YDNPA planning reports February to December 2016

ARC News Service reports on YDNPA planning committee meetings during 2016: applications affecting roadside barn conversions, Arcow Quarry at Horton in Ribblesdale, Appletreewick, Arncliffe, Askrigg, Austwick, Aysgarth, Bolton Abbey, Buckden, Burnsall, Burtersett, Casterton, Crosby Ravensworth, Dent, Drybeck, East Witton, Embsay, Gayle (including Garris House), Grassington, Grinton, Hardraw, Hartington Raikes, Hawkswick, Hebden, Horton-in-Ribblesdale, Howgill, Hudswell,  Kettlewell, Malham, Marske, Newbiggin in Bishopdale, Otterburn, Reeth, Sedbergh (and Millthrop), Skyreholme, Stainforth, Stirton,  Swaledale (Richmond Motor Club Three Day Trial and Swaleview Caravan Site) Thorpe, Threshfield, Weasdale, West Witton,  and Winterburn. These are listed in alphabetical order below.

An application from Forbidden Corner in Coverdale was also discussed.

This was an eventful year for the Authority as its boundaries were extended on August 1 and its policies were widened to include the approval of roadside barn conversions, like that planned by Kelly and Haydon Cooper near Askrigg (above).

Sadly, it also saw the retirement of Harold Brown.  At the beginning of the September  planning committee meeting the chairman, Richmondshire District Councillor Caroline Thornton-Berry paid tribute to him. After  20 years as a parish council representative he had resigned due to ill health.“He has made a very long and loyal contribution to the Yorkshire Dales,” Cllr Thornton-Berry  said. He was also thanked at the Full Authority meeting on September 27.

Barn conversions – Early in 2016  the committee began approving the conversion of roadside barns in accordance with the emerging Local Plan. This policy, approved in December 2016, permits traditional buildings to be converted into local occupancy homes or holiday lets, all with legal agreements.  After the Local Plan was adopted most barn conversion applications will be dealt with by officers under delegated powers.

In late 2016 an application to convert Tug Gill Lathe near Starbotton was refused by an officer under delegated authority and so was not considered by the planning committee. Kettlewell with Starbotton Parish Council had informed the planning officer that it supported the application.

The officer stated the domestic use of the barn would be discordant with the highly distinctive landscape character of Upper Wharfedale. The barn is within the Upper Wharfedale Site of Special Scientific Interest and near the River Wharfe SSSI. Natural England had advised the Authority that the proposal was unlikely to have an adverse effect given the small scale and nature of the development.

In August it was noted that those converting barns will be required to install boreholes if water was not already available at the site.

Among those approved by the planning committee in November were at Skirbeck Farm, Long Preston (holiday let or local occupancy); at Blackburn House, Main Street, Thorpe (local occupancy);  and  at Croft Farm, Arkleside, Coverdale (holiday let).

It was agreed at that meeting that applicants should be offered dual legal agreements covering holiday lets and local occupancy for barn conversions unless they requested only one type of use.

An amazing press release

After the meeting in May I was not impressed by an amazing press release sent out by the Authority.  It was amazing because it congratulated the planning committee for approving a retrospective application for a restaurant at Knight Stainforth Hall, Stainforth, that had been open for a year!

There was little said, however, about Horton in Ribblesdale Parish Council opposing plans to organise yet more Three Peaks charity events.

Retrospective planning applications – October

Anyone who makes a retrospective planning application should have to pay all the costs incurred by the Authority, Richmondshire District Councillor Stuart Parsons stated.

He said:  “Retrospective planning applications must carry a form of financial penalty – although it is not a fine, although we are not making money out of it – but people must understand that if they don’t apply the basic rules of planning then it is going to cost and that cost could be significant.

“People have to learn that they can’t just do what the hell they like and hope to get away with it.”

He said this following a statement by the Association of Rural Communities which gave an illustration of a recent retrospective planning application in Aysgarth.

The Association commented: “This National Park was extended to protect special areas of landscape. But your ability to protect the landscape is severely limited if it is possible to build without planning permission with no penalties being imposed.

“Our Association would suggest that there should be financial penalties on a sliding scale according to the size and cost of the construction carried out.”

It was pointed out, however, that as it was not a criminal offence to build without planning permission no fines could be imposed.

Richard Graham, the Authority’s head of development management, stated: “Developers who carry out work with the knowledge that it is unauthorised do so at their own risk and they are liable to enforcement action and may be required to undo the work.”

He said that the Authority will appoint a [full time] principle planning officer to manage planning enforcement. That officer will be asked to introduce a system to monitor new developments so that the Authority can pro-actively ensure compliance with planning controls. Up until now the Authority has had just two part-time enforcement officers.

Exemption caravan sites – October

In its statement ARC also commented on the ability of the Camping and Caravanning Club to accredit small camp sites even in National Parks without planning permission.  It reported that Aysgarth Township parish meeting had asked if the Authority could campaign to have this loophole closed.

Mr Graham responded that the exemption allowing such caravan clubs to accredit small sites had been in place for over 50 years and was re-affirmed by the government last year. “Given that, it’s considered unlikely the government would change such  well-established legislation.”

