharfe House Farm, Hartlington, was turned down due to the chairman’s deciding vote.

The members were equally divided between those who agreed with North Yorkshire County councillor Gill Quinn that it was a well thought out scheme which would enhance traffic management, and others who felt that the pay station and control barriers would be too intrusive within the landscape.

The applicant, Michael Daggett, explained that the field had been used for seasonal parking since the early 1970s and, on occasions, had provided a facility for up to a thousand visitors at a time, including young families who could then picnic beside the river.  This was especially important as there were so few car parking spaces in Burnsall.

The planning officer reported that the field was only open  when it would not be damaged by cars being parked  there. This temporary use of the land should be no more than 28 days in a calendar year. In 1974 permission was granted to build a toilet block there.

She stated: “The high visual quality of the landscape around Burnsall and the fact that it is unspoilt by unsightly modern development is one of the ‘special qualities’ of the National Park and the reason why so many people visit the area. Although this proposal is small in scale it is development of this nature which has a negative impact that erodes the visual quality and farmed landscape character of the area.”

Hartlington Parish Meeting told the Authority: “There have been some slight concerns about the impact of visible barriers in an agricultural field. Also regarding having a system where vehicles are backed up onto the road waiting to enter whilst collecting a ticket.

“Any system allowing cars freely into the car park and charging upon exit or at a discrete ticket machine would be a major improvement on road safety and congestion. Whether this could be achieved without visible barriers…does appear to appease more residents.”

Hawes – July

The likelihood of a 40mph speed limit being introduced on the A684 on the eastern approach to Hawes led to approval being given to a young local couple to convert a barn into a three-bedroom home.

The committee unanimously approved the application by artist Stacey Moore – and Mr Graham said that even though this was against the recommendation of the planning officer the decision would not have to be ratified at the August meeting.

Steve Calvert, Miss Moore’s partner, told the committee that both of them had been born in Hawes and most of their families were still living and working there. He worked full time in a local builder’s merchants and Stacey had returned from university to open her own business in Hawes.

He explained: “The house prices in Hawes are extremely high for first time buyers and I don’t believe that is an affordable option for us.” They could, however, afford to convert a barn which the Moore family owned. “It will make an ideal family home with three bedrooms and allow us to stay in Hawes for the rest of our lives. We love the Dales and can’t imagine living anywhere else.”

Cllr Blackie told the committee about the proposal to introduce a 40mph limit. Both he and Cllr Peacock emphasised the importance to the local communities of retaining young people and young families.

Julie Martin congratulated the couple on putting forward such good plans for a barn conversion.

The planning officer had pointed out that the barn could not be described as a roadside barn as its curtilage did not adjoin the road. But there was an unsealed track leading to it and the barn was already well screened, so there would not be a negative impact upon the landscape.

Hebden – November

A family home cannot be constructed at the Longthornes Haulage Depot at Hebden, because the site proposed would be too cramped for a modern dwelling, the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority’s planning committee decided on Tuesday November 13.

At the October meeting the application by Mr and Mrs J Longthorne had been approved but that decision had to be confirmed at the November meeting as it was against officer recommendation. During the following month several committee members, including Jim Munday who is the YDNPA’s member champion for development management, decided they could no longer support the application. Last week he was one of the nine who voted for refusal with just five supporting the Longthornes.

Mr Munday explained that the Authority had already approved a planning application to convert a listed barn beside the proposed site. That barn, he said,  would be totally dwarfed by a new four-bedroom house with the latter having very limited curtilage.

Mr Graham stated that the proposed new house would be on what would have been part of the historic curtilage for the barn conversion and would be an over-development of the site. Julie Martin asserted that this would create a new sub-standard family home with no garden.

Cllr Peacock, however, pointed out that the affordable houses near the YDNPA’s office in Bainbridge also had very limited curtilage. ”Nobody seems to mind that somebody on benefits lives in a house with very little garden.” She added that it would be in line with government policy to build as many houses as possible on a site with each having very limited curtilage.

“Here we have a local businessman in the National Park who employs people. Now that is something I wish we had more of,” she commented.

She reminded the committee that this would ensure that another family would remain in the National Park. The Longthornes had stated they wanted the house for a grandson who is required to be on the site so that he could respond immediately to requests to provide gritting and snow clearance during the winter. He would also be there to help ensure the security of the site.

Cllr Heseltine asked how the committee could ignore the public service that the Longthorne family was providing.

And Cllr John Blackie  pointed out that the family had requested a legal agreement that would tie the house to the business.

Mr Graham, however, said that such a legal agreement required evidence that the house was necessary to the business and that had not been provided.

Hebden Parish Council fully supported the application because of the local need for affordable housing so as to keep up school numbers.

Kettlewell – June

There were no divisions when members discussed the proposed alterations at Scargill House near Kettlewell – and members unanimously voted in favour of the application made by the Scargill Movement.

This includes demolishing several buildings including the Three Peaks complex which was carefully designed in the early 1970s to not only reflect the topography of the site but also to help provide a fitting setting for the Grade II* chapel designed by George Pace in the early 1960s. The complex was described by a planning officer as being a highly valued non-designated heritage asset.

English Heritage has stated, however, that the complex as well as the Aysgarth building and the dining room will not be listed.

During a site visit some members were told that the Three Peaks buildings had been poorly constructed and were in a bad state of repair. The high steps and different levels also made it unusable.

The Scargill Movement is keen to provide disabled access, en-suite accommodation and a more sustainable site. To do this the dining room and the Aysgarth building (a much altered traditional barn) will be demolished and new ones erected to allow easy access between them and the new Three Peaks as well as better facilities within well-built, thermally efficient buildings.

Dave Lucas, the operations manager, told the meeting: “Our intention with this scheme is to ensure the long term future of Scargill…so that it will continue it’s work [as a Christian centre] in a sustainable way and continue to contribute to the economic and social fabric of our local communities in the Yorkshire Dales. Also that the chapel will continue to be used for its intended purpose and to be properly looked after.”

English Heritage has given listed status to the distinctive Marsh Lounge, built in 1965, which was described as a rare example of Pace’s secular design. It’s roof will, however, have to be altered as it leaks.

A planning officer pointed out that most of these buildings were, and would be, well screened by the large area of ancient woodland, from which the steeply rising roof of the chapel with its large windows appears “to grow out of the dale”.

The present residential block, built  in the 1970s and 1980s, is less well screened. It is intended to demolish this and construct a new block with natural stone but using a contemporary design and having an undulating grass roof. The Scargill Movement no longer plans to construct a large building on the car park. It is expected that it will take 15 years to complete the scheme.

It was agreed to delegate authority to the head of development management regarding the ongoing discussions about such issues as the lighting schemes, the materials to be used, the hours of construction, a travel plan for the management of visitors’ arrival and departures, and a legal agreement to tie the woodland management plan to the development.

Kettlewell – November

The photographs shown to the Yorkshire Dales National Park  Authority’s planning committee did not give a clear representation of the parking problems in Sally Lane, Kettlewell,  Cllr Clark told the members on Tuesday November 13.

Both he and North Yorkshire County councillor Gillian Quinn asserted that converting a small barn in Sally Lane into a one-bedroom holiday let would increase car parking problems.  Cllr Quinn said that on many occasions vehicles were double parked there.

This amounted to a material consideration for refusal, said Mr Clark, especially as Highways North  Yorkshire (with the support of Craven District Council) had objected to the application because parking was already extremely tight there. Kettlewell-with-Starbotton Parish Council had also objected for the same reason.

The YDNPA planning committee, therefore,  confirmed its decision to refuse the application even though a planning officer had recommended approval. He stated: “Should the application be refused and the applicant lodge an appeal, officers consider that it would be difficult to demonstrate that the use of a one-bedroom cottage for holiday use would result in such a level of highway disruption that the impact on the highway network would make it unsafe for the users of the highway.”

Members were also concerned about the complete lack of any curtilage around the barn. Both Craven District councillor Carl Lis and Cllr Quinn queried that district council workers would, for a fee, empty an externally accessible bin store.

Long Preston – November

Approval was given for an agricultural storage building to be constructed at Megs Croft in Green Gates Lane, Preston.

Long Preston Parish Council had objected because it felt this would lead to over intensive use of the land as there were two agricultural buildings there already.

The applicant, Roy Newhouse, told the committee that he had been born on a farm and had worked for many years in agricultural services. “What I want to do [now] is build up a small farm for my son,” he said.

As he had amended the plans he submitted since last  year  the planning officer accepted that the timber-boarded building would serve the needs of the smallholding. One of the conditions is that when it is no longer used for the purpose for which it will be installed it must be removed from the site.

Malham – April

It was agreed that a mast on the National Trust’s Malham Tarn Estate should be capable of not only serving the Emergency Services but also provide mobile phone communications.

The application for a 15 metre high lattice mast was made as part of the Home Office’s Emergency Services Mobile Communications Programme. The planning officer reported that such masts are used to provide  voice and data reception for the emergency services as well as sending patient details to a hospital to enable staff to prepare for their arrival, video recordings of arrests from police officers’ body cameras and live streaming to nearby officers.

He said that for this one use a monopod mast would be sufficient. As this would have less impact upon the landscape he recommended that the application for a lattice mast should be refused.

Neil Swain declared a personal interest as he was acting as the landlord for the National Trust site. He had asked the committee to consider the application because, he said, mobile communications were at the very forefront of the needs of modern families and, therefore, a key element in trying to attract more families to live and work in the Park.

