February to December 2014

ARC News Service reports on the meetings of the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority’s (YDNPA)  planning committee meetings in 2014.

As County Coun Shelagh Marshall left the meeting in December she commented: “I didn’t come here to put farmers out of business. I am very upset.” This was because the committee had refused, by just one vote, the retrospective application for a large silage building at Middlefield Farm, Melmerby. It was agreed, however, not to start enforcement action for 12 months. See below under Melmerby.

The towns and villages are listed alphabetically.

It took 13 months for the YDNPA to decide whether or not a farmer at Litton could convert a barn into a home – and  eight months for a farmer at Rylstone to get a decision on an application for a small wind turbine. So it’s not surprising that in February 2014 the committee’s chairman, Harold Brown, warned that the future of farming in the Yorkshire Dales was at risk.

In its response to the YDNPA’s consultation on its Management Plan 2013-18 the Association of Rural Communities noted that the Authority’s planning policies had often undermined the sustainability of Dales’ communities and the farms around them. The Association called for a proactive approach aimed at achieving a good result both economically for the farms and also for the landscape.

For if the farms become unsustainable there will be a considerable negative impact upon the very landscape that the National Park Authority is supposed to protect.

In his analysis of planning applications for the last quarter of 2013 Richard Graham, the YDNPA’s head of development management, reported that for 67 applications 13 weeks had elapsed without a decision being made. The government guidelines state that the time limit for decisions to be made on applications is usually eight weeks. This can be extended to 13 weeks so long as the written consent of the applicant is obtained.

Mr Graham said several of the decisions have been delayed because officers were in negotiation with applicants or because applicants had not yet signed S106 agreements. The time allowed for starting structural work once an application has been approved does not begin until the legal agreement has been signed.

He also reported that in the last quarter of 2013 only 56 per cent of minor applications were dealt with in less than eight weeks as compared with the national target of 65 per cent.

Arncliffe – March – It was decided by just one vote that Amerdale House Hotel, which has been empty since 2009, cannot be turned into a family home.

Arncliffe parish meeting strongly supported the application for change of use because:  the hotel had proved to be financially unviable; the large building, which was deteriorating, was not suitable for affordable housing; and the proposal would allow a family to live in the village and so contribute to the local area.

Craven District Councillor  John Roberts supported those arguments and added that the house, which was in an iconic position at the entrance to the village, badly needed renovation. The new owners wanted to convert it into a seven bedroom family home which, Cllr Roberts said, would help towards the sustainability of the village.

North Yorkshire County Councillor Shelagh Marshall said that the Authority had previously set a precedent for allowing a building to return to residential use. She stated that the hotel was completely empty and could not be sold as a going concern and added: “It would be tragic if this family is not allowed to move into Littondale.”

Peter Charlesworth agreed that it would be difficult to convert Amerdale House into local occupancy flats but that as a family home it could add to the vitality and vibrancy of Arncliffe. “I think we should always maintain a degree of flexibility. I think there are grounds in this case for a departure from the script,” he said.

But the majority supported the planning officer who stated that the change of use would result in the loss of an employment site and that there should be a local occupancy agreement if it was no longer a hotel.

Ann Brooks reminded members: “It is extremely important that we adhere to our policies.” One of these was that such a business must be advertised for six months in accordance with the Authority’s regulations to prove whether or not it could be sold as a hotel.

The committee was informed that such a marketing exercise had been carried out in 2006 which had led to the Authority giving approval for a change of use on condition that there was a local occupancy agreement. Amerdale House had then been sold and the next owners had run it as a hotel until 2009 when their application for change of use was refused.  They had subsequently sold the hotel and removed all the furnishings.

The planning officer stated that the marketing information acquired in 2006 was no longer considered adequate. But North Yorkshire County Councillor  Roger Harrison-Topham commented: “I think we are just being perverse for insisting that they go through that again.”

His fellow county councillor John Blackie, however,  agreed with Mrs Brooks and stated that the committee would set an unfortunate precedent if it allowed the hotel to become a family home which could be sold at any time on the open market.

Askrigg – August – Askrigg and Low Abbotside parish council had informed the planning committee that it had no problem with the conversion of a double garage to form ancillary accommodation across the road from Dale Grange in Askrigg, but it did have concerns about access on to the main road. The committee unanimously approved the proposal to create an annex with a bedroom, bathroom and a sitting area as long as it was subject to a section 106 agreement restricting its occupation so that it remained ancillary to the use of Dale Grange.

Austwick –March – Retrospective permission was granted for the siting of a timber shed, creation of hard standing with bin store area and the six positioned caravan siting areas at Silloth House, Austwick. The planning officer stated that these were reasonable additions to a modest scale campsite.

Austwick Parish Council had raised concerns over the accuracy of plans relating to a recently modified Section 106 agreement covering the site. The planning officer said that those issues would be dealt with separately.

Austwick – May – A request by the Scout Association to hold a tent rally on land (Green Land) beside Silloth House Campsite led to an application to modify a Section 106 agreement. That agreement had meant that five caravan rallies by exempt organisations could be held on Green Land  each year. Members agreed to the request from Silloth House Campsite that tents should be included. The number of rallies each year will remain at five with each lasting no more than four days.

Aysgarth – June – The committee unanimously agreed that there can be 25 tent pitches on the field beside Aysgarth Falls Hotel. These can be used from March to November each year.

The field has been used for camping for over 20 years but on the basis of the 28 days permitted development rights. Retrospective planning permission was also given for the four timber sheds erected to provide washing and toilet facilities. The owners of the hotel, Heather and Steve Swann, plan to erect one more.

The planning officer pointed out that the site was already well screened and that it had been agreed that bushes would be planted in the main part of the site to soften the impact of the tents on long distance views.

Burnsall – October – The Stockdale family of Burnsall was delighted when the committee unanimously agreed that a barn in Main Street, Burnsall, could be converted.

“Bringing a young family back into a village like Burnsall is amazing. If we can get young people back into the school (it) is just fantastic,” said Ed Williams on behalf of Burnsall Parish Meeting.

The only reason that the planning officer had given for refusing the application was that North Yorkshire County Council’s highways department had stated that the access was unsatisfactory.

Mr Williams  and Alan Stockdale pointed out that with so many cars parked on the sides of the road through Burnsall drivers had to reduce their speed. Mr Stockdale added that there would be a reduction in traffic using the access compared to when it was used for agricultural purposes.

Members of the committee agreed that the application ticked all the boxes in the objective to encourage young people to return to the Dales.

Carlton in Coverdale – February – A single storey rear extension to Quakers Garth in Carlton in Coverdale can be built even though two North Yorkshire County councillors questioned the decision.

Lady Gardner, who lives next door to Quakers Garth, and North Yorkshire County Councillor Roger  Harrison-Topham  explained that the original building had been a Dales farmhouse with barn. As a sunroom had already been added the new extension would mean that the size of Quakers Garth would be doubled. Both asked how the Authority could agree to such a building being overextended.

“The proposed extension is desperately inappropriate to a barn,” said Cllr Harrison-Topham.

At the December 2013 meeting when he requested that a site visit should be held, he commented that incremental extensions to houses could have a “reverse tsunami effect”. At the February meeting Cllr  Blackie pointed out that in Richmondshire the district council would not give permission for such an extension to a barn. “So is the district council protecting the landscape more than the National Park?” he asked.

The planning officer had reported that the pitched roof extension would be built where there had been a flat-roofed garage. It was longer than the garage but the applicant had amended the plans so as to reduce its height. That amendment had led to the parish council supporting the application.

Several members commented that the extension was a modest one and the majority accepted the officer’s statement that it would not be detrimental to the simple vernacular character of the building. Following the site meeting in January most members also felt that the extension would not have an adverse effect on the neighbouring property.

Cracoe – August– The majority of the committee agreed that the Authority’s solicitor should pursue prosecution proceedings against Richard Jackson of Toppan Farm, Cracoe, for failure to comply with the terms of an enforcement notice served in April 2006.

The members were informed that the enforcement notice in 2006 was issued when a caravan at Toppan Farm was being used a dwelling. An appeal against that notice was dismissed and the caravan was removed in March 2007.

The enforcement officer, Nicola Dinsdale, explained that the siting of another caravan at Toppan Farm for residential purposes would still be in breach of that enforcement notice. She had informed Mr Jackson about that in April and so it was felt that the occupants had been given ample opportunity to find alternative accommodation. The caravan was the home of Mr Jackson’s son, his partner and his baby.

North Yorkshire County Councillor Robert Heseltine had proposed that Mr Jackson should be given four months to apply for additional housing on the site. At present there is permission for one detached house but Mr Jackson would like to change this to three cottages to provide accommodation for his sons.

Mrs Dinsdale had informed the committee that temporary permission for a caravan might be given in exceptional circumstances when a house was being constructed. Cllr Heseltine’s amendment was not accepted by the majority of the committee.