Cllr Parsons commented: “I accept the caravanning club explanation even though it is completely bonkers.”

North Yorkshire County Councillor John Blackie reported that a caravanning club had decided to close its sites in Hawes and in Wharfedale from January  until early July next year. That would mean the loss of 240 pitches in the Yorkshire Dales which would have a negative impact upon the local economies.

He said concerning caravanning clubs : “They have always been a law unto themselves and unfortunately the law allows them to be a law unto themselves on these small sites. Whilst I think we are tilting at windmills in terms of the legislation that has just recently been confirmed, I do think I would  like to see this National Park try and engage at a greater level than perhaps it has in the past with [organisations] that can mean make or break for local economies.”

From the ARC statement: “Twelve months ago residents in and around Aysgarth were very concerned when an application was made to the Camping and Caravanning Club for accreditation for a site at Townends for five caravans/mobile homes and ten tents. Parish councillors warned that the access was very dangerous due to restricted visibility. The decision to accredit the site was made on the advice of just one person.

“Those at Aysgarth Township parish meeting in March stated that this Authority should be campaigning to have this loophole closed – and the Association of Rural Communities agrees.

“At that parish meeting the owners of Townends stated that they would go ahead with making significant alterations to the roof of the bungalow and adding an extension without planning permission – and they did. There are several other examples of retrospective planning permissions within the Yorkshire Dales this year.”

Appletreewick – February

The decision on whether or not the timber-built Knowles Lodge at Appletreewick could be replaced with a modern building depended upon what the planning committee members did or did not like.

After reminding the committee that Appletreewick parish council fully supported the application, Ian McPherson stated:

“We’ve had quite a number of different views expressed and I think this is because refusal revolves around aesthetics – what we like and what we don’t like in terms of design.”

When asked what a decision to approve the application could be based upon the Authority’s legal officer replied: “The reasons are simply that the design is acceptable and the converse are the reasons for refusal.”

Cllr Blackie pointed out that in the Authority’s own Design Guide it was stated that it wasn’t always necessary to reproduce the vernacular style. “I think this is a really good example of where we can perhaps be a little bit adventurous. We can step outside the norm and bring something forward that celebrates the Park and celebrates the landscape.”

Julie Martin upheld the planning officer’s view that the proposed replacement would appear to be larger than the present lodge and would not respect vernacular architecture.

The architect, Ben Cunliffe, told the committee that the footprint of the new building would be 71 cubic metres less than the existing lodge. He added that there was another design option in the National Park and that was the Arts and Crafts style of the larger rural residences.

As Knowles Lodge stood on large plot with trees around it and was not overlooked by neighbours he believed the site lent itself to an Arts and Crafts style family home.

Jocelyn Manners-Armstrong agreed that the new building would appear less bulky, and would be more efficient and sustainable. She added:“I am concerned at the idea that the only kind of building we are allowed is the vernacular style which to me doesn’t seem to be appropriate. It would be a pastiche. It would be a lie. It should be a building of merit.”

The majority, however, disagreed with nine voting to refuse the application and six being in favour of it.

The applicant appealed and the application was approved by a planning inspector.

Arcow Quarry, Horton in Ribblesdale – November

The planning committee decided that more detailed estimates of the number of lorries leaving Arcow Quarry each day were needed before it could make a decision about the resumption of mineral extraction there.

The committee particularly discussed the increase in traffic from the quarry. Jim Munday said: “Quarrying has been part of the Dales scene for centuries and I have no objection to it continuing. However, the biggest problem is moving the product to the market. I congratulate Tarmac on putting in the rail link and I think that should be used fully.”

He was, however, concerned about that the increase in road haulage would amount to 18 heavy, noisy lorries per hour, ten hours a day, five days a week. “I feel there should be some limitation on the amount going by road,” he concluded.

David Parrish, the YDNPA’s minerals officer, said that Tarmac Trading Ltd had originally expected to move 250,000 tonnes by road each year but during negotiations had reduced this to 150,000 tonnes. That tonnage was being delivered to local councils for the resurfacing of roads.

It made no sense, he said, to take the crushed stone from the quarry by train, unload it at either Bradford or Manchester, and then bring it back by road.

Members agreed with Steve Macare that the company should provide estimates of how much local councils required each year.

Ross Hailey, the agent for Tarmac, said that the company had paid £5million for the construction of the railhead at the Arcow Quarry. This had reduced the amount transported by road from Dry Rigg Quarry by 60 per cent.

No stone has been extracted from the Arcow Quarry since June 2015 and Austwick parish council, the Yorkshire Dales Society and the Friends of Upper Ribblesdale had asked why the company had not been required to submit a new planning application rather than requesting an extension to an existing one. The YDNPA’s policy is to refuse new applications involving quarries.

Mr Parrish stated that there had been considerable work at the quarry while the railhead was being constructed and stone was now being transported from Dry Rigg Quarry to trains at Arcow. He said: “There has been continuous activity and employment at the site … and it is considered that, in the circumstances, it is appropriate to deal with the application as an extension (deepening) of the existing quarry.”