Eden District Councillor Valerie Kendal and North Yorkshire County councillor Richard Welch said that the mast on Malham Moor should be strong enough to be shared with commercial operators who could provide mobile phone coverage sometime in the future rather than having a proliferation of masts.

Cllr John Blackie pointed out that masts were proposed for Keld, Muker and Arkengarthdale. He wanted to ensure that these were lattice masts so that those Dales’ communities would have 21st century communications.

Jim Munday, however, commented: “This is is almost in the centre of the National Park. It is totally unspoilt.” He pointed out that in other parts of the National Park there was talk about getting rid of pylons rather than installing new ones. Julie Martin agreed with him that the lattice mast would be considerably more intrusive than a monopole.

This time, when the majority of members voted in favour of a lattice mast contrary to the officer’s recommendation, Mr Graham told the committee that the decision would not need to be ratified at the next meeting.

Malham – September

“We are  letting very good schemes go by the board simply because of dogmatic policies,” Cllr  Towneley angrily told the committee.

The committee had just – by one vote – refused permission for Cawden Barn at Malham Raikes, Malham, to be converted into a local occupancy or holiday let.

The members were told that the applicants wanted to use it for agricultural accommodation from January to March each year as the family had 500 sheep at Malham which lambed in the open. It would then be used as holiday accommodation. The agent, John Steel, said that although the barn was outside the village boundary there were dwellings within 25 to 40 metres of it.

Kirkby Malham Parish Council supported the application “in principle” as it wanted the barn to provide “local occupancy” living accommodation. It added: “It should  not be for the purposes of holiday letting and be restricted by a local occupancy condition.”

The planning officer reported that back in 2006 the historic barn had been in a ruined state. It was then heavily restored  using non-traditional construction methods, including a distinctive arch, and enforcement action was pursued. The planning committee had approved a retrospective application in 2009 for the barn to be used for storage but not all the conditions have been complied with he added.

He said the latest application did not comply with the Authority’s Local Plan and would be a new dwelling in the open countryside. The barn, he said, was not a traditional building of heritage significance as it had been erected in 2009.

Cllr  McPherson stated: “Unless we stick to our policies the whole thing becomes a lottery – there’s no certainty. This is contrary to local policy.”

Cllr Peacock, however, retorted: “If we cannot go against policies and put forward material considerations then it is just a waste of time for us sitting here. A planning committee  is here to judge a planning application and we cannot sit here and say ‘this is against policy so we are not doing  this’. We can say ‘Yes, we understand it is against policy’ …but we can put forward material considerations whether or not they are good enough. This is the reason we have a planning committee.”

Cllr Towneley agreed with her and added: “Policies are there but we are not here just to be ruled by policy.” She asked the members to consider the benefits to the community of having more young people living in the Dales and added: “Are we seriously saying that because of a dogmatic policy we are going to fail to allow this chance of use and to allow sustainability?”

Maulds Meaburn – November

Eight unauthorised changes to way Snow Drop Barn in Maulds Maeburn in Eden District was converted into a dwelling amounted to a shocking act of vandalism, the YDNPA’s member champion for cultural heritage, Mrs Martin, told the meeting.

She described the Maulds Maeburn as an outstanding village in landscape and historical environment terms. The barn, she said, was on its northern edge and played a key and very visible part in the setting of the village and the conservation area. She added that as it was so visible from both the northern and western approaches to the village the conversion had seriously damaged the historic assets of Maulds Maeburn.

Cllr  Peacock commented: “It makes a mockery of the planning committee. We’ve got to make sure that everybody realises that this is wrong.”

Cllr Blackie agreed and stated: ‘The applicant has totally ignored our concerns. Frankly, what they’ve done is nothing short of criminal. It does seem a very, very dramatic breach of planning regulations.’

The committee unanimously agreed that a retrospective application for the change of use of land to form a garden, retention of excavation of land and the construction of retaining walls should be refused and that enforcement action should be taken.

Members particularly commented on the way the appearance of the barn had been changed by sandblasting the exterior and re-pointing with pink mortar.

The other unauthorised works were: a much larger curtilage to the side and rear of the building; significant excavation works to the rear of the building and hard surfacing of that area; construction of a large blockwork retaining wall; conversion of the detached outbuilding and installation of roof lights; reconfigured internal arrangement; different window and door arrangements; different and larger roof lights in different locations to those approved and a new opening in the gable.

A Maulds Meaburn resident, Judith Fraser, told the committee: “Every day we are going to be looking at an inappropriate development.”

Members were informed that the applicant had been told in May this year to stop the works on the site, and was warned on several occasions that any works  carried out would be at their own risk. But the work had continued.

The enforcement notice will give the owner six months to secure the removal of the retaining walls and reinstatement of the land to the north and east of the building line, and the removal of all the timber sheds which have been installed on the site.

Permission was refused for the erection of a garage cum store, an incubator shed and four chicken huts.

Newbiggin-on-Lune – July

The committee refused to remove the local occupancy condition Hill Top Barn in Newbiggin-on-Lune even though they were told it was not fit for purpose and would not meet statutory legal tests.

The condition was imposed by Eden District Council in 1997 when it allowed what was known as The Stone Ban to be converted into a workshop and dwelling. Since the National Park was extended the YDNPA follows the Upper Eden Valley Neighbourhood Development Plan for that area.

Ravenstonedale Parish Council informed the Authority: “Current policy makes no provision for such a condition and it is noted that in recent months no less than three similar applications in the same locality of the extended National Park have had no such condition applied. It is considered that the re-application of this Local Occupancy condition is now unreasonable.”

The planning officer, however, maintained that retaining the local occupancy condition was consistent with national and local policies. “[It] forms part of the local planning authority’s strategy for tackling on-going challenges with regards to sustainability. To remove the condition would facilitate its sale as open market housing possibly as  second home thereby hampering sustainability,” he stated.

Cllr Peacock said that the Authority was trying hard to extend the number of houses available to local people so as to make Dales’ communities more sustainable.

Cllr McPherson (a retired solicitor) commented that the original condition should have been more precise and accepted that the applicant’s agent, Kayleigh Lancaster, had made a very strong case for it to be removed.

Due to the bad sound system it was not clear what else he said – nor was it possible to hear what Ms Lancaster told the committee. She has kindly provided a copy of the statement she read at the meeting:

I am a chartered Town Planner, with both Local Authority and Private Sector experience. We were asked by the applicant to consider this condition, and advise on the wording and criteria of the condition. This is application is a re-submission of an earlier application which was also recommended for refusal by the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority earlier this year.

This application has been submitted on the basis that the occupancy condition is not fit for purpose and would not have met the statutory legal tests for a planning condition, nor would it today.

As you will be aware, the planning condition states that Hill Top Barn “shall only be occupied by a person or persons (including dependants, widow/widower) who in the opinion of the Local Planning Authority satisfy an identified local housing need”.

Whilst we do not question the aim of the 1996 Eden Local Plan at the time, we do question how this has been executed in the form of this poorly constructed condition. There is no definition of what is meant by ‘identified local housing need’, nor is there sufficient information provided to enable an occupier to establish whether they would comply with this condition.

As an example, I would draw your attention to the local occupancy conditions which are regularly used by this authority. Your approach is robust and clear for all to understand, both the criteria and the locality are clearly defined. In addition to this, the use of the phrase ‘in the opinion’ is not considered to be precise for the purposes of a planning condition.

In imposing this condition, Eden District Council have attached ‘Notes to the Applicant’ which refer to an affordable housing section of the Local Plan, despite the original application not being for affordable housing – we would therefore question its relevance but can only assume it was referred to in an attempt to provide some support for the condition – this has no legal standing.

We would question how reasonably the Authority could assess whether someone could comply with the condition. There is a significant amount of uncertainty created through its imposition and we would contend that it is unenforceable in its current form.

This point is further illustrated in a letter sent by EDC in 2002, in which they attempt to retrospectively clarify what was intended by this condition. I must stress that the contents of this letter and the note to applicant already referred to cannot legally be relied upon in the enforcement of a planning condition. The planning condition itself must be precise and enforceable, which in this particular case the condition is not.

Whilst we acknowledge the YDNP have been put in a difficult position in trying to defend a poorly worded condition which was imposed by another authority and we also acknowledge the importance of Local Occupancy Housing in the NP, the decision taken today must be based on an assessment of the legality of the existing condition and other such factors should not cloud your judgement.

In refusing this application the YDNPA must be entirely satisfied that the original condition, meets the statutory planning condition tests which are to be reasonable, relevant to the development, relevant to planning, precise, necessary and enforceable. As we have already stated, the condition is ambiguous and therefore cannot reasonably be considered to be precise or enforceable.

Finally, I would ask you, as Members of this Committee to consider whether you consider this condition to be fit for purpose and to consider whether you would be able to make a robust assessment of identified local housing need in the absence of a criteria and defined locality. If your answer to this is not a definitive yes, then the authority should grant approval for the removal of this condition.

Oughtershaw – March

How to define “a significant extension” and the difference between a holiday let and local occupancy when a farmer was trying to plan ahead for the day when his son would join the family enterprise became pivotal issues at the meeting.

Nigel Pearson had applied to convert a roadside barn at Oughtershaw to create a local occupancy dwelling or holiday let. The planning officer stated that Mr Pearson’s son might or might not become the local occupant in five years time and so the conversion had to be considered as a holiday let which did not require an extension.

Mr Pearson explained that it might take four years for the family to finance the conversion and that any use of it as a holiday let would only be until his son needed it.