Cautley, Sedbergh – June – Permission was granted for Cross Hall Caravan Park at Cautley, Sedbergh to be open for 11 months each year (March 1 to January 31). An area within the existing site for static caravans has been set aside for tents and for those there will be no restriction on the length of stay during the season.

Retrospective permission was also given for the change of use of an adjacent field to form an extension to the caravan park but on the condition that touring caravans and tents could not be there for a period of more than 28 days. The maximum number of touring caravans on that site at any one time must be five.

Sedbergh parish council was opposed to the unrestricted or prolonged stationing of touring caravans and tents as it was felt this would be detrimental to the local economy by restricting the opportunities for those looking for short stay pitches.

The planning officer assured the committee that the park owners will be asked to keep a detailed log of those staying throughout the season to make sure that the caravans were not being used as permanent homes.

Clapham – November – Approval was given for the detailed plans for the conversion of a former office building at Old Mason’s Yard, Clapham,into two homes, both subject to local needs legal agreements. The committee also approved the detailed plans to demolish a pre-fabricated store and replace it with a two-bedroom local market bungalow.

In 2012 Clapham-cum-Newby parish council had objected to the outline plans due to the impact the additional vehicular traffic might have on the access road which is maintained by the village hall.

At the planning committee meeting North Yorkshire County Councillor Richard Welch welcomed the opportunity to have more local occupancy homes in Clapham. He asked if the planning department had followed up on the parish council’s reports that the applicant had felled some trees without permission,and that one of the four existing oil tanks was unbonded and was within 50 metres of Clapham Beck. The planning officer said she would check if these were enforcement matters.

Dent -June – It was agreed to hold a site meeting at Cowgill Barn, Cowgill, Dent.

The parish council fully supported the application for the erection of extensions to the converted barn and the insertion of a window in the east elevation. But the planning officer recommended refusal because it was felt that the design, size, form and external appearance, including excessive fenestration and the insertion of a new window , would result in a development which would significantly harm the traditional, simple appearance and special interest of what was originally an agricultural building.

When requesting a site meeting Graham Dalton commented: “I don’t think we can appreciate the context from the photos. It is essential to go and see it.”

Permission was granted in January 2015.

Embsay – August – Approval was given for full planning permission for the construction of a flood storage reservoir. This would include a dam with a crest height of 14 metres, spillway and stilling basin as well as a new road junction and access road from the A65. The committee was informed that the dam and reservoir would help to protect Skipton from flooding.

Giggleswick – August – The committee accepted the advice of the senior planning officer to defer making a decision for one month concerning the unauthorised change of use of Woodlands at Giggleswick. In June  the owner confirmed that the site was being used for holiday let accommodation for 19 people, wedding receptions and corporate “team building” events.

The original permission was for it to be used as a dwelling for a single household. The owner now wanted to apply for a temporary change of use of the property rather than enforcement action being initiated. Deferred again at the September meeting as awaiting a planning application from owner.  (An application was submitted but later withdrawn. Applications for certificates of lawfulness for existing use were refused.)

Grassington -April – Permission was granted for seven affordable homes for local people to be built in Grass Wood Lane, Grassington. There will be two three bedroom houses, two with two bedrooms, and two one bedroom apartments.

Grassington parish council, although being in favour of the development, had asked that the issue of sufficient parking spaces on the site should be addressed before planning permission was given. It would have liked to have seen seven more parking spaces in addition to the 11 included in the planning application especially as Grass Wood Lane was narrow and would be reduced to a single track road if any vehicles were parked on it.

Richard Graham, the head of development management, explained that, according to highway regulations, the size and specifications of the access would also have to be increased and that could make this affordable housing scheme uneconomic.

Peter Charlesworth agreed with Councillors Blackie and Welch that the parking spaces proposed should be adequate for such a modest scheme.

Cllr Blackie said: “We have been trying for years to get affordable housing.”

A survey in October last year showed that 14 people were interested in the properties to be built in Grass Wood Lane, seven from Grassington and the others from neighbouring villages within the National Park.

Andrew Colley, who is a Grassington parish councillor, was also concerned about the reports of infrequent flooding at the site. The applicant, the affordable housing provider Home Group Limited, has proposed to create a gentle slope in the garden of one of the properties to manage surface water run-off.

The YDNPA planning officer said that additional work would be carried out to make sure that the dry stone wall between that garden and the road was not undermined by that.

Section 106 agreements will mean that the properties will be retained as affordable local housing in perpetuity. The local occupancy restrictions will include an additional clause which will extend eligibility  to those who have resided permanently in the National Park for the preceding three years but who work outside the National Park or are unemployed, and have a demonstrable need to leave private accommodation.

The housing will be made available on a cascade basis, aimed at targeting the parish of Grassington first, followed by adjoining parishes (within the National Park, including split parishes) before being made available to the rest of the National Park.

Grassington- July – The proposed re-opening of an access at Town End in Station Road, Grassington, was potentially so dangerous that a site meeting should be held to evaluate the situation Mr Colley and Cllr  Roberts told the committee.

Cllr Roberts warned that the committee should heed the advice of the parish council because the entrance was on a very busy road, close to both a blind corner and a busy junction.

Mr Colley said: “The parish council is absolutely desperate for this property to be re-developed as the site has been empty for many years.” He added, however, that there was no pedestrian footpath along that section of Station Road and many motorists exceeded the 20mph speed limit. The traffic included heavy lorries and there were shops adjacent to the site as well as a school nearby.

But not only did the majority of the committee refuse the parish council’s request for a site meeting but also voted to approve the application. This was for the conversion of a barn to create a three bedroom house for local occupancy, the demolition of a garage block and part of a vehicle repair shop, and the erection of an office building. The re-development of the site includes the removal of petrol tanks and contaminated soil.

There is an entrance to the site in Hebden Road which will provide access to the car parking area for the present house and the barn conversion. The back part of the vehicle repair shop will be demolished with the front retained and rebuilt as an office space. The undercroft will be re-opened to provide a vehicular entrance on Station Road.

Both the applicant’s agent, Andrew Long, and the planning officer told the committee that the vehicle accesses on Station Road and Hebden Road already existed and the proposal was likely to result in a reduction rather than an increase in possible traffic movements.  North Yorkshire County Council highways department had no objection to the application.

Mr Charlesworth commented that the refurbishment of the site would lead to an enormous enhancement of what was at present an eyesore.

Grassington – November – Yorkshire Housing can go ahead with constructing 22 affordable homes for rent in Grassington – but only after some soul searching by the planning committee about the relationship with the local parish council.

Although Grassington parish council whole-heartedly supported the replacement of the social housing scheme for elderly residents in Aynham Close with affordable homes it had strenuously opposed Yorkshire Housing’s application. This was because it had unanimously supported a previous scheme put forward by Yorkshire Housing. The parish council informed the planning committee that it believed that those plans were never submitted because the planning officer had said “she did not like them and wanted a different lay out.”

It added that the present scheme was seen by it and residents as being unfriendly, too cramped, too close to the existing houses, and much too block-like in appearance.

When questioned about this at the planning committee meeting Richard Graham, the head of development management, said that the earlier scheme had had a more urban layout which included one large block of flats which was not appropriate to the site.

The planning officer argued that the present mews layout and the vernacular design would enhance the appearance of the approach to the village and reflect the wider character of the area around it rather than perpetuating the modern, urban form of post-war housing immediately adjacent.

Mr Colley commented that although he felt the planning officers had done a good job they should have taken the time to discuss the present plans with the parish council and residents before bringing these to the planning committee. He added:“I think we are all aware now that the planning department is going to have to work a lot more closely with parish councils and with residents in our National Park.”

Mr Charlesworth said: “This is a scheme which will enable young families and young people to live in the dales. The objection seems to be that (the parish council) has a perception that this present scheme is something to do with the personal whim of a planning officer and that’s wrong.”

He explained that he believed there were strong planning reasons for the present scheme and that it was a good one.

Mr Colley asked if local residents would be given sufficient time to apply for any of the homes. He told the committee:“People are very concerned because there is a lot of talk about further developments (in Grassington) after this one. But they do not want to see people coming into this accommodation from outside the area without them having a fair time to apply.”

Cllr Blackie said that in the Richmondshire area under the local connection policy local people had three to four months to apply for affordable housing.

The application, which was approved by the committee, was for 22 affordable dwellings consisting of eight three bedroom houses, six two bedroom houses and eight flats.

Cllr Marshall was very disappointed with the scheme because although the dwellings were described as “lifetime homes” there was no provision for a restaurant or a community room so that the older residents would not feel isolated or lonely. “It’s very sad that the developers haven’t taken the opportunity to put the most up to date accommodation for older people on this site when it had that use before,” she said.

Like Mr Colley and Cllr Heseltine she abstained from voting.

Grassington  – December – A two-storey house for a disabled resident can replace a garage adjacent to Gills Fold in Grassington.

The committee was informed that the house would be for Tom Cherry who is suffering from a progressive disability. He wanted to live closer to the town centre and so enjoy the facilities there for as long as possible.