The company has asked for permission for resumption of mineral extraction at Arcow Quarry; retention of the existing processing plant until progressively replaced by a new mobile processing plant; retention of the railhead and the completion of the site restoration in accordance with an amended nature conservation and landscaping scheme during the following 12 months.

The material will be extracted from deep within the quarry and so will not have an impact upon the landscape, Mr Parrish said.

Mark Corner, the chairman of the Yorkshire Dales Society, told the meeting that the quarry was a blight on the landscape and so was inconsistent with the purposes of the National Park. He questioned that there was a national need for the stone extracted from the quarry. He asked if the proposed number of vehicle movements could be reduced and that the lorry drivers should avoid the centre of Settle.

In response to requests from residents and Horton in Ribblesdale parish council Tarmac has installed a wheel wash at Arcow Quarry and employed a road sweeper. It has agreed that all lorries will be sheeted at all times, laden or empty, and those transporting mineral to the railhead will be washed at the end of each working day. The decision was deferred.


Tarmac has agreed to reduce the proposed number of lorry movements from Arcow Quarry at Helwith Bridge when quarrying is resumed there.

Last month the  planning committee deferred making a decision on Tarmac’s application because members wanted to see such a reduction. At this month’s meeting approval was, therefore, given for mineral extraction to resume.

Tarmac had asked to move 150,000 tonnes per year by road from Arcow Quarry in addition to the same amount already being transported by lorries from Dry Rigg Quarry. The company has now reduced the total to be moved by road from both quarries to 250,000 tonnes per year between 2017 and 2021 when Dry Rigg Quarry is due to close. This amounts to a drop in the number of lorry movements along the B6479 towards Settle and beyond from 90 to about 74 per day, with none on Saturday afternoons or Sundays.

The YDS also questioned the need for further quarrying. The Authority’s minerals officer, David Parrish, said that there were a limited number of sites in England that can produce the same quality stone for road surfacing. Much of it was delivered to councils in the North of England where there were no facilities to unload it from trains.

“The extraction of minerals is in the national interest and we should not forget that,” commented North Yorkshire County Councillor Robert Heseltine.

South Lakeside District Councillor Brenda Gray added that the stone had to be quarried where it was needed and the shortest routes taken for its delivery.

Julie Martin asked if anything more could be done to reduce the number of lorries travelling through Settle.

Mr Parrish replied that there had been several attempts to discuss this with the residents of Settle and Giggleswick but no consensus had been achieved. “I think the quarry company would really need to see that there was a strong consensus of opinion that one route or another was acceptable, and at the moment they aren’t getting that,” he explained.

Jim Munday said he was pleased with the reduction in vehicle movements and asked if there were any guarantees that the restoration work would be carried out after the quarries closed.

“Tarmac has always carried out its restoration commitments completely,” Mr Parrish replied.

In response to the concerns expressed by the committee last month Tarmac has agreed to retain the existing screen banks and trees around the margins of the quarry until work there ends and the full restoration is carried out.

Arncliffe – October

The size of a proposed extension to High Green Cottage at Arncliffe led to the planning committee refusing permission for it.

The committee heard that the application included a gabled first floor extension to the rear of the Grade II listed cottage which, the planning officer said, would be seen from the north side of the village green.

Arncliffe Parish Meeting had stated: “At our meeting… it was felt that old properties should, with careful and sympathetic plans, be brought in to modern day living standards. Those plans fit the criteria in the conservation area and there are no objections.”

At the planning meeting Lancaster City Councillor Margaret Pattison (the Authority’s first Labour member) asked if the owners could be given advice about  how to modernise the cottage.

Mr Graham, replied :”It’s the scale of the extension being proposed that is the problem.”

Mrs Martin, the Authority’s member champion for for cultural heritage, commented: “The character of the building would be significantly altered. The extensions would almost double the size of the house.”

One of the applicants, Gerard Simpson, told the committee that some aspects of the cottage were not, at present, suitable for a family  and that the first-floor extension would not be prominent when viewed from the village green.  The application submitted by him and his wife also included a single storey extension at the rear of the cottage.

Askrigg – October

It took just seven minutes for the committee to give its unanimous approval for a barn in Red Gate Lane, Askrigg, to be converted into three-bedroom home and so bringing to an end a seven-year wait  for Kelly Cooper.

Kelly Cooper and her husband, Haydon,  were overjoyed at the committee’s decision. “Just seven minutes – it felt like a lifetime,” commented Mr Cooper afterwards.

Cllr Blackie emphasised the importance of the emerging Local Plan policy which is making it possible to obtain permission to convert many traditional barns into  local occupancy homes.

He told the committee that Kelly had previously contacted the National Park about the barn. He said: “Seven years ago … it was almost heretic to suggest that [the barn] should be converted as we are proposing now. It didn’t help that along Abbotside there was a tumble down cottage which had been converted by an outsider into a seven bedroom mansion. It looked unfair and discriminated against local families.

“We have got a policy now that allows barn conversions into roadside dwellings which is all that we ever wanted – not the ones on the dale top.”