He added:”The barn is on the small size and if you are a dual worker you need a place to take off your boots, shower and clean up. You also need space in the utility room for a large freezer and fridges for food and storage. In such an isolated place you can’t pop to the shops every day – you need ample supplies of food. An extension is needed so that we can accommodate this need.”

The planning officer, however, pointed out that the extension represented 47 per cent of the original floor space in the barn. North Yorkshire County councillor Robert Heseltine warned: “If we back this today it’s a coach and horses through a policy – a precedent that will come back to haunt  us.”

“The size of the extension is the main issue,”  he added.

Cllr Kirkbride, however, pointed out that there were numerous barns in the dales which had extensions and Buckden Parish councillor  Cllr Clark, who  lives at Oughtershaw, commented:

“What Oughtershaw needs is more vibrancy, more people and more families. Even though there is an extension I believe the barn will still  maintain its agricultural integrity. I think we should go for it.”

Both Cllr Blackie and Cllr Peacock reminded the committee of the need to encourage young people and families to live in the dales.

“If we can encourage this young man [Mr Pearson’s son] to finish his schooling, to go to agricultural college and come back to work this  land we should. Let’s face it, if we didn’t have the farmers working this land it would be an eyesore and tourists wouldn’t want to come,” Cllr Peacock said.

And Cllr Blackie added: “We need to put our money where our mouth is. If young people express a desire to continue in that industry they should be afforded that opportunity without having to push those who preceded them out of their homes.”

He said that although in the policies regarding barn conversions “significant” was not defined the proposed extension should be reduced in size.

The majority agreed and a decision was deferred to give Mr Pearson time to amend the plans.

Oughtershaw – April

A new bench mark could be set for the conversion of traditional roadside barns in the Yorkshire Dales if the plans for a small one at Oughtershaw  are approved. This was the warning given by a planning officer at the meeting on April 10.

And when the majority of the committee voted in favour of Nigel Pearson’s application Mr Graham said that the decision would be referred back to next month’s meeting as there were some fundamental points on policy to be considered.

He explained that there should be strong material considerations for deviating from the Local Policy and if there weren’t a precedent would be created.

In his report a planning officer stated: “If approved, the proposal would set a new bench mark for barn conversions whereby all applicants would wish to have a kitchen off the main building with a fully glazed screen wall that represented a 33 per cent increase in floor space.”

At the meeting he said that the extension could be half the size of that proposed and warned:  “Officers consider that to allow this proposal due to its size and function would result in a clear precedent that would seriously undermine the existing policy. It would be likely to generate numerous new applications.

“While officers would have to try and resist such proposals it would represent a green light for the addition of bright, modern fully glazed airy kitchen and dining rooms for all new barn conversions and applicants would ask to have these considered by the committee rather than by officers. Any such subsequent approvals would further erode the policy and efforts of officers to negotiate sensitive conversions schemes.

“The final and fundamental tenet of the planning system is that applicants should be able to expect consistency in decision making.”

Cllr Blackie expressed concern that the officer had over stepped the mark in his presentation – and for doing so Cllr Blackie was rebuked by both North Yorkshire County Councillor Robert Heseltine and the chairperson, Richmondshire District Councillor Caroline Thornton-Berry who stated after the vote : “I would ask members if they would respect officers who are doing their best – they have got very clear guidelines.”

Even so the majority accepted Cllr Blackie’s argument that the plans should be approved as it would provide accommodation for a rural worker in a very isolated area where  additional storage and utility space was required especially in winter. He explained that Mr Pearson had reduced the size of the extension as suggested at the March meeting and no longer wished to use the converted barn as a holiday let until his son wanted to live there.

The planning officer stated: “While officers would have to try and resist such proposals it would represent a green light for the addition of bright, modern fully glazed airy kitchen and dining rooms for all new barn conversions and applicants would ask to have these considered by the committee rather than by officers. Any such subsequent approvals would further erode the policy and efforts of officers to negotiate sensitive conversions schemes.

“The final and fundamental tenet of the planning system is that applicants should be able to expect consistency in decision making.”

At the June meeting the majority of members confirmed the decision to approve this application – see “Debate about barn conversions” above.

Rylstone – July

The application for an extension to Fox House in Raikes Lane, Rylstone, was refused because the applicant had decided not to go ahead with an amendment agreed with the planning officers.

At the planning meeting in May members had deferred making a decision so that officers could discuss amending the plans. The original application was for an extension above the existing kitchen to form a bedroom which would result in a dual-pitched roof. The officers felt that a mono-pitched extension with roof lights would have less impact upon what they viewed as a building (a former Quaker meeting house) of significant historic interest.

The applicant, however, decided against amending design partly, the officer reported, because the sound of rain on the roof lights would disturb those sleeping in the bedroom. A different amendment was discussed but then the applicant decided to stay with the original plans for a pitched roof, the officer said.

Stalling Busk – July

Cllr Blackie wanted an enforcement notice on a holiday let to go to appeal to clarify whether or not Hilltop at Stalling Busk had been sub-divided into two dwellings.

An enforcement officer said that a two-bedroom attachment to Hilltop was being run and advertised as a fully self-contained holiday let with its own kitchen  and bathroom. There were doors connecting it to the main property on the ground floor and upstairs but guests did not need to use these for access to the holiday let.

He argued that  Hilltop had been subdivided to make two separate dwellings contrary to the Authority’s housing strategy.

The owners were, therefore, advised  to either cease using it as a holiday let and make it part of the main building again; submit a planning application for a local occupancy dwelling for one of the dwellings; or operate a Bed and Breakfast business using two of the five bedrooms and remove the separate kitchen.

Cllr Blackie said: “There is absolutely no intention by these owners to want to create a separate dwelling. Our Local Plan is very strong on bringing visitors into the Dales to spend money in the local economy, to provide employment. My advice to [the owners] is that they should go to an enforcement appeal. I am going to ask the planning inspector what his opinion is… if it is, in planning terms, a sub division or whether it is an informal use of part of the property which is in no way self-contained because you can [get to] the property both upstairs and down.”

The majority of the committee agreed that an enforcement notice should be issued, with a six months compliance period of six months, for the cessation of the use of the building for residential purposes as a separate, self contained dwelling house for use as a holiday let.

Swaledale Telecommunication Masts – June

A 12.5m high lattice communications mast which could also provide mobile phone coverage in Upper Swaledale will be installed at Crow Tree Farm, Gunnerside, as part of the Home Office’s Emergency Services Mobile Communications Programme.

Muker Parish Council had strongly objected to the original application which was for a “telegraph pole” mast. It had stated: “The possible erection of this mast within an Upper Swaledale landscape is at best controversial. The erection of this mast without the potential facility for commercial network coverage for both residents of the parish and visitors alike is not acceptable to the Council.”

The planning officers, therefore, asked the Secretary of State if that application could be amended – and it was. The meeting was told that a monopole mast will, however, be erected at Crook Seal Barn on Birkdale Common 6Km west of Keld.

A planning officer explained: “There is no resident population included within its range. The light traffic on the road [B6270] and the small number of game keepers and seasonal shooters means it is highly unlikely there will be any commercial interest in providing a service to the public at this location. However, EE, the installing company for the Home Office, could switch on their apparatus system [for public use] but that would be their commercial decision.

“This is a completely different situation to that at Crow Tree Farm. The predicted coverage for that shows that there is a substantial resident and visitor population in Swaledale between Thwaite and Gunnerside. A lattice mast…would be capable of accommodating a number of commercial operators. That mast will be substantially bulkier than is needed at Crook Seal.”

Cllr  Blackie stressed the need for 4G coverage in such remote areas (see below) and said it was likely that, once lattice masts were installed as at  Crow Tree Farm, there would be campaigns to get mobile phone coverage in those deeply rural areas.

“This is an essential opportunity to bring communications up to the 21st century in the more remote areas,” he said.

Eden District councillor William Patterson told the meeting that there was a monopole mast on his farm erected by BT Cellnet and onto which Vodaphone had bolted its equipment to provide a public service. “Monopoles are far less obtrusive,” he said.

Jim Munday wasn’t so sure. He commented: “I am extremely uncomfortable with the alien poles on the landscape. It is wrong, it is out of place and it is horrible.” He emphasised the need to ensure that when the masts were no longer required that the owners of the equipment should remove them and reinstate the sites.

The planning officer had received the following advice from the Home Office via Entrust Services.

“A public user on an 800 MHz LTE capable device will be able to make a 999 call on the EAS (Emergency Alert System) network provided that the device is VoLTE capable. Users from other Operators with similarly capable devices will not be able to establish a connection.

A public user on a non 800Mhz LTE capable device will not be able to make a 999 call on the EAS network. As the only coverage available in the EAS areas will be 800 Mhz LTE, non 800Mhz capable devices, will not be able to establish a connection.”

There are  4G devices that do not support LTE 800Mhz and also 4G LTE 800Mhz devices that don’t support VoLTE.

Thoralby –April

Approval was given for a large  slurry store to be installed behind trees above Heaning Hall at the east end of Thoralby. This will be nearly 41 metres in diameter and five metres in height with a capacity of 6,005 cubic metres. According to the YDNPA this will be the largest  circular slurry store in the Yorkshire Dales National Park.

Michael Lancaster told the committee that there had been detailed discussions with planning officers about where to locate it so that it would have minimal impact upon the landscape. He said its location will also mean that there will be a reduction in the movement of slurry wagons through Thoralby,  will allow him to store slurry for six months, and enable  him to increase efficiency and grass production on the farm.

It was a significant investment, he said, and was the next step in the improvements he had made since taking over the farm from his father 11 years ago.