Even though Mr Cherry was willing to sign a local occupancy agreement the planning officer had recommended refusal of the application partly because the house would, he stated, have an oppressive and over-dominant effect on a neighbouring property and so severely harm the residential amenity of its occupants.

Those living closest to the site, however, had written letters supporting the application and there had been no objections.

Mr Colley said: “Mr Cherry is a well-respected local builder who will ensure that the quality of the building will be excellent. And it will be an additional local occupancy house in Grassington.”

He added that the parish council was very enthusiastic about the application but should have sent a detailed response giving all the reasons for why it supported Mr Cherry’s plans.“I think this is a warning to other parish councils,” Mr Colley said.

As a significant majority of the planning committee members voted to approve the application Mr Graham, said that it would not be referred back to the February  meeting.

Grinton – April – There were gasps of surprise when the planning officer displayed photographs of the work which has been carried out on a barn in Swale Hall Lane, Grinton. These showed that domestic style windows and doors, an external flue, and a modern kitchen had been installed in what was an agricultural building in open countryside.

When queried about the alterations the owner had told the YDNPA that the intended use of the barn was to provide a “dry, safe, secure and vermin proof” environment in which to store animal feed and straw for when he wanted to keep animals on the adjoining land. At present the sheep which are grazed on that land belong to W H Brown and Son.

Harold Brown, the chairman of the planning committee, declared a pecuniary interest and left the room before the request for an enforcement notice was discussed. The majority were in favour of an enforcement notice being served to secure the removal of the windows, doors, flue and internal domestic fixtures and fittings as well as the re-instatement of the original eaves and ridge height. The owner will also have to remove a caravan from the site which is being used for residential purposes.

Hebden – Moorside Farm

September – An application to convert a barn for residential use with an office annex at Moorside Farm might be contrary to the present policies of the YDNPA but it was in accordance with the spirit of the Authority, Peter Charlesworth stated.

Mr Charlesworth, who is chairman of the YDNPA, argued eloquently that the application should be approved because it would not only enhance the landscape by restoring a derelict barn but it would also enhance the economic viability and vitality of the Dales and especially Hebden.

“Hebden has lost its shop, its post office, its toilets – no wonder the parish council is so supportive of any means which will help to keep this village alive and allow a young family to live and work in the national park,” he added.

He and Cllr Roberts  pointed out that the barn, although technically in the open countryside, was beside a main road and part of a farm complex. Cllr Roberts said: “If we don’t approve it the barn will be gone and it will pull half the house with it probably and we would have lost a complete property.”

Jason Simpkin told the committee that his widowed mother-in-law, Anne Appleton, wanted to return to the farmhouse at Moorside Farm and he and his wife wished to live next to her to support and care for her. There would be a section 106 agreement to retain the converted barn as a local occupancy dwelling.

He would base his electrical business there and hoped to employ an apprentice and an office worker. “This would have a positive economic impact upon the park,” he said.

He argued that the YDNPA draft Local Plan would allow such barn conversions. But the planning officer said it was too early to give any weight to the proposals in that draft. She did accept that the proposed conversion of the semi derelict barn would improve its appearance.

Even though just one committee member abstained and all the others voted to approve the application Mr Graham, said that the decision would have to be confirmed at the October meeting as it was not only against officer recommendation but also the present planning policy. The planning department will also consult with North Yorkshire Highways about the access from the A65.

October – “I feel I have a gun held to my head,” retorted Ian McPherson – and several other members expressed their shock at the unexpected advice given by the Authority’s monitoring officer, Gill Cooper, concerning the committee’s intention to approve a barn conversion at Moorside Farm.

Mr Charlesworth stated: “I have to say that to have (the advice) dropped on us this morning … is unsatisfactory.”

That advice was that it would be illegal for the committee to confirm its almost unanimous decision last month to approve the barn conversion because the material considerations listed by members were not sufficient to justify their not complying with the Authority’s Development Plan or the provisions of the National Planning Policy Framework.

The material considerations put forward by members included securing a local occupancy dwelling, providing employment and enhancing the economic viability of Hebden as well as supporting the emerging local plan policy.

Mr Charlesworth, a retired judge, asked for a month’s deferment to give members time to consider the situation. “I would still like to approve the conversion of this barn,” he said.

Cllr John Blackie described it as sabre rattling by the legal officer to tell them what they must and mustn’t do and wondered if a decision to approve would have to be considered by the Secretary of State. To do that a special meeting of the Full Authority may have to be called to ratify the decision.

The chairman of the committee, Harold Brown, stated: “I would not have changed my mind if approval had been on the table today. I think it’s illogical (as) we are crying out for houses. We are struggling to build any affordable houses.

November – The planning committee did find a way to allow the barn at Moorside Farm to be converted into a family home even though the monitoring officer repeated the advice she had given the previous month. She did,however, accept that there might be exceptional personal circumstances.

Mr Charlesworth  thanked Mr Graham, for meeting with the family to discuss those personal circumstances and added:“In my view it is justified for us as a committee to say these are truly exceptional circumstances which enable us to justify departure from policy. I appreciate that Richard Graham doesn’t think they are.”

He explained that when the farmer had died two years ago his widow had gone to live with her daughter and son-in-law in Skipton. But she wanted to return to her family home. The farmhouse, however, was in need of renovation and her daughter and son-in-law wanted to be there to support her.

Mr Charlesworth said: “We (now) have a situation where we can allow this farming family to move back to Hebden, renovate the house and convert the barn.

“In my view it’s a win situation for the National Park. We are desperate to keep young people in the dales.”

Cllr  Blackie was among those who agreed with him. Cllr Blackie stated: “We need to hang on to our young families otherwise in a generation or two many of the communities in the Yorkshire Dales National Park will collapse.”

Like Mr Charlesworth he disagreed with the advice given by a legal Counsel. He added: “Another barrister might have given an alternate view.”

Cllr Marshall reminded the committee that the Authority also had a duty to foster the economic and social well-being of the area.

When it came to the vote two members abstained with the majority approving the application for the conversion of the barn to a house for local occupancy with ancillary office space.

Horton-in-Ribblesdale – March – Permission was granted for a railway siding to be constructed at Arcow Quarry near Helwith Bridge. Stone will be transported to it from Dry Rigg Quarry.

It is likely that the railway siding will not become operational until October 2015, about seven months after the present permission to extract stone at Arcow quarry expires. Lafarge Tarmac which owns both quarries has permission to extract stone from that at Dry Rigg until 2021.

YDNPA officer, David Parish, said it was not possible to construct a siding at Dry Rigg because that would have a serious impact upon the Swarth Moor SSSI as would a new road between the two quarries or a conveyor belt link. A new habitat will be created for the great crested newts in the low lying fields between Arcow Quarry and the Settle-Carlisle line.

Cllr Welch very reluctantly proposed approving the company’s application for the railway siding and explained:“I think this is unnecessary. It’s unneeded and unwarranted and I think the company is being put to an awful financial burden to satisfy a small minority of lobbyists and campaigners. (But) if this is the way of keeping people in employment ….then I’m afraid I shall have to go with it.”

One of the objectives of the Authority’s Management Plan is to reduce road haulage from the three quarries in Ribblesdale by at least 50 per cent.

The arrival and departure of trains, all loading operations and all heavy goods vehicle traffic between Dry Rigg and Arcow will only take place from Monday to Friday each week between 7.30am and 5.30pm. There would only be one train per weekday, with each taking between three to four hours to load.

It was agreed that although, under the present agreement,  the restoration scheme for Arcow Quarry would be completed by the end of June 2016 that would not now include the sidings and stockpile area. Lafarge Tarmac has indicated that it is considering submitting an application to deepen Arcow Quarry.

Hudswell  – August – It was unanimously agreed that full planning permission be given for the demolition of existing farm buildings at land to the west of Holbrook House in Hudswell, and that a three bedroom house could be built there. The committee agreed with Hudswell and District parish council that the demolition of the ugly farm buildings and the construction of a well-designed house would be a planning gain on the fringe of the Hudswell conservation area.

Kettlewell – May – Several members were very pleased that work could begin soon to make the footpath from Kettlewell to Starbotton accessible to disabled people in wheelchairs.

Permission was granted to the YDNPA Ranger, Phil Richards, to construct an access ramp link to the footpath beside Kettlewell Road Bridge to accommodate wheelchair access. This will link the track owned by the National Trust to the public right of way beside the River Wharfe. The work will be carried out jointly by the National Trust and the YDNPA.

Natural England had confirmed that the ramp would not destroy any of the features of the River Wharfe Site of Special Scientific Interest. Part of the site is also a Biodiversity Action Plan priority habitat and so nothing must be stored on that calcareous grassland.

The Environment Agency had recommended that the ground levels must not be raised as the site is within an area of designated flood risk.

Cllr Harrison-Topham wondered if the culverts in the ramp would be large enough to stop it becoming a dam when there was heavy rainfall. Consent must be obtained from the county council (the Lead Local Flood Authority) for those culverts.