He pointed out that during the intervening years many young families  had left the Dales and this had led to a substantial drop in the number of children attending local schools.

Austwick –  July

In November 2010 a member of the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority’s planning committee commented that a policy which stopped a barn in Austwick from being converted into a local occupancy home would not be in existence within five years. In fact, it took five-and-a-half years.

At the July planning committee meeting approval was given for Townhead Barn to become a dwelling. “This has been a long journey,” commented North Yorkshire County Councillor Richard Welch.

In December 2011 permission was granted for it to be converted into a bunk barn, following an appeal by the owner, Peter Taylor. The committee was told that, although the work was carried out, it was never used that way. This meant it could be viewed as a traditional barn beside the roadside and so approval for its change of use to a dwelling could be given in line with the Authority’s emerging Local Plan. Austwick parish council had queried this as that Local Plan has not yet been adopted.

The planning committee did agree that there should only be a small garden and that not all of the paddock attached to the barn could become curtilage. The converted barn will be subject to a local occupancy agreement and domestic permitted development rights will be removed so that the appearance of the building remains the same.

Aysgarth – September

A farming family in Aysgarth were given permission to go ahead with a two-phase re-development of its dairy farm.

David Spence and his sons wanted to erect a dairy cubicle house for 100 cows and later a milking parlour and dairy.

“At the current milk prices this is quite a brave move,” commented North Yorkshire County Councillor Roger Harrison-Topham. He was assured that the only time the herd would be inside the building 24/7 would be during the winter months.

Cllr Blackie, described the Spences as first class Upper Dales farmers who were prepared to run a dairy herd. “Farmers are the foot soldiers of conservation that is so important here in the Dales,” he said.

The planning officer explained that the Authority’s agricultural advisor had found that the facilities were required to meet rising welfare and space standards for cows and the changing regulations controlling the dairy industry. The existing sheds cannot house all the cows and calves, the hay, straw, silage and feed stuffs, the officer said. This meant that the dry cows had to be transported to fields owned by a family member at Thornton Rust and brought back when in milk.

The officer added:“This is a critical time for the milk industry and the proposed investment would allow the next generation to continue as dairy farmers with the benefits that that brings to the local economy.”

Although the new dairy cubicle house will be sited behind the present farm buildings and barely visible,  one of the planning conditions is that a bund should be built and then planted with trees to provide more screening.

Bolton Abbey – May

The possibility of losing a historic view not just of the Devonshire Arms but also of the landscape around Bolton Abbey led to the majority of the committee voting against an application by the Trustees of the Chatsworth Settlement to add two double-storey accommodation blocks on the north-eastern side of the country house hotel.

Simon Rhatigan, on behalf of the applicants, explained that the hotel needed to provide better, more modern facilities. They had been in discussions with the Authority for two years and believed that the proposed site was less obtrusive than the roadside one which had been suggested by the YDNPA.

The planning officer, however, agreed with Historic England that the sheer size and bulk of the proposed buildings, positioned within and almost entirely filling the north-eastern aspect of the hotel, would considerably reduce the important landscape views of the 18th and 19th century hotel complex. She added that the Georgian building had been deliberately designed to have an open aspect on to the Bolton Abbey landscape.

Buckden –July

A site meeting will be held at Heber Farm in Dubbs Lane, Buckden, to evaluate the impact on the amenity of neighbours if permission is granted for the creation of a 22 pitch campsite. The application was made by the National Trust. The tenant farmer, Gary Schofield, told the committee that, given the situation of farming at present, such diversification was needed for a farm to be economically viable.

Burnsall – February

Permission has been granted for a roadside barn at Burnsall to be converted into a dwelling in line with the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority’s emerging Local Plan.

“This is the first test of the new policy,” commented North Yorkshire County Councillor Robert Heseltine.

Craven District Councillor Carl Lis added: “This is exactly what we are aiming to achieve in our Local Plan.”

The barn, Jerry Laithe, is on the B6160 road about half a mile to the north west of Burnsall and outside of any designated housing boundary. The conversion of it to a local occupancy dwelling is not in accordance  with the present policies of the Authority but the application had been made in response to the emerging draft Yorkshire Dales Local Plan 2015-2030.

The planning officer noted: “This draft plan is sufficiently advanced in its preparation that it can be afforded weight as a ‘material consideration’.”

The committee approved the application which will mean that the traditional agricultural barn can be transformed into a two-bedroom dwelling.

Burtersett – August

A small barn in Burtersett can be converted into a two-bedroom dwelling and be used for short-term holiday lets.

This will be in accordance with the emerging Local Plan which will allow some traditional agricultural buildings to be adapted for alternative uses.

The barn is owned by Jeff Huntbach and overlooks the front of his home, The Grange. It does not have a garden and off-street parking will be provided in the yard shared with The Grange.

For these reasons it was accepted that the building would be more suitable for short-term holiday lets but the s106 agreement will also include local occupancy.

Burtersett – September

A Wensleydale farmer has been given permission to convert a barn at Cubble Head, Burtersett into a three-bedroom home – even though part of the roof has collapsed. But it came with the warning that no walls should be demolished.