Cllr Blackie commented: “If you want to see the Upper Dales continue in dairying you have got to recognise and give support to farmers.” He added that the site above Heaning Hall was much better than that originally proposed by Mr Lancaster. That had been at the west end of the village near the farm buildings but in a much more visible location. Mr Lancaster had withdrawn that application.

Threshfield – March

A new dormer extension on a house in Threshfield must be removed within three months the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority’s planning committee decided on March 13.

An enforcement officer reported that the dormer at High Winds, Threshfield, did not comply with the plans as approved by the committee in February last year. That approval  had been subject to several conditions to ensure that the roof, walls and window materials matched those of the existing building.

The officer found that the dormer was larger than had been approved and that the roof pitch was much flatter. The window arrangement had also been altered. She described the dormer as now being a dominant and unsightly feature.

Cllr  Heseltine asked if enforcement could be deferred to give time for the applicant, Andy Gould, to make a planning application for the dormer as it is now but this proposal was rejected by the other members.

In a letter to the committee the Gould family explained that they had sought not to spoil the appearance of the house any more than it had been due to other extensions being added prior to their acquiring it.

“We were determined to make sure the dormer was the best for the house and the best in the area. The dormer may have altered during build, but only due to circumstances  whilst it was being built.”

One of those factors was that building regulations dictated that an emergency exit had to be incorporated into one of the windows. The inclusion of a suitable larger window then had an impact  upon the slope of the roof, the family stated. They said they had chosen different but better materials to match the colour of the house. They added:

“The dormer is certainly not an unsightly feature. We don’t consider it to be visually prominent and don’t believe it is harming the character or appearance of this part of Threshfield.”

At the meeting Cllr Welch commented: “It is totally out of character. We are talking about setting an example.”

The committee gave authorisation for an enforcement notice to secure the removal of the unauthorised dormer extension and to reinstate the roof slope using tiles to match those on the existing roof. There is a compliance period of three months.

West Witton – May

The number of children at West Burton primary school might not have halved in six years if the housing development at West Witton had gone ahead earlier Cllr Blackie told the meeting.

He pointed out that the site had been listed as being available for affordable housing at the Local Plan inquiry in 2004.

“We’ve taken 14 years to get from a landowner wanting to contribute to the need for affordable housing to actually getting a scheme on the ground. Is there any wonder that young people are voting with their feet to leave the National Park?” he asked.

He told the meeting that the Authority had jibbed and jibbed about how many houses were needed on the site but recently had become more supportive. He added:“Houses on that site in West Witton are within the catchment area for West Burton primary school. The school has gone down in six years from 44 children on the roll to 22. It may not have been in this position if that scheme had come forward quicker – rather than having to go through the bureaucratic log jam that it has.”

Cllr  Peacock said the Authority’s planning officers had worked with the developer and the district council to make sure that the right application was made.

A planning officer reported that there will be 17 houses of which six will remain “affordable” in perpetuity by always being sold at 70 per cent of their market value. Two others will be affordable rental properties retained by the developer, Swale Valley Construction, and managed in conjunction with Richmondshire District Council as long as the latter provides financial support.

“We do need affordable housing to rent but we do now know we need affordable housing to buy as well. A lot of work has gone into this – we have actually got a perfect site and the perfect application,” Cllr Peacock said.

Cllr Blackie explained that when the Authority had approved the application for a second housing development behind the Rose and Crown at Bainbridge it had set a precedent for discounted market properties for sale in perpetuity at 70 per cent.

“I think this is the way forward if you are going to be able to provide houses to purchase rather than to rent, although there is still a need for housing to rent as well,” he remarked.

Cllr McPherson noted that some residents in West Witton had objected to the application but that West Witton Parish Council had supported it.

The parish council had accepted there was a proven need for affordable housing but was concerned that there was no provision for single person accommodation and about the potential for the future development of the field. It has asked if a matrix sign could be sited at the bend in the A684 at the western entrance to the village just before the entrance to the development.

Poppies for Aysgarth church

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I must make some paper poppies this week – but it won’t be half as much fun doing that on my own as it was when I went to photograph Sally Stone and her grandchildren, Alyssa and Jacob (above – all photos copyright Pip Pointon)

The aim is to create a ‘waterfall’ of 1,000 poppies to cascade over the altar of St Andrew’s Church, Aysgarth, during the community’s Festival of Remembrance from November 9 to November 12 to commemorate the signing of the Armistice in 1914.

People throughout the parish of Aysgarth (which includes Bishopdale, Carperby, Thoralby and Thornton Rust) have been making the poppies, ranging from a 96-year-old to a four-year-old. Local Knit and Natter groups and the WI and Penhill Ladies have added to all the poppies being made by Anglicans, Methodists and Catholics and many others. Many of the poppies will be dedicated to a member or friend killed during the 1914-1918 War or wars since then.

Those visiting the church during the festival  will be able to make their own poppies and add them to the ‘waterfall’.  The poppies are very easy to cut out and make thanks to Doreen Mason who designed them.  (Below – making poppies)

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The ‘waterfall’ will take a team of volunteers a couple of days to create just prior to the festival because each poppy will bee individually attached to a background made of  hessian – a fabric which references to the use of sandbags during WWI.

Andrew Hawkins of West Burton, whose great grandfather was killed at the Somme, is making the frame for the waterfall free of charge.

There will be a poppy dedicated to every soldier named on the parish war memorials plus some more which have been found by Penny Ellis for the new Roll of Honour which will be on show at the festival. It includes not just The Fallen but those soldiers who returned to the parish after the Great War, and also the women who served as nurses. There will be a Book of Remembrance at the festival in which the names of those for whom there are dedicated poppies will be recorded.

The chairman of the festival committee, Juliet Barker, told  me: “It was my idea to do the poppy waterfall but it was inspired by the Tower of London’s ‘Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red’ poppy installation for the centenary of the start of WWI.”

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Above: Alyssa, Sally and Jacob with the poppies they made

The festival organisers are very grateful to Richmondshire District Council’s Upper Dales Area Partnership and Aysgarth and District Parish Council for grants towards the cost of the Festival, and to RCP Parking Ltd for free parking at its Church Bank car park for all Festival visitors.

The Albion and our wedding blessing

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Above top: The Rev Martin Upton conducting the wedding blessing for David and Pip Pointon on August 18 2018. The second photo of the wherry Albion and the wedding blessing group was taken by Eddie Land using a drone camera. The Albion’s volunteer crew is on the foredeck. This could well be the first time that The Albion has been chartered for a wedding blessing ceremony. Click on the top picture to see more photographs.

A special flotilla set out from Thurne in North Norfolk on Saturday August 18 as four boats followed in the wake of The Albion  – the 120-year-old wherry we had hired for our wedding blessing.

Two of the boats – Jim Bondi’s Karina and David Bondi’s Quixote (below)– were dressed overall with flags. This gave me a wonderful opportunity to take some photos of four generations of the Bondi family.

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When we began our journey on The Albion from Womack Staithe the skipper, Roger Watts, kindly invited me to take the tiller – an honour I couldn’t refuse. But just as I reached the stern of the wherry I looked up and saw John Wayne very determinedly making his way carefully down the port side assisted by a crew member. John is the 94-years-old grandfather of David and Chris Bondi. Chris was with his wife, Emma,  and their three children on Karina – and another of John’s great grandchildren was on Quixote.

John was a very successful sailor when he was younger and was very happy to be at the helm of The Albion. It was so special to watch him do so in style all the way the Norfolk Wherry Trust’s base at Womack Water near Ludham to the site of the medieval abbey of St Benet’s.

Above: Karina following us, with John at the helm of The Albion and his daughter, Sally, in the foreground.

David and I were with nine family and friends  on The Albion with another 22 on the other boats. At St Benet’s The Albion went to the Bishop’s Mooring which gave us a private location for the wedding blessing. Karina and Quixote were moored beside us with the other two boats using the free moorings a short walk away. Originally we had planned to hold the wedding blessing at the cross which marks the site of the abbey’s altar. But it would have been very difficult for our two oldest guests, Marjorie Hawkings and John, to have walked there. Marjorie had also travelled with us on The Albion.

So David’s friend, the Rev Martin Upton, led the short but very special blessing service on the bank by The Albion with most of our guests (including one who had come by car) sitting on the wherry’s hatches.  David read the following from Quaker Faith and Practice for, as Martin said, it gave clarity on what is needed in an effective marriage:

“Marriage has always been regarded by Friends as a religious commitment rather than a merely civil contract. Both partners should offer with God’s help an intention to cherish one another for life. Remember that happiness depends on an understanding and steadfast love on both sides. In times of difficulty remind yourself of the value of prayer, of perseverance and of a sense of humour.”

For some (including David and I) the next half an hour of our blessing was even more moving thanks to Amy Bondi (David Bondi’s wife) as she sang Stand by Me and Hallelujah and other songs. There was also a  lovely duet thanks to Liz Burrage and Amy.

Then it was time to enter the hold of the wherry to fill our plates (belowphoto by Martin Upton) with the wonderful food made by Claire and Anita at The Galley in Horning. Several of our guests described the enormous homemade scotch eggs as the best they had ever tasted. David said the vegetarian quiche and  scotch eggs were also excellent.  And the sweet potato and spinach frittata were mouth-wateringly memorable. Claire and Anita had made sure there was a special platter of food for me (including a cheese-free frittata).  They had also ensured that their delicious tray bakes were free from cow’s milk products. We had collected this feast from The Galley that morning – with the help of my son, Eddie, and his girlfriend, Steph.