Kettlewell – June – It was unanimously agreed that a new campsite can be created at Kettlewell.

Cllr Roberts, who lived in the village, told the committee that the lack of camping sites in Kettlewell and Upper Wharfedale meant that the Authority was not fulfilling its second purpose (to encourage the public to have access to and enjoy the National Park) particularly to those on low incomes.

He said that the loss of a campsite in Kettlewell had, in part, led to the closure of one of the pubs and a fall in income for the village shop. The village was also in danger of losing its post office. He added: “The economic sustainability of Kettlewell is therefore considered by the parish council and myself to be a major planning issue in this case.”

He did request, however, that the Authority should ask North Yorkshire County Council’s highways department to consider ways to protect children going to the village playground on Conistone Lane. He also emphasised the need to retain the footpath which crosses the camping field.

The field, Staple Croft, is large enough for 40 tents and vehicles and will be open to campers all year round. There will be no formal pitches or hard surfacing, and no-one can stay on the site more than 28 days at one time.

A new gateway will be created at the south-western corner leading to Conistone Road, and a single storey stone clad amenity building will be constructed on the southern boundary. This will house not only the toilets, showers and pot washing area, but also a biomass boiler room and the reception.

The applicant, Nigel Lambert, has agreed to plant more trees and bushes to provide additional screening and to make sure that the site is well supervised.

Cllr Welch commented that each year the Authority aimed at increasing the number of visitors to the National Park and asked: “But where are all these people going to stay?” he asked. He was pleased that they had an opportunity at the meeting to approve more camping sites (see also Aysgarth and Cautley)

Langcliffe – December – A young family was refused permission to convert the former primary school in Langcliffe into a home and a floral and art workshop even though 38 residents had signed a petition in support of their plans.The committee heard that Jamie Kelly and Viktorya Hollings wanted to turn part of the school, which closed in 2007, into an open market home for themselves and their two children.

Langcliffe parish council was in favour of their plans which included a floral and art workshop plus allotments and a woodland area in the school grounds. In addition to the petition there had also been ten letters in support as villagers saw this as a lovely use of the building and a way of stopping it from decaying further.

But the school is outside the village development boundary and the planning officer was not convinced that the couple’s plans for the building sufficiently justified the loss of a community facility or the creation of a dwelling in the open countryside.

Ms Hollings told the committee: “After six years North Yorkshire County Council has not found a community use and private investors interest have come to nothing.” She added that renovations would cost £150,000 to £200,000 – a high cost for any community use in such a small village.

All they asked in return for providing some community use that fitted in well with other activities in the village such as the annual flower show was to be allowed to make their family home there.

Cllr Welch accepted that something needed to be done with the school but pointed out that it had been marketed by the county council as a commercial building. He said that several people would have been prepared to make high bids for it if it had been auctioned for open market housing.

The majority voted for his recommendation that the couple’s application be refused because it was against planning policy.

Litton – February – The decision in December 2013 to allow Parker Barn to be converted into an agricultural worker’s home was ratified. It had taken 13 months for permission to be granted to Stephen Lund to convert the barn on the family’s farm.

It had taken that long because originally the planning officer had asked the family to accept Section 106 agreements on three properties in Litton: Parker Barn; Potts Beck and West Farm. The latter belongs to the farm that the Lund family (Stuart and his sons Stephen and Stewart) presently hold the lease on.

Stewart, as a partner in the family business and who has an open market mortgage on Potts Beck, was asked to sign an agreement restricting his home to being occupied by an agricultural worker, which would have reduced the value of the house.

The Lunds plan to surrender the lease on West Farm at some time in the next few years as they have bought sufficient land around Litton to have their own farm. Parker Barn is on that land.

The planning officer was concerned that if the West Farm lease was not surrendered Parker Barn could be sold to someone not working on the Lund’s farm. He therefore asked that Parker Barn should be tied by a S106 agreement to the land they own.

At the February meeting two members of the committee, Ann Brooks and Mr Charlesworth, spoke in favour of this.

But the majority agreed with Cllr Blackie who argued that if Parker Barn was just an agricultural worker’s dwelling it could be used by a retired member of the family. He commented: “The Authority should trust those who work so hard to maintain this wonderful landscape. Sometimes we need to create the right circumstances for farming to continue.”

After the vote the chairman of the committee, Harold Brown, said: “We hope this will serve the family for generations. That’s if farming survives.”

Low Bolton -December – The planning committee approved an application by the Bolton Estate for the conversion of agricultural buildings to provide one live work unit and two workshop/office units at Low Bolton in Wensleydale.

The Authority’s head of sustainable development informed the committee that there was no specific policy in the 2006 Local Plan about live work developments. He added: “However in the absence of a specific policy on live work the Authority should presume in favour of sustainable development, unless there is a clash with some other aspect of National or local policy.”

The units at Low Bolton will be subject to S106 legal agreements which include that residential use cannot begin before the business part of the building is in use.

Low Row in Swaledale October – The educational work of Cath Calvert at Hazel Brow Farm in Swaledale was applauded at the meeting – but the majority of the members did not support her application to create a camping barn and educational facility at Turnip House Barn near Low Row.

Mr Charlesworth summed up the arguments against the proposal when he stated that there was no way that a camping barn would not affect Turnip House as the two buildings shared a party wall.

“Planning permission goes with the land forever – there is no question about it, it will harm the residential amenity of the adjoining premises,” he said and added that he had no doubt that it would be extremely difficult to have any effective management or supervision of the barn given the distance between it and Hazel Brow Farm.

Mrs Calvert said that the camping barn would be an addition to the work of Hazel Brow Farm and would be used only 80 days in a year. She would try to organise bookings so that there was little if any impact upon the owners of Turnip House who used it as a holiday home.

She said the  aim was to provide small groups with an opportunity to disconnect from modern living for 24 hours.“The whole ethos is to gain an insight into the past. We won’t be just telling the children – they will be experiencing it. This will be a living classroom,” she said and added: “This is our heritage and I feel we should share it.”

Cllr Blackie said that over the last 17 years he had watched the communities in Swaledale and Arkengarthdale decaying with facilities such as shops, post offices and schools being closed. “We must do something for these two Dales to make (young people) stay.” That, he said,  included providing not just affordable housing but also employment opportunities, the latter often depending upon encouraging more tourists to return regularly to the Dales.

Mr Brown, commented: “I fully support this – the work that she does and her family within the Dale for the education of young people, for tourism, for the well-being of Low Row and the surrounding area in Swaledale is nobody’s business.”

But in the end only four voted for the approval of her application.

Malham – December – The committee decided that a static caravan must be removed from Tullochvenus Farm near Malham within three months.

A planning officer informed the committee that permission had been granted in 2007 for a caravan to be there for three years as accommodation for an agricultural worker while the owner, Linda Hall-Denison, developed a llama farm. Due to illness Mrs Hall-Denison was not able to do this and in 2010 permission was granted for the caravan to remain there for another two years.

Her husband, Clive Chandler, told the planning committee that they wanted to retain the caravan for an unspecified temporary period as it was being used to help care for her. She is suffering from Alzheimer’s Disease and the outings to the caravan provided good stimulation, he said.

He disagreed with Kirkby Malhamdale parish council that the caravan was unattractive and too visible. This was one of the reasons the parish council gave for objecting to the retrospective planning application.

The planning committee accepted the officers recommendation to refuse the application and that an enforcement notice should be served to secure the removal of the caravan with its associated fixtures and surfaces within three months.

Melmerby – September to December

September – It was agreed to hold a site meeting at Middlefield Farm to consider the retrospective application for an agricultural silage building. Cllr Roger Harrison-Topham, who can see the building from his home, said that it was important to consider the economics of modern dairy farming.

The planning officer had recommended that the application should be refused and that enforcement action should be started to secure either the complete removal of the building or a reduction in its height to the same as that which had burnt down. The applicant had stated that the building had to be high enough to allow adequate clearance for modern farm machinery.

October – The sudden disappearance of a planning officer (Simon Chapman) led to a decision about the retrospective application for an agricultural silage building at Middlefield Farm in Coverdale being deferred for a month.

CllrBlackie explained that with Mr Chapman leaving at such short notice it had not been possible for the applicant, Andrew Avison, to provide written details about the business case for having such a large building. He pointed out that with the recent fall in the price of milk it was even more important to consider the economic viability of the farm.

Mr Graham said he believed the committee did have sufficient information upon which to base a decision and added: “The figures are actually in favour of the applicant’s proposal and we are not disputing these.”

Mr Chapman had recommended that the application should be refused because the applicant had not provided sufficient information to prove that such a large, visually intrusive building was required.

The officer who presented the report at the meeting, Michelle Clowes, stated: “Although it is accepted that farms need to expand and develop officers considered that in this instance the applicant’s agricultural justification didn’t outweigh the visual harm that is caused to the character and the community in the area by the height and scale of the building.