North Yorkshire County Councillor John Blackie commented that he had not been sure how far the planning team would go when considering which barns could be converted. The Authority’s emerging Local Plan allows for barns which are near the roadside or part of a group of buildings to be converted into local occupancy homes.

Cllr Blackie said that the roof of the barn at Cubble Head would have to be taken off and agreed with the planning officer that the walls were in good structural order.

The application was wholeheartedly supported by Hawes and High Abbotside parish council which stated: “It saves a redundant agricultural building for what will eventually provide a first-rate dwelling for a local occupant, in this case a local life-long farmer [Richard Metcalfe], from tumbling down through dereliction into a pile of stones and slates. This would have been a tragic and unnecessary loss.”

Julie Martin, the Authority’s member champion for cultural heritage, said there were inconsistencies in how barn conversions were being dealt with by the Authority and this needed to be rectified.

She warned that there had been problems in the past when it had been found that a barn was, in fact, structurally unsound. This had led to walls being demolished and cultural heritage being lost.

She said this could be prevented by ensuring that features were recorded, that there was a structural survey, and that there was a condition that no demolition could take place without the consent of the Authority.

This was also emphasised by Cllr Blackie, Craven District Councillor Carl Lis (chairman of the Authority) and Richard Graham (head of development management).

Mr Graham said: “The primary aim is to conserve these buildings in the landscape as a heritage asset.” He explained that if walls were knocked down it could no longer be described as a barn conversion and the owner would have to apply for permission for a new build which wasn’t covered by the incoming Local Plan.

Casterton – December

The committee gave permission for the former boarding school buildings at Casterton to be converted into apartments even though two of its members questioned the considerable drop in the off-site affordable housing contribution.

South Lakeland District Council sought a contribution of £340,852 but the developers, Eight Property Ltd, had not agreed. After Casterton became part of the Yorkshire Dales National Park in August the company submitted its application to the YDNPA.

The Authority obtained an independent valuation for the affordable housing contribution of £200,000 and that was accepted by Eight Property Ltd. That contribution will be given to South Lakeland District Council.

The company has opted to pay such a contribution because it believes it is not economically viable to provide some affordable dwellings within the site which comprises of Bronte House, Crookenden House and Garner House.

“I know these buildings well,” said YDNPA member Jocelyn Manners-Armstrong. “I am concerned that this (conversion) is incredibly overcrowded. Those flats will be so cramped. I think the developers are trying to capitalise on the location.”

Like another member, Jim Munday, she felt that £12,000 per unit was a very modest contribution to the affordable housing fund.

Mr Graham replied that, after being told by two sets of valuers that the contribution of £200,000 was entirely reasonable, the Authority would have to find very good reasons to increase it.

The application is to provide 17 additional dwellings on the site bringing the total to 20. Garner House and Crookenden House will provide eight houses with gardens.At Bronte House there will be nine flats with balconies.

Cllr  Harrison-Topham questioned the impact that the balconies will have on those living in the three houses to be provided in the annex to Bronte House. Mr Graham said that issue would be discussed with the developers.

The  committee was told that the South Lakeland Core Strategy had been used when considering this application.

Coverdale – February 

An application to extend the opening hours of the Forbidden Corner in Coverdale was refused.

The planning officer told the committee that one of the conditions of the Appeal Decision in 2000 when retrospective permission was granted for opening Forbidden Corner to the public was that the opening times from Monday to Saturday should be from noon to 6pm (or dusk if earlier). There can be a maximum of 150 individual tickets issue for any one-hour period and it can be open from 10am to 6pm on Sundays and Bank Holidays.

North Yorkshire County Council Highways Authority had stated that, on safety grounds, the Forbidden Corner should not be open from 10am every day. Middleham Town Council and Middleham Trainers’ Association (MTA) had also objected.

“The steep narrow road often leads to dangerous confrontations between horses and vehicles that are not reported. The town council does not want the number of visitors to be detrimental to the racehorse training business which is Middleham’s major employer,” the planning officer explained.

He said that the town council was concerned that overall traffic numbers had increased since 2000 due to the establishment of The Stables Restaurant, the provision of holiday accommodation and Tupgill Park Estate becoming a wedding venue. The town council had reported that coaches were already travelling through Middleham to the Forbidden Corner during morning hours.

Malcolm Tempest, the agent for Forbidden Corner, stated:  “The proposal seeks to meet the changing expectations of our visitors. There is now more a demand for morning visits than late afternoon visits.

“We did two counts of horses using the road and that showed that two thirds of the horse movements took place between 10 and 11 and one third between 11 and 12. Bearing that in mind we are happy to amend the application to open at 11, therefore not affecting two thirds of the horses.

“Further we have agreed for a timed access to be on the quarter hour basis rather than on the present hourly basis. This is to avoid any surge in cars on the hour that Highways was concerned about.”

He argued that the National Planning Policy Framework stated that development should only be prevented or refused on transport grounds where the residual accumulative effects of the development would be severe. He said that Highways didn’t have the facts to back up its concerns and added: “We haven’t had any problems. How can we move from no problems to severe problems with a maximum of seven vehicles per quarter of an hour seems to me incredible.”