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We made sure that Marjorie and John received plates of food as neither could have got down into the hold. And thankfully it was neither too hot nor raining. After Amy had sung some more songs Chris Bondi took John back to Thurne on the day boat. This was driven for us by Mark Olive.

So, at last, it was time to cast off and head back to Womack Ferry. I peered down into the hold, saw the chaos left behind after everyone had eaten – and decided that tidying up would have to wait. I just wanted to stay up on deck and enjoy being on The Albion. The Bondis went ahead of us so that they could wave to us as we passed Thurne dyke. Then we had to lay on our backs while the sail was lowered. (Belowphoto by Martin Upton).

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When we were moored at the wherry station I looked into the hold again and was astonished to see that the long refectory table was spotless! Everything was so clean and tidy – thanks to David’s daughter, Alex, and Serena. That was a lovely wedding gift!

So many thanks to The  Albion crew that day: Roger Watts, Andy Brooks and George Blake with emeritus crew Ivor Stemp.

We were running late and had booked a table at The Lion at Thurne for 6.30pm, so the food containers were quickly packed into the back of David’s car. Ken and Pat and our family guests joined us for the evening meal even though most of us weren’t that hungry. As it was such a nice evening we could sit out in the garden which was fortunate as my nephew, Euan, and his girlfriend Lois,  had brought their dog, Dopey, with them.

For us the party didn’t end that evening. Next day we spent a lot of time with Jim, his wife Sue and her cousin, Hilary, and also with David and Amy Bondi and their son Dylan. We waved at The Albion as it passed us that morning with any group of volunteers crewing it. Quite late that afternoon I went to Thurne to return the food containers to The Galley. When I opened the boot at Horning I was very dismayed to find that the large salad dishes weren’t there. I apologised to  Claire and then went to the wherry station to await the return of The Albion. After about half an hour I saw a couple come out of one of the huts there carrying those salad dishes. Claire had phoned the Norfolk Wherry Trust and the Humphries had come to find those dishes. It was such a relief to see the bowls handed over to Claire’s husband when he came to collect them. The  Humphries told me that in all their years as volunteers with the Norfolk Wherry Trust they could not remember any other occasion when The Albion was chartered for a wedding blessing like ours.

Our party could then happily continue. David’s cousin, John with his wife Debbie, had their camper van at Thurne  and my brother Dave, with his wife Leigh, daughter Sian, with Euan and Lois and Dopey were camping at Obi Dyke nearby. On the Friday evening they had joined us for a BBQ on the moorings beside David’s boat, Edna May.

David had hoped to take them on lengthy boat rides on Edna May but during the week before the wedding blessing neither he nor Jim could find why the engine was overheating. So on the Monday after the blessing we took Debbie and John on a very slow boat ride to South Walsham Broad and to Ranworth . Even at three mph there was more steam than water pouring out of the exhaust and a Broads Authority inspector hailed us thinking we hadn’t realised there was a problem. It was a perfect day for boating – and after a pleasant walk to visit Ranworth church John and Debbie spent an hour of so together on the foredeck  relaxing, and enjoying the scenery and the wonderful skyscapes.

On the Wednesday – on yet another sunny day – we took Dave, Leigh, Euan, Lois and Dopey to South Walsham and found a mooring where the dog could be taken for a walk. Sian missed out on that trip because she had to return to north Kent for a teacher training college interview.

We had time on Thursday to take Edna May slowly to Potter Heigham to visit a boat-doctor: Harry May. David told him all that had been checked so far … and within 20 minutes Harry had found a pipe which had become blocked. It didn’t take long to clean it out – and Edna May happily chugged along with the temperature barely touching 70 degrees all the way back to Thurne. What a relief!

That meant that on the Friday evening we could take Dave, Leigh and Sian to Potter Heigham for a fish and chip supper. (Euan and Lois had left as they felt that Dopey was homesick!)

And finally, on the Saturday, it rained. But by then we could sit back and enjoy so many happy memories – thanks to all our wonderful friends and family who had helped us to make it such a very special week.

Loss of houses to rent

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The new national energy efficiency regulations for rented property will have a major impact upon Dales’ communities Aysgarth and District Parish Council was told at its July meeting.

The chairman, Cllr John Dinsdale, reported that when he contacted local estate agents he learnt that 14 properties which had previously been rented had now been sold, some probably for second homes.

“We can’t lose so many rented properties,” he said.

He had invited Bernard Spence to describe what it had been like trying to bring a rented property up to the required standard so as to obtain an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) rating of at least band E.

Mr Spence explained that the new regulations had come into force in April this year and an estate agent had informed him that his property in Aysgarth (above) could not be advertised for let until it had been upgraded. Like many properties in the Dales this is an old stone-built house and so is especially difficult to upgrade to modern standards.

He did manage to upgrade it sufficiently but told the councillors:“Higher required EPC changes planned in the future will make it difficult for me to continue to let the property without increases in rent.”

District councillor Yvonne Peacock said she would discuss the issue with the legal department at Richmondshire District Council. “We need to keep young people living and working in the Dales,” she said. The issue will also be brought to the attention of the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority by District councillor Caroline Thornton-Berry.

Reading Room. – The council was informed that at an extraordinary meeting of Thoralby Parish on June 18 it had been decided that a grant of £10,500 should be made from the Thoralby Moss account towards the cost of repairing the village Reading Room.

Cllr Brian McGregor also reported that at a Thoralby Parish site meeting it had been agreed that it was not feasible to create a car parking area in Low Green Lane as there was insufficient ground area.

Westholme. – The council received the following response from the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority concerning the trees that had been felled at Aysgarth Luxury Lodge Holidays (previously Westholme Caravan Park):“After checking that this isn’t a conservation area and that there are no TPOS in force, the matter [was referred] to our Senior Trees and Woodlands Officer who referred onwards to the Forestry Commission given the amount of felled wood.

“Apparently, it is permissible to fell five cubic metres per quarter and the FC feel that no offence has been committed. The FC will, however, contact park management to give guidance on tree felling requirements, although it may be that the work is now complete. There is no breach of planning with respect to tree felling.”

Thoralby – Cllr McGregor told the meeting that Low Green Bridge needed a hand rail and netting or chicken wire as its surface was slippery. North Yorkshire County Council’s highways department reported that following an inspection it did not consider that the railway sleeper-type bridge needed to be replaced at present.

Cllr McGregor reported that the new tarmac on the road from Aysgarth Garage to Thoralby was 50 yards short of Tom Gill bridge where the road surface most needed to be repaired.

Aysgarth. – The highways department had informed the council that the speed limit sign on the west side of Aysgarth was past its sell by date and needed to be replaced. A new vehicle activated sign will be installed during the present financial year.

The clerk will ask the highways department if it will install bollards outside Flatlands or if this could be done by a resident. The council agreed that bollards are needed to stop cars being parked on the grass verge.

The highways department will also be informed about the bushes which are overhanging Dyke Hollins Lane near the Doctors’ Surgery as these were scratching cars.

The chairman, Cllr John Dinsdale, was thanked for repairing and varnishing benches. He said that the bench by the bus shelter in Aysgarth was beyond repair and so the Coronation plaque would be moved to another one.

Next meeting. – will be in Aysgarth Institute at 7.30pm on Thursday September 13.

Our Quaker Wedding – 2

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Our wedding on Saturday July 21 was a joyful, relaxed event where we had time to meet and greet friends and family and, in the Friends Meeting House in Countersett, promised to be loving and faithful partners in marriage to each other. So now we are David and Pip Pointon.

Little did we think when we started planning our  wedding that it would be a historic event for many who regularly attend meetings of the Religious Society of Friends in Wensleydale and Swaledale. This was because the last wedding at Countersett was in 1841. (For more about that see Our Quaker Wedding – 1).

We are so grateful to all those who helped to make it such a special occasion. We wanted a simple Quaker wedding but nothing is ever that simple.  First there was the problem of getting 78 people to Countersett where there is very little parking.  We began to explore the idea of hiring coaches to bring our guests from Bainbridge to Countersett but there isn’t much parking space in the latter either. Thankfully the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority gave permission for its staff car park to be used and from there it was a short walk to where Fosters Coaches of Redmire collected them for the journey into Raydaleside.

Two days before the wedding David, Ken Nicholas, Phil Crowther and John Suggitt took some benches from Bainbridge Meeting House to that in Countersett using John’s trailer. When I entered the Meeting House on Saturday the first thing I noticed was the two lovely colourful posies provided by Liz Burrage who had acted as our Quaker supporter. These were in addition to the arrangement of autumn leaves created by John Warren.

We couldn’t have asked for better weather for the wedding for it was overcast (so not too hot) but not raining. This meant everyone had time to greet us before going into the Meeting House – and were there a lot of hugs! They were more formally welcomed by the Friends who were on duty: Hugh Dower, Judith Nicholls and Ian Hunter Smart.

The majority of us had never attended a Quaker wedding before and so were very grateful to Ian who, as an elder, explained to us what to expect. A Quaker wedding takes place during a specially arranged meeting for worship – so at the beginning we all sat in silence until David and I were ready to stand  up and make our declarations to each other. A few people then shared their thoughts or memories about us – all of which was very encouraging.

I very rarely speak at a Quaker meeting but this time I did want to share something. I mentioned that the couple who married there in 1841 were Oswald and Agnes Baynes who then moved to Poynton in Cheshire (See Our Quaker Wedding  – 1). And there beside me and Eddie at my wedding were my brother Les, his wife Beryl, their daughter Clare, and her husband Barry – all from Poynton in Cheshire. I do like a God who takes special interest in us and has a great sense of humour.