“Officers are also concerned about the precedent that this could set for other farmers to have very tall and large buildings in the Park.”

Cllr Roger  Harrison-Topham, who can see the building from his home, had written to ask that the decision be deferred for a month to allow Mr Avison to provide further financial information.

He was especially concerned about the sustainability of dairy farming in the Dales and noted that a smaller building would lead to an increase in the number of deliveries and costs. The farm agent had estimated that the additional cost could be between £10,000 and £20,000 a year.

The key question, said Cllr Roberts, was whether an articulated lorry could deliver silage into a building which had been reduced in height in accordance with the request by planning officers.

December –

Andrew Avison, the farmer, was rebuked by Peter Charlesworth and Richmondshire District Coun Stuart Parsons, for making a retrospective planning application.

The chairman of the committee, Harold Brown, commented: “I don’t condone anyone who comes with a retrospective planning application but when you are speaking about retrospective you only need to move a mile away from this (farm) where another applicant over the last 15 years has not driven a coach and horses through the planning policy – he has driven double decker buses.”

At the very end of the long meeting he referred to the schedule of delegated decisions and said: “Forbidden Corner – that’s retrospective.” To which N Yorks County Coun Roger Harrison-Topham responded:“It’s called the Coverdale illuminations.” There had been objections to both of Mr Avison’s applications on the basis of light pollution.

The retrospective application from The Forbidden Corner approved by officers under delegated powers was for the change of use of flat racing stables to a restaurant, change of use of land for inclusion within a visitor attraction to create a car park and extend gardens, erection of a single storey porch extension and two storey gable extension, and erection of roof for visitor centre.

Coun Harrison-Topham told the committee before it discussed the application for the silage building at Middlefield Farm that he had pleaded with a head of planning five or six years ago to bring all decisions about mega-dairy farms to the planning committee. “We have already swallowed camels when other operations were approved under delegated powers in past years,” he said.

He argued that the silage building would look a lot better once a lean-to had been added to each of the longer sides. This would also enable the farmer to store sufficient feed for all his cows once he had increased the number to 400.

Coun Harrison-Topham also asked the committee to consider what would happen if the applicant appealed to the planning inspectorate. He then left the meeting as he lives close to the farm.

Silage building – Coun Parsons said the silage building had become known as the giraffe house. This is because the height to the eaves of 27m long building is over 10m.

Mr Avison explained that a silage clamp had been destroyed during a fire at the farm in February 2014. “We had an opportunity to create an infrastructure that was going to get rid of all the unsightly tyres, silage clamps and silage being stored outside.”

He added that this was what the government was recommending so that silage stayed dry and dirty water did not escape into the streams. The height of the building he said allowed the back of articulated lorries to be fully extended and therefore completely emptied.

He told the committee: “The reason we put the silage building up was because we had a six week window to put in silage. When your officer came we told him – ‘if you can find an alternative site for 1500 tons of grass I’ll put it there’. And he couldn’t.“

I just don’t why I’m here. To be absolutely honest I have not got a penny to spend on altering that building. We have had £150,000 off our milk cheque in the last five months so we are standing to lose £240,000 this year. We have laid off three staff off night milkings and we have dropped to twice a day milking.”

The large silage building was saving the farm £20,000 a year, the equivalent of a salary for a farm worker, said County Coun John Blackie. He stated: ”We are at a bit of crossroads now in terms of dairy farmers. Just like with the young people, if we are not careful they will become another endangered species.”

He pointed out that there were no longer any dairy farms west of Reeth, and he expected three more in Wensleydale to stop producing milk within the next few years.

He reported that David Hartley, the managing director, of Wensleydale Creamery, was very concerned that soon it might not be possible to source sufficient milk to make Wensleydale Cheese. The Creamery used to have 49 producers and now there were under 30 with another ten in jeopardy. Coun Blackie reminded the committee that it had given permission for a massive warehouse to be built at the Creamery even though it could be seen from the Pennine Way.

He described the dairy farmers as the National Park’s foot soldiers of conservation. “Their cows are keeping pastures green; we see those lovely hay meadows; and the farmers here keep the walls up. We can’t have them there and expect them to farm at a total, absolute loss. And I’m afraid that’s what is facing them. Many have walked away from dairy farming in the upper Dales.”

N Yorks County Coun Richard Welch agreed with him and questioned the statement by a planning officer. She had quoted an agricultural consultant as stating that the back of the lorries did not have to be fully extended and that meant the building could be lower in height. Coun Welch was not convinced and argued that the Authority should give special care to the needs of the local population.

Craven District Coun John Roberts stated: “I am very uncomfortable if the decision goes against the applicant that we may be closing that farm.”

Mr Charlesworth, however, stated: “We must support farmers in the Dales, of course, but it doesn’t mean you can just do what you like to the detriment of the landscape. I very much regard the landscape as the primary quality that we are here to conserve and enhance by law in the National Park. And this is too dominant. It is too out of scale. It is intrusive and incongruous. I can’t believe that the height of this building determines whether the business survives or not.”

Mr Brown reminded the committee that it was the farmers and also the lead miners who had created the landscape of the Yorkshire Dales National Park.

And the planning officer agreed with Coun Blackie that in the landscape view of Middlefield Farm shown to the committee the silage building did not stand out.

Calf shed – The planning officer also recommended that Mr Avison’s application for a new calf shed to replace one which had been damaged during that fire in February should be refused.

He stated: “The proposed building by virtue of its siting and design would result in the introduction of significant levels of light pollution into an intrinsically dark landscape detrimental to one of the special qualities of the Yorkshire Dales National Park.”

This application had not been decided within eight weeks and the officer told the committee: “It is considered in the best interest of the Authority that the application for the silage building and this application are considered by members alongside one another.”

Both Mr Avison and Coun Blackie questioned this. Coun Blackie said that the building was not too large and calf buildings were essential to the dairying business. The lighting would be on from time to time but there were other farm buildings in the National Park which required much more. He said: “If we refuse this we are simply hounding him out of business and stopping him doing what we actually want him to do – farm our landscape.”

Richard Graham, the head of development management, responded: “It’s not the case that officers delayed this application. It could have been refused under delegated powers within the eight weeks time limit. But officers feel there is a solution to the issue….of light pollution.

“It’s a very difficult issue for officers to deal with because we can’t control internal illumination and so we have to make sure (about) the design of the building and the landscape planting that will help to screen it.”

When Mr Graham added that the planning officer had tried to consult with Mr Avison, Mr Brown had to call the meeting to order because the young farmer disagreed with him. He had to call the meeting to order again a little later when members were discussing the best way to deal with the situation.

All agreed that the planning officer and Mr Avison had to resolve the issue but County Coun Robert Heseltine proposed the committee should, therefore, defer making a decision, while Coun Blackie asked that the application should be approved subject to amended plans being acceptable to the planning officer. This would mean that approval could be granted within weeks, whereas if the decision was deferred it would have to be brought back to the next planning committee meeting which was in February 2015.

Mr Graham said: “Just to move the matter on I am happy if members are happy to delegate to officers to agree a revised scheme with the applicant. If we can’t reach an agreement then it will come back in February. If we do reach an agreement then we will use delegated powers (to approve it).” Coun Blackie’s proposal was accepted.

Mr Brown told the meeting: “To add my ten penny worth. I don’t know what we’re on with here. It’s an ordinary general purpose shed for calves. I don’t know where the light pollution comes into this because calves don’t get milked at 4 o’clock in the morning. So I’m in favour of getting on with this pronto.”

And he told Mr Avison: “Talk to the planning officer.”

(Permission for the calf shed was later approved by an officer. In 2017 legal enforcement action was taken against Mr Avison.)

Newbiggin, AskriggMay – Allen Kirkbride, the chairman of Askrigg and Low Abbotside parish council, said it was for reasons of safety that Martin Alderson had applied to create a new access and track for his home at Newbiggin. He explained that the visibility from the present access was so bad that cars had to be driven half way out onto the road before the drivers could see if there was any oncoming traffic.

Mr Alderson pointed out that it would be far safer for his children if the present access was blocked off and they could use the new one when going for a cycle ride.

North Yorkshire County Council’s highways department had, however, objected to the proposed new access as it would not give a clear visibility of 33 metres along the road in the northerly direction. This had led to the planning officer recommending refusal.

Cllr Blackie said that there were many situations in the Dales where the optimum visibility could not be achieved and the amount of traffic was increasing even in small hamlets like Newbiggin. He added that the new access would be far safer than the present one and the visual impact would be minimal as Mr Alderson planned to use grasscrete.

As all but one of the members voted to approve the application Mr Graham said that the decision would not need to be ratified at the next meeting.

Newhouses – July – There was a huge sense of relief in Newhouses and Horton in Ribblesdale now that timber wagons from Greenfield Forest will no longer be driven along the very narrow roads and past homes on the route from High Birkwith thanks to the planning committee members voting  unanimously to allow the wagons to go via Cam High Road to the B6255 via Far Gearstones instead.