In his report the planning officer stated that extending the opening hours could generate some 80 to 100 extra car movements each day. The applicant (Colin Armstrong) had proposed that 100 instead of 150 tickets could be issued for each of the additional morning hours reducing the extra car movements to 24 to 33 per hour.

The Highways Authority had indicated it would accept two coaches per hour during the extra morning hours as these would be sufficient to take up all of the 100 ticketed visitors suggested by Mr Armstrong.

Cllr Harrison-Topham, who lives in Coverdale, remembered that in 2000 all the racehorse trainers had supported the Forbidden Corner application. He thought it was significant that all the trainers in the MTA now opposed the application to extend the opening hours.

He added: “I am not sure that horse accidents actually manage to feature in the records to which the applicant and his agent would have access.

“Training is a very serious business (in Middleham) and anything that puts that industry at risk is a very serious matter.

“There is a letter that suggests that the applicant is already in breach of this condition.” There was, he said, a history of a little change all the time and that built up to a very considerable change.

Ian McPherson commented: “It seems to me that at the moment a reasonable accommodation has been reached. I see no reason why that equilibrium should be disturbed by increasing the possibility for accidents.”

The only member who voted to approve the application was Cllr Blackie. He didn’t think there had been a single recorded accident between a horse and a car heading towards Forbidden Corner.

Cllr Blackie said that the idea of opening from 11am could be considered. The vote was on the application to open Forbidden Corner to the public from 10am every day.

Crosby Ravensworth – December

A small bungalow cannot be built in the garden of a house in Silver Street, Crosby Ravensworth, even though the parish council believes it would be a useful addition to the housing stock in the village.

Crosby Ravensworth Parish Councillor Virginia Holroyd told the planning committee  that the parish especially needed smaller, energy-efficient and low maintenance dwellings which were adapted for the elderly.

“The proposed bungalow would be of benefit not only to the applicants but also to future generations, and it fits in with the council’s policy for increasing housing stock in Eden. This would stop the current trend of older members having to abandon their community, their family and friends, and seek more age-appropriate housing stock in market towns,” she reported.

The parish council believed that it would not affect the character of the street as it would be set well back from the road and would be screened by neighbouring properties.

The planning officer maintained, however, that the proposed development would be contrary to the Eden District Core Strategy and stated: “The introduction of a squat, single storey building in between two existing properties would result in a cramped form of development that would be harmful to views in and out of the conservation area.”

The applicants’ agent, Ian Smart, told the committee: “We believe that words such as ‘cramped’ and ‘squat’ are unjustifiably emotive and subjective, especially when applying for …outline planning permission with all matters reserved.”

He said that the applicants, Mr and Mrs R Morland, had decided not to spend any more money on the application given the planning officer’s negative appraisal and requests for a lot more information including a tree care plan and a bat scoping survey.

Some of the committee members argued that a district council planning department would have also requested more information.

Cllr Blackie said: “Sometimes there seems to be over-bearing requests for surveys and assessments – but not to reduce (the information) to zero. We haven’t the first clue what we might be approving in outline. We have to refuse this application until we know more about it.” The majority of the committee agreed with him.

Dent – July

Permission was refused for a section of late 19th century walling to be removed in order to create a space for off-road parking at Overdale in Deepdale Lane, Dent.

The Highways Authority had recommended that the access should be even wider but the planning officer said this would have led to yet more of the distinctive wall being lost. This, she said, would detract from the visual quality of the conservation area.

Robert Groves, the agent for the applicant, said they accepted that the wall did have a traditional and attractive character and for that reason wanted to remove as little of it as possible.

Dent – July

The committee members were amused to hear that the graveyard at Deepdale Chapel 2km south-east of Dent will be retained and used as a garden.

As there were covenants attached to the building when it was sold the graveyard will still be open to the public when the chapel is converted into a three-bedroom local occupancy dwelling.

The committee approved this conversion under the same policy (L2) in the emerging Local Plan as had been used for traditional barns.

The chapel was vacated by the Methodist Church in 1996 and, according to local residents, there are ample facilities for community groups in the area.

Dent parish council fully supported the application by what it described as a young and expanding couple with extended family connections in the dale. It is happy that many of the internal features of the chapel will be retained and that there would be sympathetic use of local materials.

The planning officer reported that the chapel, which dates back to 1888,  was an important undesignated heritage asset of architectural and historical interest. “Such chapel buildings are a limited resource within the National Park and they are important to understanding the cultural heritage of the area and, in particular, provide physical evidence of local social history,” she said.

Drybeck – November

Residents from Drybeck travelled over 30 miles to tell the  planning committee why they were opposed to a slurry lagoon about the size of a football pitch being created near their homes.

Along with Eden District Councillor William Patterson and Mike Dewis of Farm Systems Ltd they were the first members of the public to attend an YDNPA planning committee since the district was incorporated into the National Park on August 1.

Cllr Patterson, who is a member of the Eden District planning committee, commented: “We now find ourselves in Yorkshire!”