Before the meeting closed the Quaker Registering Officer, Richard Waldmeyer, invited David and I to sign the Quaker Certificate of Marriage. The first witnesses to sign were David’s daughter, Alex, and my son, Eddie. Alex and Eddie then went with us into the home of the Warrens next door to sign the registers. Philip and Lesley Warren had prepared the room so nicely for us but it was odd to walk back in there for the first time since John died. (Below: David and I signing the registers with David’s daughter, Alex, behind us.)

While we were doing that our guests were lining up to sign our Quaker Certificate of Marriage. What a wonderful way to remember our wedding! I only heard about that Quaker tradition a few weeks before our wedding and the only one I had seen before ours was that of Janet Leyland and her late husband, Peter. Janet kindly did the calligraphy on ours so it looks amazingly good (below).

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Once everyone was outside it was time to let Eddie do something very special for us – an aerial photo using his drone (above). We were very impressed (the small version used here doesn’t do it justice). But it wasn’t until later that we realised that the Registrar wasn’t included. (I am glad that Les did take one of him when the registers were being signed.)

By then the coaches were waiting for their passengers, and soon we were all on our way to Sycamore Hall in Bainbridge (near where all those cars were parked) for afternoon tea provided by the Corn Mill Tearoom in Bainbridge. And what a tea! Many  described the wonderful selection of food prepared and served by members of the Peacock family as excellent, including those who were vegetarians or who had food intolerances. I especially enjoyed the butter-free carrot cake – and the big welcoming smile from Yvonne Peacock as she gave me a refreshing drink as I walked in.

We had seen the facilities at Sycamore Hall Extra Care Home when the reception after John Warren’s funeral was held there and we were very impressed. Our guests were too as they were able to sit in comfort in either a large lounge,  the dining room or out on the patio. Our special guest at the tea was Judith Warren who is now a resident at Sycamore Hall.

We had told everyone that we didn’t want any presents as we have two full households. Instead we said that, if they wished, they could give donations to the Yorkshire Air Ambulance Service. When we got home from Sycamore Hall with Eddie, Alex and Serena we were amazed to find that the donations amounted to over £800 (with some more to come we are told).

So a big thank you to all who helped to make our wedding so memorable – even Oswald and Agnes Baynes!

West Burton CofE School – NYCC to be questioned

On Wednesday morning (July 18) the ‘Shadow Board of Governors’ for West Burton CofE School will present a question at the full meeting of North Yorkshire County Council. This follows the decision by the Bainbridge, Askrigg and West Burton Federation of Schools  (BAWB) governing board not to allow that at West Burton to defederate. Here is County Councillor John Blackie ’s full statement following that decision:

 

The BAWB Board of Governors are in flat denial if they consider they are acting in the best interests of the children who attend West Burton Primary School by refusing the request by their parents, the local community and a highly talented Shadow Board of Governors to de-federate the School, and return it to the stand-alone status under which it flourished for over 100 years.   How they can say this beggars belief, as their plans are to bus children as young as 4 years of age 40 minutes a day, on top of the travelling to and from their homes to West Burton, often in the hostile weather we have here in the Upper Dales.

Their decision has now put the School on a fast track to closure as they have blatantly ignored the strongest evidence that the understandable parental objection to travelling combined with the uncertainty around the future of the school will see between 7 – 10 pupils currently on its roll being registered at Leyburn Primary School next term, and those intending to start at the school in September, up to 7 pupils, doing the same.  This leaves West Burton School with just 13 pupils and very vulnerable to almost immediate closure.  If instead it had been allowed to de-federate then there would have been 30 pupils there next term, more than enough to keep it successful and sustainable in the future.

The suspicion is that the BAWB Board of Governors always had a hidden agenda to close West Burton Primary School, so it appears they have got their own way – this is simply closure by stealth disguised as “due diligence”.

Sadly the Leadership and Management of the BAWB Federation has form on record for not listening to the communities they serve as it was only 3 years ago when bussing arrangements were implemented between Bainbridge and Askrigg Primary Schools, just under a mile and a 4 minutes journey away from each other, that saw 14 pupils from Bainbridge transfer to Hawes Primary School.  If those pupils had remained in the BAWB Federation then there would have been more funding available to have all teaching undertaken at West Burton, and the unwelcome travelling avoided.

The Board of Governors does not feature one Governor from West Burton, so it is more than a pity it did not take seriously the issues raised by the Shadow Board for the School, many of whom live in the village,  and know the wishes of the parents and the community intimately, or we would not be facing the crisis and collapse we are today.

The Local Educational Authority appears to be involved in a conspiracy as the announcement to refuse the request for de-federation was sent to all parents in the form of a press release issued by North Yorkshire County Council, despite it steadfastly maintaining the decision was the BAWB Federation’s to make, and make alone.  This adds to the concerns and begs the question – was there always a shared agenda between them to close West Burton Primary School ??

The decision marks the end of the beginning, not the end of the end for a stand-alone West Burton School.  There is to be a Public Question asked by a Shadow Board Governor at next Wednesday’s County Council meeting.  And an appeal made to a higher education authority where the failure of the BAWB Board of Governors to recognise what is truly best for the children and the community in which they live amidst will be put to the test.

West Burton CofE School – defederation refused

North Yorkshire County Council issued the following statement today concerning the BAWB Federation of Schools and West Burton CofE School. And see below for the letter I sent to them on June 25 in which I pointed out that it had taken just two years for the Federation’s governing board to lose the confidence and respect of all the parents of children at West Burton CofE School.

Statement issued by North Yorkshire County Council on Friday, July 13:

The governing board of three Wensleydale primary schools has decided it cannot support the wishes of community members and parents at West Burton Church of England Primary School for the school to defederate.

Governors of Bainbridge and West Burton Church of England primary schools and Askrigg Voluntary Controlled primary school, which are federated as a single body, took a decision against West Burton’s defederation at a meeting last night.

This decision follows a period of due diligence when governors met with representatives of the West Burton community to explore their wishes to defederate.

The West Burton community started to push for defederation after the governing board decided in May to remodel the federation in order to address the challenges they face around lower pupil numbers and finances.

Governors believe that their agreed option – which followed two separate consultations and which involves nursery, reception and key stage 1 classes on the Bainbridge site with key stage 2 classes divided between Askrigg and West Burton – provided the best educational and financial advantages.

However, as many respondents from West Burton were unhappy with this decision, governors also agreed to explore the possibility of West Burton’s defederation.

“We worked very hard as a governing body to agree a sustainable solution which involves the least disruption and continues to offer a very high quality of education for the children of Wensleydale,” said Derek Walpole, the federation chair of governors. “It was a very tough decision for governors to make and was never going to please everybody.

“This subsequent decision against defederation has also been very tough. We recognise the concern of West Burton’s parents and have listened very hard to what they have had to say. But we believe it is better if schools work together and we must also consider the sustainability of all three schools and what is in the best educational and social interests of children.

“We respect the decision of the governing body” said County Councillor Patrick Mulligan, North Yorkshire’s Executive Member for Schools. “Governors have explored the possibility of West Burton defederating with diligence and thoroughness and have listened very carefully to what people have had to say. The county council will continue to work with the governing body in future to continue to tackle the challenges of sustainability.”

………………

On the website of the Bainbridge, Askrigg and West Burton Federation of Schools the headteacher, Charlotte Harper, states: “We work actively with our parents and community to ensure that we provide the best educational experience for our children. At Bainbridge and West Burton our Christian ethos underpins the life of the schools and is the basis of our excellent relationships with our parents, local communities and churches.”

I was so concerned that the Federation was not doing this that on June 25 I wrote the following letter to the co-headteachers and the governors:

I am a member of Aysgarth Parochial Church Council and, in the past few months, I have attended two meetings of parents of West Burton CofE School. The following are my personal opinions.

As I said to Heather Limbach (the West Burton school diocesan foundation governor on the BAWB Board of Governors) some time ago, I do not think that bussing the youngest cohort of children from West Burton school to Bainbridge each day as proposed in Option 3A is in accordance with any aspect of educational good practice.

I have read the documents on the BAWB Schools website concerning Due Diligence. I await with interest the budget projections drawn up by some parents of children at West Burton School to see how these compare with that of Sally Dunn, head of finance at North Yorkshire County Council.

I also read James Kilner’s report of 5th June following his Due Diligence visit during the summer term of 2018. I have several concerns about that report and outline some of these below. Some of that report was very general and was not specific to the BAWB Federation of Schools including Improving outcomes and the Summary. It did seem to paint a glowing picture of the Federation and its leadership but didn’t provide any evidence to substantiate this. Surely an important Due Diligence report should be based upon evidence?

At the top of page three Mr Kilner stated that the Federation was well led and managed and added: “The strength of leadership is at all levels including a well-informed, professional and forward thinking governing body of the Federation.”

Yet, at the meetings I attended in West Burton I was saddened to see that the majority, if not all, of the parents of children at West Burton school expressed the opinion that, within two years of joining the BAWB Federation, they had lost any respect and trust they had had in its leadership.

Has the leadership been well-informed about this erosion of confidence? And if those parents are so disillusioned how does that impact upon the expected benefits to families and children at West Burton school? For, as Mr Kilner stated (page 6) – the benefits to families and the children’s outcomes should be maximised.

Mr Kilner visited the three schools before Option 3A has been introduced. On April 19th the executive Headteacher outlined Option 3A to parents, carers and stakeholders (published on the BAWB website).