Cllr Welch said that the residents had been asking for many years for a solution to the problems caused by the timber wagons and added: “This is a no brainer. It is an absolute dream for the residents of Newhouses and all those who use the road from High Birkwith.”

This has come about because the Cam Forest Trust acquired Greenfield Forest in February. Last year the Trust signed a legal agreement which carefully defined the use of the Cam High Road for the extraction of timber from Cam Forest. This included a 10mph speed limit and restricted the number of vehicle movements each week. Under that agreement extraction of timber would stop after 2015 and recommence around 2021.

To remove timber from Greenfield Forest the Trust requested that the legal agreement should be altered to allow for continuous use of the Cam High Road for the next 15 years and again in the future. For the first three years, during the period of most extensive felling, there would be no more than 40 wagons a week, with five before 9.30am each day and none at weekends.

The Trust proposes to create a new bridleway and a new footpath in Greenfield Forest as well as to upgrade a footpath to a bridleway. It will phase the extraction of timber so as to retain sufficient mature, cone-bearing, stands of trees for red squirrels.

Mr Charlesworth said: “It should be acknowledged that this applicant has done everything that has been required of him and has been fully co-operative, and nothing but professional.”

The main concern of the Yorkshire Dales Society, the Yorkshire Dales Access Forum, and the British Horse Society was that the movement of timber wagons should be regulated so as to avoid conflict with others using the Cam High Road.

The planning officer reported that since wagons began using the Cam High Road last year there had been no reports of speeding, and that the route had exceptionally good sight lines along its entire length. There will be warning signs during harvesting and extraction periods and the monitoring and review clause will be included in the new legal agreement.

Reeth – Orton Works

February – A decision regarding the application to erect a guest house at the Orton Works in Reeth was deferred to give the planning officer time to try and negotiate a better solution with the owner.The officer had recommended that the application should be refused because of the poor design and siting of the proposed guest house.

Cllr Blackie accepted the officer’s description of the proposed development but added that an up-market guest house could benefit the tourist trade in the area. He said: “It is a hugely important site in Reeth.”

The members then debated what would be the best way to improve the design and siting with several stating that the present application should be refused. The chairman, Mr Brown, pointed out that the late Bob Gale, when he was a district councillor, had wanted to support the application partly because it would clean up an eyesore in the village.

Reeth parish council and some residents, however, were concerned about the impact of the building on neighbouring properties. Richmondshire District Councillor Malcolm Gardner reported that the parish council was not invited to the site meeting in January.

April – It was agreed to defer a decision on the application to erect a guest house at Orton Works because not all the documents were available at the meeting.

Cllr Blackie said that the owner had supplied details about proposed modifications by March 21, four days before the agenda for the meeting was compiled. But these were no included with the agenda. And yet the officer had reported that at the time of writing his report no further information had been received. “That is simply not true. There is a need to be fair,” Cllr Blackie stated.

Five members voted for deferral, with one against, and six abstentions.

June – The impact upon the amenity of neighbouring properties and the desire to see an application which included the whole of the Orton Works site at Reeth led to the majority of the committee refusing permission for a five bedroom guest house to be built there.

Both Mr Charlesworth and Graham Dalton said that they had been convinced, after visiting some residents in Hill Close during a site visit, that the guest house would have a severe detrimental effect upon those households.

The applicant, Christopher Proctor, had asked if the site shown on the application could be re-delineated to include the workshop. But he had been told that would only be possible if he made a new application.

Members were told by the legal officer that they had to make a decision on the application as it stood. This also applied to Cllr Gardner’s suggestions that approval could be given in principle for a guest house and that the detail could then be worked out later by a small committee consisting of planning officers, local councillors and a representative of the parish council.

The planning officer reported that the parish council was in favour of the application as it would lead to the site being tidied up. This point was emphasised by Mr Brown,  Cllr Gardner and  Cllr Blackie.

Cllr Gardner told the committee that the workshop was no longer functioning and was due for demolition and added that the guest house would provide employment once again on the former Blenkiron and Sons builders yard.

Cllr Blackie said the site was already an eyesore and disagreed with the officer that the proposed guest house was of such a poor architectural design. He argued that the application should be approved rather than to see the continued dereliction of the site.

Rylstone – wind turbine at Fleets Farm

February – The members did not feel they could assess from the photographs shown by the planning officer what impact a single 10kw, 14.8m high wind turbine would make upon the landscape at Fleets Farm, Rylstone.

Craven District Councillor Carl Lis summed up the feelings of several members when he stated: “I am massively in support of small wind turbines and it is massively important that we can see its impact (upon the landscape).”

When Cllr Blackie asked about a photo montage Mr Graham, said that the planning department was not obliged to show one.

Another Cllr Roberts, pointed out that the Authority was already at fault for non-determination as the application had been received by the planning department on September 25 last year.

March – The farmer at Rylstone did have to wait another month for a decision about having a wind turbine installed at Fleets Farm.

The majority of the committee voted in favour of the application but as that was against the planning officer’s recommendation it had to be ratified at the April meeting.

Ann Brooks was one of the members who argued that the wind turbine would be in an exposed position and “break the horizon” and so would be very obtrusive. Mr Charlesworth agreed and added that the Authority had a duty to protect and conserve the landscape.

But Mr Brown, reminded them that they also had a duty to safeguard the social and economic well-being of those living and working in the National Park. “This is a very modest (application) and it supports our green energy policy,” he said.

April – It took eight months but the planning committee did finally make a decision about the installation of a wind turbine at Fleets Farm with the majority voting in favour of the application.

Yet again there were strong opinions both for and against the application by the farmer, James Butcher. Cllr Blackie commented that it was one of those applications where each member might come to a different conclusion.

Some members agreed with the planning officer that the turbine would have a detrimental impact upon the landscape. Mr Charlesworth said it would be very harmful to the landscape because it would be prominently placed on an exposed, isolated site.

Others did not feel it would be so visible on the skyline especially once the trees were in leaf. It was pointed out that the government was encouraging farmers to introduce renewable energy alternatives to carbon fuels and that a precedent had been set in the National Park when approval was given for a wind turbine on a farm at Malham.

Cllr Blackie said that the Authority had also approved a 39.6m high radio mast at Hawes which was far more prominent on the landscape than the wind turbine at Rylstone would be.

The decision had to be confirmed at the April meeting due the referral back system.

Sedbergh – February – The committee unanimously accepted the planning officer’s recommendation that MK Conversions Ltd must sign a S106 agreement to build two affordable houses at the former Aqua Engineering Site at Guldrey Lane.

If this isn’t done within three months, or within a longer period as agreed with the Authority’s head of development management, an enforcement notice will be issued requiring the demolition of Fell Vista, Mr Ball’s five-bedroom home, which was built on the site without planning permission.

The planning permission, with strict conditions, was for two affordable houses and two open market houses, with Fell Vista being one of the latter.The planning officer also recommended, in line with a request from Sedbergh parish council, that the affordable houses should be built within 18 months.

The parish council had approved the application being changed from three to two affordable houses so long as the permission was tied to a robust and enforceable planning obligation.

The agent for MK Conversions Ltd assured the committee that the affordable houses could be built within 18 months.

Sedbergh – February – Sedbergh Parish Council supported the amended plans for the change of use of the dental surgery in Finkle Street as the proposed larger retail unit was more likely to be viable and so help to make the shopping centre more attractive. The committee accepted this and also the parish council’s request that there should be a S106 agreement on the flat on the first floor to limit occupation to a person in local need.

Sedbergh – May – Permission was granted for all the window frames at 1-12 Bainbridge Court in Bainbridge Road, Sedbergh, to be replaced with uPVC ones. The planning officer explained that these would all be sash windows to match the appearance of those being replaced and would have a wood grain effect.

Sedbergh parish council had objected to the application to change the conditions on the original planning permission for this building which was built in the last 20 years. It is in a conservation area and the council is keen to retain the traditional character of Bainbridge Road.

The planning officer pointed out, however, that wooden window frames at other houses in Bainbridge Road had been replaced with uPVC ones. He added: “It is considered that the proposed replacement windows would preserve the character of the building due to the replication of the sash details, the slender proportions of the glazing bars and the fact that the horizontal glazing bars would be equal to the bulk of the existing timber sashes.”

His argument was accepted by the majority of the members. Chris Armitage said that this would not set a precedent because this was a relatively new building and so not listed.

There was a discussion about the merits of uPVC window frames compared to modern wooden ones.  Cllr Harrison-Topham said that uPVC frames had a limited lifespan and were costly to replace. And Mr Colley explained that these days new wooden frames came with a ten-year guarantee and after that would cost less to maintain.

Sedbergh – Post Office yard

November – A new building in the Post Office yard garden in Sedbergh would have a very detrimental impact upon the town’s conservation area two residents told the meeting.

Dr Helen Hodge thanked the members for agreeing to Ian McPherson’s request for a site meeting so that they could see the yard for themselves before deciding upon the application for the construction of a three-bedroom house.