He explained that the applicant, Neil Sowerby of Town Head Farm, had applied over a year ago for permission to build the lagoon. “I will be having words with my own planning department because it was their fault that it has taken so long.”

Eden District Councillor Valerie Kendal, who became a member of the YDNPA in August, thanked the Authority’s planning department for acting quickly to complete the process. But the delay had led to construction being started this summer.

She was concerned both about that and that clay had been used to line the 4.5m deep lagoon. Clay, she said, could dry out and shift in dry weather and the underlying limestone was permeable.

This was one of the concerns listed by Pamela Barr on behalf of some of the residents. “We wish to ensure environmental protection and public safety. There have been recent problems…with slurry polluting the beck,” she said.

She added that the lagoon was only 250m from some of the garden boundaries. Residents had asked if it could be sited in a field where the prevailing winds would not blow the smell across the village.

Cllr Patterson explained that, as the dairy farm was becoming organic, it needed to make full use of the slurry it produced once fertilisers were no longer allowed. Nor could the slurry be treated with chemicals to stop the odour. Mr Sowerby has agreed to implement an odour management scheme.

Following several questions about the management of the slurry lagoon Mr Graham explained that the Authority could not duplicate the work of other regulatory authorities. Such lagoons, he said, had to comply with the regulations aimed at stopping any pollution from silage, slurry and agricultural fuel oil (SSAFO), and these were policed by the Environment Agency. The agency believed that the slurry lagoon was capable of complying with the regulations and would monitor it, he added.

The committee approved the application. The conditions included improving the access track to the lagoon and screening it with a bund and hawthorn hedges.

East Witton – December

Permission was granted for the Methodist chapel at East Witton to be converted into a two-bedroom holiday let.

Cllr Blackie queried the way this had been advertised. According to the present Local Plan any such community building should be advertised for sale for six months. If it has not been sold for community use during that time then permission can be requested for change of use.

The chapel at East Witton, however, was only advertised on the local Methodist circuit website. The planning officer explained that the emerging Local Plan allowed for more flexibility.

Cllr Blackie then asked how this would affect the sale of the chapels in Hawes and Arkengarthdale which are no longer in use.

“Could they be advertised on the Richmondshire Today news website?” he asked.

“Yes” replied the head of development management, Richard Graham.

Embsay – May

There have been so many extensions to homes in and around Hill Top Close in Embsay that it was hard to object to one more, the committee agreed.

The owners of the bungalow at 1 Hill Top Close had applied for permission to erect a two-storey extension to the east gable; a dormer window to the south elevation; a single storey porch at the front; and to put in roof-lights to both sides of the roof. The garage will also be converted to living space and there will be additional parking and pedestrian access at the corner plot. They had amended the plans after Embsay-with-Eastby Parish Council objected to some of their plans.

The committee accepted the officer’s recommendation to approve the application.

Embsay – August

The committee unanimously agreed that a bungalow can be built within the garden of 18 Millholme Rise, Embsay.

Embsay-with-Eastby parish council had asked for assurance that this would be a single storey building and that there would be no negative impact upon the neighbouring nature reserve.

It was reported that the Authority’s ecologist felt there would be minimal impact upon the nature reserve as the bungalow would be downstream from it. The applicant has proposed to install a sustainable surface water drainage system which would further protect the environment.

Mr Graham said there would be a legal agreement concerning the use of a shared access.

Cllr  Welch asked if it was time to change the rule that a planning applications had to be dealt with by the committee if a parish council did not agree with the officer’s recommendation. Ms Bevan replied that the policy had only recently been reviewed and the majority of members had been in favour of retaining it.

Embsay – enforcement notice – September

Chris Oxley was given 12 months to reinstate historical features at The Garth in Pasture Road, Embsay.

The committee agreed that an enforcement notice should be served calling for the restoration of the original floor level and flagstone flooring in the cellar at The Garth and to replace the structural walling, niches, stone shelving and stone tables which had formed a mid 19th century service room in this Grade II listed building.

The only committee member to vote against this was Cllr Blackie who argued that Mr Oxley’s planning applications should have been brought to the committee so that he could have explained why he had carried out the work in the cellar. The planning officer had, under delegated powers, refused those on September 1 and had then made the application for an enforcement notice.

Cllr Blackie commented that this was very hasty and had taken away any opportunity for the applicant to address the planning committee as that was not allowed when enforcement notices were being discussed.

The planning officer explained that the work had been aimed at solving the problem of damp in the cellar. “In times of heavy rainfall there is standing water there – the kind of condition you would expect within a cellar that is partly subterranean and its use was to store food.”

He added that originally Mr Oxley had wanted not only to dry line the cellar but also to demolish a cross wall and enlarge a window to provide another access into it so as to create an additional living space.

The head of development management, Richard Graham, commented: “There have been an awful lot of meetings, advice and correspondence [which] resulted in a failure to agree to a compromise solution.”

Richmondshire District Councillor Stuart Parsons said: “This was a very interesting space. It could have been turned into something absolutely fascinating and if we are not prepared to take steps to protect this sort of heritage we might as well just go home.

“Action needs to be taken. They’ve been given every opportunity to come back with a compromise.”