The “cons” listed included: “Only 17 children on site at West Burton – isolating”; “Only 1 class at Askrigg – isolating”; and “cohorts of children never being taught together.”

I cannot see how that fits with Mr Kilner’s statement under the heading Effective practice (page 6) : “Schools with large Integrated learning that offers a balance of free flow and structure learning demonstrate the most effective practice…. “ Or under “Summary” – “Therefor (sic), securing children’s personal, social and emotional readiness to learn ….. can best be achieved when children are able to interact with a large number of their peers wherever possible.” (For which Mr Kilner offers no evidence.)

This surely does not fit with an option which increases the isolation of children. Nor will pupils grow in confidence and learn to cope with stress when their parents don’t feel that neither they nor their children are being well cared for by the Federation.

I, therefore, question how useful Mr Kilner’s report is concerning Due Diligence. Please could you enlighten me.

(As yet I have received no response.)

For James Kilner’s Due Diligence Report  5th June 2018 go to BAWB-Community Engagement 

And for details of Option 3A go to the same page on the BAWB website and read Community Engagement Archive

For the response from the West Burton community and parents see West Burton documents produced by John Blackie 

NHS day

I’m wearing my NHS Community First Responder shirt today as I am logged on for duty. On this, the 70th birthday of the NHS, I am very aware of how much I and my family owe Aneurin Bevan and the post-War Labour Government for this amazing service.

Take my dad, for instance. He accepted being called up to fight during WW2 but he didn‘t want to kill anyone. So, he first joined the catering corps and then was transferred to the Royal Army Medical Corps (RAMC). He was fully prepared to go into the front line of battle unarmed to help the injured. But on the night he was celebrating finishing his training he was walking along an unlit road with a friend when he was hit by a lorry being driven without headlights on. That sort of accident was quite common in the days of the blackout.

My mum was told he would die but Dad was a stubborn man. He survived but his body was badly damaged. He knew that at the end of the war there would be many men listed as disabled so he refused to be put in that category. Instead he fought against the pain and did the job of an able-bodied man at Thames Board Mills near our home in Grays, Essex.

In the 1970s he was told it was at last possible to give him a replacement hip. I  will never forget the huge smile on his face when he could, for the first time in about 30 years, put his left leg in front of his right one rather than having to drag it along behind him.

How could we, as a family living on limited means on a council estate, have afforded that if the NHS hadn’t existed?

Or there was the day when I fell out of a tree. Dad wasn’t sure if my arm was broken, so he strapped it up and mum took me on the bus to Tilbury hospital (long gone now). My mum was told that my arm was too swollen for an X-ray to show anything so I was admitted. I don’t remember anything special for children in the ward and I felt very lonely and miserable. But at least my mum didn’t have to pay anything.

Both then and when I had my appendix removed there was that all-enveloping security blanket of the NHS. I was completely unaware that any other system existed – until I went overseas. In the Indian sub continent I became very aware of the problems people faced when they couldn’t afford medical care or insurance. For example – a young man with over 30 per cent burns was told by a hospital administrator that if he or his family couldn’t pay upfront he couldn’t be admitted.

So I don’t take our NHS service for granted – and am very aware of how easily we could lose it as bits get ‘sold off’ to companies which need to make a profit.

Let’s hope the celebrations today will encourage our rich politicians to protect the NHS for those who depend upon it so much.

Below – about six years separate these photographs of my dad. The one of him in  uniform was taken just before the lorry hit him. The other shows the impact of that accident upon him.

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Our Quaker Wedding – 1

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I sat in the Religious Society of Friends’ Meeting House in the hamlet of Countersett (above) on Sunday June 24 enjoying the peacefulness of an hour’s quiet contemplation and prayer when I suddenly thought: “Wow, the next time I will be in here for a meeting will be on my wedding day!”

For David and I have decided, after 13 years together, that we will get married – and we had no doubt where we wanted the wedding to be. Yes, St Andrew’s at Aysgarth is a beautiful church and all those I know there would be able to attend if they wished. But David and I were in complete agreement that we wanted the simplicity of a ceremony which centres on the essence of a marriage between two people.

George Fox, the founder of the Religious Society of Friends  (Quakers), wrote in 1669: “For the right joining in marriage is the work of the Lord alone, and not the priests’ or magistrates; for it is God’s ordinance and not man’s; and therefore Friends cannot consent that they should join them together: for we marry none; it is the Lord’s work, and we are but witnesses.

Some have asked why we wanted to go to Countersett when we could use Bainbridge Meeting House. In the past ten years, however, I have mainly attended Countersett Meeting House where meetings are held on the last Sunday of each month. I love the atmosphere there along with the opportunity to commune with God, usually in silence.

Countersett Meeting House for us also means remembering John Warren who died earlier this year. An arrangement of bronzed autumn leaves that he created is still on one of the window sills.

A Quaker wedding takes place during a specially –arranged meeting for worship and all who regularly attend local Religious Society of Friends meetings can attend. We are, however, asking them to let us know beforehand as we need to know how many coach seats are required and how many will be joining us for ‘afternoon tea’ afterwards. This will be at Sycamore Hall with the catering being done by the Corn Mill Teashop in Bainbridge.

So slowly we are sorting out the logistics but, at the beginning, we needed to make sure we could be married at Countersett Meeting House.

Preparing for a Quaker wedding

The first step was to meet with Richard Waldmeyer. The Marriage Act of 1753 explicitly exempted Quakers and Jews from the statutory regulation of all other marriages in England and Wales – and that has been reaffirmed by subsequent Marriage Acts in England. So, as the Quaker Registering Officer for our region, Richard explained what we had to do – starting with sponsors signing the necessary forms for me as, unlike David, I am not a member of the Religious Society of Friends.

A big thank you to Liz Burrage and to David Ladyman for being willing to sign the forms at very short notice for, after so long together, we were suddenly in a hurry.

Richard also explained that we needed to get certificates of marriage from a local Registry office as well as attend a Quaker Meeting for Clearness. So one morning we went to the Registry Office in Richmond to apply for those certificates which now take 28 days to process. The first problem was that the computer didn’t immediately recognise Countersett Meeting House. Thankfully the registrar resolved that problem and we managed to complete the paper work.

After that we definitely needed some sustenance so made our way to one of our favourite eating places: Duncans Teashop in Richmond. My food intolerances have multiplied and become more severe recently so it was wonderful to be so well looked after – and to have yet another slice of their utterly sumptuous walnut and coffee cake which contains no cow’s milk products or potato starch.  David, of course, treated himself to a slice of their wonderful treacle tart.

After a short rest we headed to Leyburn Meeting House for the Meeting for Clearness. I have to admit I was both intrigued and a bit nervous. I had read the guidance provided in Quaker Faith and Practice which stated: “A meeting for clearness can provide an opportunity for the couple and selected members of the meeting community to explore their intentions and hopes, the nature of the commitment that is being contemplated, and ways the meeting can support the marriage after its solemnisation. Consideration of a non-member’s acceptance of the Quaker understanding of marriage could also be explored. The small group of Friends and the couple will get to know one another at a deeper level. Prayerful consideration in a relaxed atmosphere is time well spent…”

So I entered the room with some trepidation. But there was nothing to worry about for the elder leading the meeting, Ian Hunter Smart, quickly put us at ease. It was a good example of a prayerful and loving Quaker meeting.  Within a day the meeting houses in Leyburn, Bainbridge and Countersett were informed that approval had been given for our wedding to take place at the latter.

An interesting history

Richard was at the Meeting for Clearness – and it was he that told us that the last wedding at Countersett was in June 1841! As one local Quaker said – ours will be a historic wedding at Countersett Meeting House.

So the next time I was on duty as a volunteer in the Research Room at the Dales Countryside Museum in Hawes I had a look at the transcript made by Jack Handley of The Births Marriages and Burials, Records of the Society of Friends for Wensleydale and Swaledale which covers period from the 1680s to the 1770s. The first Quaker weddings in upper Wensleydale were held in the homes of members and that was certainly true of the first four at Countersett, three of which were in Richard Robinson’s house, Countersett Hall. Where that in 1709 was held is not clear as the date on the Meeting House is 1710.

Sir Christopher C Booth wrote in The Quakers of C ountersett and their legacy  that the Norsemen who colonised the upper dales before the Normans came were individualists and did not tip their hats to the gentry. Richard Robinson, he said,  was such an independent-minded dalesman who, by the 1650s, was searching for a spiritual experience beyond  that offered by the institutional church. When he heard about George Fox he went to Westmorland to meet him and was convinced.

Like other Quakers at that time he was prepared to face considerable abuse and persecution to be part of this revival of the Christian faith. Booth noted: ‘It was undoubtedly through the influence of Richard Robinson and his friends that so many became Quakers in upper Wensleydale. At the same time, Richard’s extensive travels in Yorkshire and throughout the land, sometimes taking him as far as London, helped to spread George Fox’s teaching far and wide.’ Robinson died in 1693 and Quaker Meetings continued to be held at Countersett Hall until the Meeting House was built.

When reading the diaries of George Fox I was particularly fascinated by his radical approach to gender equality and the impact that had on the development of female education. 

I was curious, of course, to find out more about the couple who were married at Countersett in 1841. They were Oswald Baynes, a farmer from Carperby of ‘full age’, and Agnes Webster, a ‘minor’ who was described as a housekeeper at Carr End near Countersett. The profession of her father was given as Linseed Manufacturer.