Speaking as a resident and not as the chairman of Sedbergh parish council, she stated: “The main objection is that it would have an overpowering impact.”

And like Jim Atkins, who was representing the parish council, she disagreed with the statement by the planning officer that:“The presence of a new building will add to the sense of enclosure and close-knit urban grain which is a key characteristic of this part of Sedbergh’s townscape.”

The planning officer had reported that the densely populated yards were developed on what may once have been medieval burgage plots with workshops for knitting and spinning. These, he said, were a central feature of the town’s layout and contributed significantly to its locally distinctive character.

Mr Atkins argued that the Post Office yard showed the quintessential character of the oldest part of the town and that as one of the few open spaces in the area it was very important and valuable.

Dr Hodge emphasised the impact that the loss of the green space would have as well as pointing out that the narrow rights of way which provided access to the site were not only used by vehicles but also by many pedestrians, especially children and the elderly. “Any addition to the movement and parking of cars will undoubtedly represent a substantial loss of public amenity,” she said.

She also highlighted the loss of amenity to other residents if there was a new building close to their garden walls blocking off more of the limited amount of light at present available. Both she and Mr Atkins said that the development would make it more difficult for Post Office vans to manoeuvre in what would remain of the yard.

December – The committee voted to refuse the application for a three-bedroom house to be built in the Post Office yard garden but as that was against the officer’s recommendation that decision was ratified at the meeting in February 2015.

Mr McPherson reminded the committee of the unanimous objections of the parish council and residents to the application.

Mr Charlesworth, however, agreed with the applicants, Mr and Mrs C Johnson, and the planning officer. He said it would be a modest house, and the design and materials would be appropriate. He added: “It increases the supply of housing for local people and will not cause substantial harm to the character and appearance of the conservation area. In my view it will add to the sense of enclosure in these small yards. It’s fully in accord with our policies.”

An appeal against this decision was dismissed by the planning inspectorate in March 2016.

Settle – July – It was unanimously agreed that the development of an innovative aquaponics system at a former reservoir off Mitchell Lane in Settle could continue.

The planning officer explained that this experimental form of fish farming would include using the nutrients from the fish tanks to feed plants grown on raised beds within the aquaponics building. This cleans the water allowing it to be fed back into the tanks, and also ensures that no effluent escapes into local streams. Vegetables, fruit and herbs will be grown outside the building.

“Such an imaginative use of an old reservoir deserves our full support,” commented Cllr Gardner.

Graham Wilks’ application was partly retrospective as he had already erected a timber building and had a caravan there so that he could reside on the site while carrying  out substantial ground works and developing the aquaponics system.

Permission was granted for creating an access to the reservoir floor and for stabilisation work on its walls.The committee agreed that Mr Wilks could retain the caravan on the site for three years. It was expected that after that period the aquaponics system should have stabilised and that accommodation on the site would no longer be necessary.

The aquaponics system will be powered by a solar panel array which will be screened by the woodland. Mr Wilks’ proposal includes the felling of ten mature trees and replanting with blackthorn, hawthorn and fruit trees. The timber from felled and fallen trees will be turned into fence posts, mulch, tree stakes and logs for heating.

Settle parish council was concerned about the felling of mature trees, noise from the site, and any increase in the volume of traffic along the steep and narrow lane. Mr Wilks had assured the planning officer that he would only use a Landrover and trailer to transport supplies to the site and to take produce to local markets.

Settle – September – The six businesses based at The Courtyard near Settle won the support of the planning committee  in their bid to have what they believe will be sufficient signage on the A65.

The planning officer had recommended that the application for three advance warning signs should be refused as they would be too large and so have a visually harmful impact due to their alien and commercial appearance in a rural area.

Simon Robinson, a partner in the Dalesbred bespoke soft furnishing company, explained to the committee that good signage about what was on offer at The Courtyard was needed to attract motorists to leave the fast moving traffic on the A65.

He told the committee: “At no point when we were granted planning permission for retail did we realise how difficult it would be to get planning permission for sufficient signage to make the businesses work. This is now our fourth application and the signs proposed now are 33 per cent smaller than any previous application in order to find a compromise.

“I really believe every business (there) is at risk if we don’t have signage that is large enough and clear enough to encourage people to stop and shop. The planning officers would like us to have smaller signage which only says Courtyard on it and doesn’t tell you what is there. All the businesses in The Courtyard feel that we are being heavily penalised for wanting to work, create jobs, and live in the park.”

He accepted that the temporary signs needed to be replaced with good quality signage of a sensitive nature and the committee members were impressed by the designs shown at the meeting.

Cllr Lis, in proposing acceptance of the application, said: “We need to do everything we possibly can to support these businesses. I can’t believe we are even considering turning this application down.”

The majority agreed with him with some pointing out that smaller signage could be dangerous as motorists would have difficulty reading it. It was also accepted that the A65 was a busy commercial highway and could not be compared to a more rural location.

Settle Town Council supported the application and the Yorkshire Dales Society had withdrawn its objection, partly on the understanding that all the temporary and individual retailers’ signs, flags and bunting on and around The Courtyard buildings would be removed if approval was given for the new signage.

As there was just one abstention to the majority vote in favour Mr Graham said that the decision to approve would not be referred back to the October meeting.

Stainforth – – February – The request to discharge the S106 agreement on Ingle-Byre at Stainforth was refused.

The planning officer explained that an enforcement notice had been served on the owners, Andrew and Jenny Colau, in October 2010 because Ingle-Byre had been subdivided to form a holiday let without planning permission.

In February 2011 the planning committee had agreed that the two bedroom holiday let could become a dwelling for someone who met the local need criteria so long as a S106 agreement was signed.

Mr Colau told the committee that in 18 months there had been just one possible purchaser. That person worked and was on the electoral roll in the National Park and had an elderly parent living within it and yet was informed by someone at the YDNPA that they did not meet the local need criteria.

Mr Colau said that if they could not sell that dwelling they were in danger of losing their own home and so would be casualties of the S106 agreement.

Stainforth – April – The owners of Taitlands at Stainforth was given two months to remove a large marquee.

The committee had discussed the retrospective planning applications made by the owners for the marquee and the plywood link to the Coach House within the curtilage of the Grade II listed Taitland House. The owners erected the marquee because for structural reasons it was not possible to use the upper floor of the Coach House for dancing during wedding functions.

Cllr Welch stated that not only was the marquee creating a detrimental impact upon the landscape but there was excessive noise on Saturday nights due to the live bands and discos. This, he said, did not preserve the peace and tranquillity of the National Park and added: “The planning rules have been flaunted. The marquee is a permanent fixture. This is also to do with a listed building.”

Mr Charlesworth stated: “This applicant has chosen, without planning permission, to construct this monstrosity of a marquee which is utterly and totally incongruous in the landscape.”

Others argued that wedding functions considerably helped the local economy and that it would be unfair to those couples who had already booked Taitlands for their weddings this year if  the Authority insisted  that the marquee should be removed within two months.

The planning officer pointed out that the owners had been told in June last year that planning permission was required for the marquee and yet they had gone on taking bookings for weddings.

The majority of the members voted to refuse the retrospective planning applications and then approved enforcement action.

Starbotton – March – The future of Wharfedale could depend upon some land at Starbotton being extensively tested for anthrax spores, local resident, Robert Brame, told the planning committee.

Mr Brame told the committee: “Gambling with anthrax is irresponsible. The only true safe option is to get experts to extensively test the land and if found to contain anthrax spores then to have it extensively decontaminated. Lives, livelihoods and the future of Wharfedale may well depend on it.”

But despite being warned by both Mr Brame and Kettlewell with Starbotton parish council planning permission was given for a replacement extended garage for the Old School House. This will involve excavating land where older members of the community believe animals infected with anthrax may have been buried.

The planning officer reported that the Animal Health and Veterinary Laboratories Agency (AHVLA) had assured the Authority that there were no records of any such problem and had added: “The applicant can be advised to contact the AHVLA to seek further advice, if any such discovery was made.”

In addition the Authority’s legal officer, Clare Bevan, told the committee that the possibility of anthrax contamination was not a planning issue. She said that of the four objections raised by the parish council only one could be considered and that was whether light would be restricted to the cottage adjacent to the garage. The parish council had also reported that there were disputes about the ownership of the access track and the boundary wall at the rear of the garage.

The planning officer told the committee that the replacement garage would enhance the appearance of the Starbotton Conservation Area. He believed that the overall impact upon the windows of Closeburn would be ameliorated by such design features as the garage having an oblique front elevation, and the overall height being reduced by dropping the ground level by 100mm.

One of the committee members, Graham Dalton, pointed out that usually it was assumed the amenities of neighbours could be affected if a building was within 20m of their windows. The planning officer informed him that the 2.2m extended width of the garage would bring it to within about three metres of the ground floor windows at Closeburn. That three metres is the width of the access track between the garage and Closeburn.