When I searched for them in the 1851 census I had a surprise for I found they were living at Poynton in Cheshire. That’s where my eldest brother, Les, lives with his wife, Beryl. His daughter and son-in-law also live in Poynton. We often joke about the similarity of that name to David’s surname.

In the 1851 Agnes was shown as being 29-years-old who had been born in Thirsk. She had two sons and two daughters – and the help of a 20-year-old female servant from Sedbergh. Oswald (32) was a farm steward at Tower Farm Yard. Ten years later he  described himself as the farm bailiff at The Towers.  By 1861 there were three more sons and the girls were at a Quaker boarding school in Winscombe, Somerset. Oswald continued to do well and by 1871 he had his own farm of 130 acres. His eldest son (also Oswald) went on to become an auctioneer in Chorlton on Medlock.

I couldn’t find Oswald Snr or Agnes in the 1881 census and decided I would have to put aside any further research as there was so much to do with our wedding date fast approaching.

In memory of Jim Cunnington

plaque_threeThere was a definite ‘Wow’ factor on Thursday June 7 when some members of the Association of Rural Communities‘ committee gathered at Winterburn for the delivery of a plaque in memory of Jim Cunnington.

The first surprise was to see  how well the lime tree had grown after it was planted in Jim’s memory five years ago.

Then I watched almost in awe as two farmers, the Association’s chairman Alastair Dinsdale, and Clifford Lambert, created a gap in the dry stone wall between the tree and the road and skilfully inserted the stone on which Alastair had attached the plaque. It was a short master class in dry stone walling.

Afterwards Jim’s widow, Jenny (pictured beside the plaque), invited us back to her home for a delightful afternoon tea.

At the committee meeting that evening it was agreed that the Association should plant two more trees – in memory of two more of its founder members, Tom Knowles and Stephen Butcher. This will be discussed with the families of Tom and Stephen.

Below: Alastair (left) and Clifford inserting the stone with plaque attached;  the plaque with the the lime tree behind it; tree planting in May 2013. 

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John Warren

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John Warren and his wife Judith on their 60th wedding anniversary

Architect John Cecil Turnbull Warren (86) was as happy using his remarkable skills and insights for the refurbishment of West Burton CofE School as he was restoring the Royal Crescent in Bath, advising on the conservation of the Al Gaylani Mosque in Iraq or as an UNESCO World Heritage inspector advising on the suitability of a site for the Terracotta Army in China.

John was a modest man who will be remembered for welcoming everybody to Quaker meetings at Countersett and Bainbridge, where he served as an Elder, Trustee and on the Council of the Wensleydale Friends. So it was no surprise that the Friends’ Meeting House in Bainbridge was packed for his memorial service.

He was born in Surrey, attended Collyers’Grammar School in Sussex, and won a scholarship from the National Coal Board to read Mining Engineering at what is now Newcastle University. After a year he changed to Architecture.

He divided his National Service between the RAF and working as a miner at the Rising Sun Colliery at Seaham Harbour.

“He never lost his love of the colliery experience and his admiration for the men who worked underground,” his daughter, Rebecca Brown said.

In later years he captured his experiences in an exceptional set of paintings of miners at work which were exhibited at Fairfield Mill near Sedbergh in 2012. As an artist using pen and ink, watercolour and oils his work was exhibited at the Royal Academy Exhibitions on several occasions.

He married Judith Kershaw in 1957 and, after a period travelling in Turkey studying Ottoman architecture, he set up his own architectural practice (the Architectural and Planning Partnership) in Horsham, West Sussex. Over the years the practice won numerous awards, expanded to having offices from Brighton and London to Baghdad and Mumbai and, during the 1980s, employed about 120 people.

In the 1960s and 1970s, when most Local Authorities were destroying historic architecture, he was consistently involved in the conservation of historic buildings and took this expertise to the Middle East, where he both designed new buildings and conserved historic houses and mosques.

He made annual explorations of remote and inaccessible desert regions in the Middle East and India recording and researching ancient churches and mosque, some of which have now been destroyed or damaged beyond recovery.

Back in England he was also involved in preserving the vernacular buildings of Sussex and he became the founding architect of the Weald and Downland Open Air Museum at Singleton. He was fundamental to its development as one of the most important museums of vernacular architecture. One of the books he wrote was about such vernacular buildings.

This led to a close friendship with surrealist artist Edward James on whose land the museum was site. He helped James to transform his house at West Dean into a college of teaching and conservation of the fine arts which it remains today.

In the 1970s John was the joint founder of the Amberley Chalkpits Industrial History Museum in West Sussex (now the Amberley Museum and Heritage Centre). He was the chairman of the trustees in the 1980s and 1990s.

His architectural and conservation advisory roles throughout the 1980s to the 2000s included with UNESCO, English Heritage, the Built Fabric Advisory Committee for Chichester Cathedral and Nominator for the Aga Khan Awards. He was also a Fellow of the Centre for Conservation Studies at the University of York, lectured at several British universities and supervised and examined a number of PhD theses in the field of historic buildings.

When he retired to Wensleydale in the late 1990s he continued to work on architectural projects whilst also lecturing, writing and painting. He undertook several projects in Wensleydale including the internal modernisation of West Burton CofE School and advising on the conservation of Nappa Hall near Askrigg.

He was a Member of the Royal Institute of British Architects, and a Fellow of the Royal Town Planning Institute, of the Society of Antiquaries and of the Royal Asiatic Society.

John leaves his wife, his two children, Philip and Rebecca and their spouses, and four grandsons, Christopher, Matthew, Francis and Alex.A Wensleydale Friend said: “John is missed by so many – in Wensleydale, in Britain and throughout the world.”

Judith died on January 17 2019. She will be buried next to John in the Quaker burial ground in Bainbridge on Friday February 1 at 11am followed by a memorial meeting in the Meeting House at 11.30am.

There were refreshments afterwards in Sycamore Hall, Bainbridge, where she lived and was cared for and supported over the last year of her life.

Below: The family think this was John’s selfie, in the days before mobile phones.

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Parents seek “independence” for West Burton school

The determination of parents to take back control of their school at West Burton was very clear at Thoralby village hall on Monday May 14. They voted unanimously in favour of seeking defederation from the Bainbridge, Askrigg and West Burton Federation of Schools (BAWB) because they believed that from September this would no longer provide the best form of education especially for the youngest children enrolled at West Burton school.

The parents of 21 of the 23 children at West Burton CofE school  confirmed that they preferred defederation from bussing the four to seven-year-olds from West Burton to Bainbridge each school day for lessons. The latter option was approved by the governors of BAWB on May 10 with the intention that it would begin in September.

Speaking for the parents West Witton parish councillor Dr Graham Bottley said that they believed the only route to long term stability for all three schools was for that at West Burton to de-federate. North Yorkshire County councillor John Blackie, who chaired the meeting, described it as the beginning of the campaign to save West Burton school.

“The only way we will save West Burton school and continue the wonderful educational experience that it gives is for it to defederate,” he said.

Burton cum Walden parish councillor Jane Ritchie described it as a local mini-Brexit. “You must get all the facts first before you jump – we owe that to our children,” she warned.

Cllr Bottley described how the instability about the future of the school had had a negative impact upon the children and their parents. “We want to let the governors of BAWB know that parents have had enough with the uncertainty of the past two years. We just want stability for the school,” he said.

Cllr Bottley said the bussing option would undermine the future sustainability of West Burton school. Parents did not want their young children bussed around the dales or siblings split between three schools, he explained. It was also likely that if children formed friendships at Bainbridge they would not want to return to West Burton.

He added that the instability had created a downward spiral with even less children attending West Burton school. He stated: “There won’t be a school at West Burton in two years.“If you’ve got a good stable school families will move into the area. If you’ve got stability at West Burton school it will grow. And if you’ve got stability at Bainbridge and Askrigg schools they will grow too.”

He believed all three schools would be stronger if that at West Burton defederated.

Some of the parents spoke of their frustration that they were not represented on the BAWB board of governors and that, as the budgets for the three schools had been amalgamated, they had no say in how the money was allocated.

“A positive point for defederation would be to be in control of our own budget and make decisions about what we can spend,” one parent said.

Cllr Blackie told them that they would have to make a compelling case for defederation. They also needed to set up a shadow board of governors. The latter would then form a sub-committee which would negotiate with that of BAWB.

Over eight people have said they are willing to take on what he described as the onerous task of being a member of that shadow board.

The decision to defederate or not would be made at a private meeting of the BAWB board of governors in July, Cllr Blackie said. He explained that if the BAWB governors agreed to defederation the shadow board would work alongside it for several months. He thought defederation could then be completed by January 2019.

He reported that he had been assured that if the BAWB governors agreed to de-federation that bussing the youngest children would not start in September.

Several councillors from Aysgarth and District and Burton cum Walden, agreed that the defederation of West Burton school was a better option than bussing the youngest children.

Richmondshire District councillor Yvonne Peacock was very concerned about maintaining the quality of education at West Burton school and the possibility of it being closed. She stated: “My worry is the impact upon the community.”

Cllr Bottley commented: “Losing a school has an impact on the whole village. It has an impact on the shops because you have less families and more holiday homes. You might lose the pub – everything interacts.

The schools at Bainbridge and Askrigg will remain in the federation and many of the parents at the meeting at Thoralby village hall said they hoped that the cooperation that had been built up between those and that at West Burton would continue if the latter left.

Cllr Blackie agreed that defederation didn’t need to be the end of collaboration and emphasised that as a county councillor he would work hard to ensure that all three schools remained open.