The majority of members felt that the slides shown by the planning officer provided them with sufficient information about the impact upon amenity without attending a site meeting.

Cllr Roberts requested a site meeting because he believed that the amenity of several nearby cottages would be affected. And he added: “The question of anthrax needs to be explained I believe on site. The word ‘anthrax’ is very emotive.”

Ms Bevan reminded members that to have a site meeting the application had to be particularly complex or if it was difficult to visualise the impact of the development. She said: “We don’t just do them off the cuff -they cost money and they delay the determination of the application.”

See below – Anthrax warning for Wharfedale.

Stirton – November – The committee gave its unanimous support to the proposal to convert a 17th century Tithe Barn into four offices even though residents described the application as inappropriate and wrong.

Alison Griffin, the clerk to Stirton-with-Thorlby parish meeting, outlined the reasons why residents were so opposed to the application by the Trustees of Roman Catholic Purposes.

She said that the increase in traffic along the narrow roads would imperil pedestrians including the children who walked along it to secondary schools in Skipton. There was also concern that the reduction in the number of car parking spaces from 12 to six could lead to vehicles being parked on the road or across the accesses to farm fields and so impeding the movement of tractors.

She stated: “Residents oppose these plans for an historic tithe barn to be turned into an inappropriate office block and unsightly car park. If this development goes ahead you will be in direct conflict with residents. The development is wrong.”

The committee members supported her call for everything to be done to protect the barn owls which roost in the barn. Mr McPherson pointed out that barn owls were a significantly endangered species and did not move their nests to order. He questioned whether they would accept a temporary roost while the building was being converted.

Mr Charlesworth said he was sorry that the application didn’t have the support of local residents but supported their right to have a say.

He believed that this would be a very sensitive conversion of the barn that was in dire need of rescue and added: “We are desperate to provide employment opportunities in the dales which go together with housing and families. That is something I believe is fundamental and we should support it.”

Cllr  Blackie agreed with him and stated: “This is an admirable choice for a site for the sort of industry we need to attract into the dales.”

Threshfield – Long Ashes

April – New chalets to be built at Long Ashes Caravan Park can be used for holiday purposes for eleven months a year.

When approval for the siting of the chalets was given in August last year the YDNPA restricted their use to short stay holiday accommodation with no individual staying in one for more than 28 days in a year. This, the Authority was told, would make it very difficult for Lakeland Leisure Estates Ltd to sell the chalets.

The chalets must not, however,  be a person’s sole or main residence and Mr Graham was asked what the Authority was doing to ensure that such regulations were adhered to at all the caravan parks in the National Park.“We don’t check them on a regular basis. A check will be made this year,” he replied.

Cllr Blackie emphasised the need for regular checks so that people were not misled into believing that they could make such chalets their permanent residences as had occurred in the Richmondshire area.

Cllr Harrison-Topham vehemently disagreed with the majority of the members about altering the planning condition. “I think this proposal is outrageous,” he stated.

He was not convinced that a council tax bill for a permanent residence elsewhere was sufficient to stop people using such chalets as their main home.“We put our local residents through considerable planning hoops and, in effect, these structures… are to be made available in all likelihood (as) the main residence of whoever buys them. This sort of thing simply cannot be adequately policed and we should not agree to it.”

Mr Colley was concerned that the Authority would have to meet all the costs of checking the registers at all the caravan parks in the National Park, and wondered if there was any way of charging the caravan, chalet and lodge owners for such monitoring.

September – Permission was granted for an earth mound to be retained at Long Ashes Caravan Park as it was accepted that this did provide screening for the site.

Threshfield parish council  had objected to the retrospective planning application because it included the access road into an agricultural field. It asked: “As this field is to remain undeveloped why has such a substantial permanent access road been built? And what is the enormous heap of crushed stone currently in the top northern corner of the field to be used for?”

The committee agreed that the track in the field and the heap of crushed stone should be removed within three months and the field restored to its original condition.

Cllr  Roberts reminded the committee that Cllr Marshall had suggested several months ago that the  owners of Long Ashes Caravan Park (Lakelands Leisure Estates Ltd)  should submit a five-year plan for the site because there were so many applications.

He and other committee members asked that a site meeting be held at Long Ashes, preferably when the next planning application was received. Cllr Roberts commented: “The majority of the members of the committee have never been near Long Ashes.”

It was reported that another application had been received – for a 136 square metre extension to the spa facilities at Long Ashes. This extension would house a new manicure and pedicure salon, an enlarged relaxation lounge, new changing and locker rooms with shower and toilet facilities, and a lift suitable for those who are disabled, as well as a new emergency exit staircase.

December –  Cllr  Marshall told the committee that she was deeply disappointed with Lakeland Leisure Estates for not yet having provided the YDNPA with a five-year-plan for its Long Ashes Caravan Park.

Mr Graham said the company had been asked on more than one occasion to provide detailed proposals for the Park.

In its latest application the company had applied to put seven static holiday caravans on a small site which had been included in an application in January 2013. The Authority’s decision to refuse permission for that was dismissed at an appeal in July 2013.

The planning officer said that the seven caravans would not be seen from outside the park as they would be well screened by trees. The planning conditions included further ecological improvements to the whole park.

Cllr Roberts reported that Threshfield parish council still objected to the application even though the site had been included in the appeal decision.“The parish council is saying ‘Enough is enough’,” he said. “This is the largest caravan site in the National Park. I am against it being developed any more. I believe it has reached its capacity. I cannot stress how dangerous the entrance and exit from the north and south is.”

He accepted the planning officer’s advice but said he would abstain from voting because he felt the opinion of the parish council was so important.

Mr Colley and Cllr Harrison-Topham asked if the Authority could insist on a comprehensive re-modelling scheme for Long Ashes. But Mr Graham reminded the committee members that they were dealing with an application for seven static caravans. The majority voted for permission to be granted.

West Witton – February – Approval was given for the change of use of a bungalow at Chantry Country Retreat to an office and facility centre. The bungalow has been vacant since 2007 and employees staying overnight had used one of the static caravans. The latter will later be relocated to where other static caravans are sited. There will be no change to the number of static caravan pitches and it was accepted that the proposed conversion of the bungalow would improve the facilities available to customers.

Anthrax warning for Wharfedale: Kettlewell with Starbotton parish council objected in March 2014 to a garage in Starbotton being extended due to doubts about if and where animals which had died of anthrax had been buried.

At the October 2014 meeting of the parish council the following letter from the applicant, David Taylor was read out:

“Since 1983 I became aware that my plot of land was the supposed burial site of a cow infected with Anthrax in 1940. This has since escalated to numerous cattle being buried by one of the objectors to my planning application. Despite being told over the years that this was just hearsay and peculation, I have always taken this matter seriously and from 2005 I have attempted to find a safe solution to clarify the situation.

“Having spent time seeking advice from numerous agencies such as local vets, the National Archives, DEFRA, AHVLA and Environmental Health, who were not actually concerned as there were no records showing cattle having been buried in my plot. Anthrax was, even in 1940, a notifiable disease, but records do show a suspected outbreak at another location which proved to be negative during the same time.

“I was advised to speak to the Rare and Imported Pathogens Department at Public Health England, Porton Down headed by Dr Tim Brook, Head and Clinical Services Director and one of the country’s leading scientists together with Dr Judith Duggan, Principal Scientist. Having had numerous lengthy conversations with Dr Brook, he issued me with the information and guidance required to take soil samples safely and without risk.

“This I have now done, in accordance with his instructions, and the samples have been tested by PHE Food, Water and Environmental Microbiology Laboratory at my own expense. The tests undertaken have proved that anthrax spores have not been detected in the samples and this week I have received confirmation of the results.

“As the Parish Council objected to my planning application on the grounds of anthrax, I would be grateful if the contents of this letter can be included in the minutes so that any interested party, together with those who have voiced their opinions on this subject, can be made aware of the results, that my land is not infected with Anthrax.”

Richard Brame, Mr Taylor’s neighbour in Starbotton, had objected to the extension and below are excerpts from the letter he sent to the Prime Minister and to Yorkshire Forward prior to the Tour de France Grand Depart in Wharfedale:

“I and many other local residents fear that the imminent disturbance of this land (for the garage extension) will create a biological health hazard to both animals and humans.There seems to be no interest taken of the very real threat that anthrax poses not just to the local environment and occupants, but also to those visiting and cyclists participating in the (Tour de France)  Grand Depart.”

He sent copies of that letter to Cllr Roberts; Julian Smith MP for Ripon and Skipton; Edward Miliband MP leader of the Labour Party; Nigel Farage  MEP; and Natalie Bennett,  the leader of the Green Party. In his covering letter he stated:“My chief concern is the risk arising from the disturbance of the land which is known to be the site of interred diseased cattle. If anthrax spores are released, the environmental consequences could be catastrophic. The impact on lives, local economy (retain, tourism and agriculture), and the reputational damage of the region … would be both immediate, and probably last for decades.I strongly believe this is a matter of national importance and needs a Government level intervention.”

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