Gayle – August

Michael Webster stood outside the entrance to the YDNPA office in Bainbridge on Tuesday, August 9, with the sample panel illustrating what the render on the west wall of Garris House in Gayle would look like if he was able to complete the water-proofing work.

As he was not allowed to speak during the discussion about enforcement action it was left to Cllr John Blackie to speak for him.

Cllr Blackie said that, as the recommendation for enforcement action included the possibility of a criminal prosecution, Mr Webster should not only have been allowed to speak but also to bring the sample panel into the meeting.

“Hawes and High Abbotside parish council is absolutely appalled. This is not democracy in action. This is simply a dictatorship,” stated Cllr Blackie.

Cllr Lis said that members of the YDNPA had, for the sake of fairness, agreed on the rule concerning enforcement hearings. It would only be fair, he explained, to allow objectors to speak as well as the appellant, but some objectors would feel too inhibited to do so. Members were free to reconsider that policy, he added.

The majority of the members agreed that if Mr Webster did not submit a planning application within three months an enforcement notice should be issued.

Cllr Blackie said that Mr Webster maintained that he did not need to apply for permission as, when the work was finished, there would be no noticeable difference to the original appearance of the rendered west wall of Garris House.

Mr Webster had planned to cover the metal panels with render that matched what had been there before but had stopped work when told to do so by the enforcement officer. He had, said Cllr Blackie, tried various ways in the past, including replacing render, to stop water egress on the west wall but with no success. Cllr Blackie proposed that Mr Webster should be allowed to render the metal panelling so that the finished appearance could be assessed.

Other members agreed with the enforcement officer that what Mr Webster had done constituted unauthorised cladding which did not match the rest of the traditional stone built house. The enforcement officer said that the gable end had already been extended by 12cm by the addition of wooden batons which had then been covered with metal insulation material.

He added: “It was difficult for officers to identify how the folded over edges of the cladding, where they meet the vertical walls and the roof slates, were going to be rendered or pointed in such a way that it preserved the traditional character of the property.”

Cllr Harrison-Topham commented: “The difficulty we have is that the operation has been halted half way through. We just don’t know whether it will materially affect the external appearance of the building.”

The head of development manager, Richard Graham, stated: “It is a breach of planning control. We need assurance that the render is not going to come off.” He added that a planning application would give them the opportunity to establish whether it was going to result in an acceptable appearance and enable Mr Webster to address the committee.

Cllr Blackie pointed out that, if Mr Webster did not submit a planning application, he could lodge an appeal against the subsequent enforcement notice.

Mr and Mrs Webster’s letter to the planning committee members:

We have lived in Garris House for just over 30 years and the west facing wall has been subject to damp / water ingress for most of this time due to the elevation being exposed to the prevailing driven rain from the west which is a constant fact of life here in the Upper Dales, particularly in these recent times of significantly higher rainfall.

The wall in question has been covered with a cement render which dates back to the early days of construction of Garris House in the 19th Century, so the need to prevent water ingress has been there from the earliest time.  To combat this problem I have applied various proprietary damp proofing materials over the years in the property.  These damp-proofing agents have been well applied but sadly have had no lasting protection.  The materials used were always of a nature as not to change the appearance of the building.

The problem has now developed to a point where significant structural problems are self-evident to the main supporting roof timbers, which show clear signs of wet rot where they connect into the wall, so it now has become urgent to stop this process of damp ingress to prevent a roof failure.  It is also evident that a vast area of the whole wall is holding a high moisture content and does not fully dry out even in the summer months before the wet autumn / winter periods return.  We have even experienced dripping water down the inside bedroom wall adjacent to the outside wall, and the downstairs adjacent room has not been used for living purposes for several years due to these conditions, and can only be used for storage.

With the need for a permanent solution  to these problems, in the summer of 2015,  I started work to re-cement render the wall and in the process of doing so, incorporated an insulative waterproof member as a sub-surface underneath the final render coating.  The work in progress had reached the point where the sub-surface waterproofing element had been applied to the upper half of the wall when I was visited by the YDNPA Enforcement Officer, Robert Bissicks, who asked for details of the work due to a complaint that had been received by the Authority.  I explained the problem and what I was doing to address it, and he said he would reply in writing to me.

The reply I received described my solution as “wooden cladding” and that planning consent was required.  I felt Mr Bissicks had not fully understood the information I had given him, so I wrote to him to emphasise the sub-surface now in view was not a finished surface, which would be a cement render to match the original, and all edges would also be made-up matching the original so that there would be no perceivable difference to the original appearance.

After further exchanges of correspondence it was established that if the surface was finished with an appropriate render, then it could result in a satisfactory finish, but Mr. Bissicks maintained that planning consent would be needed in any case.  I would challenge that opinion and this would be one of the grounds (along with other grounds) should this matter go to an Enforcement Appeal Inspector, which I sincerely hope that it does not.

I trust the above account and the photographs give some insight into this situation to aid your judgement in this matter. I respect the purpose for planning controls, but it is my honest belief that the work that I have in progress is a normal building repair not requiring planning permission, which when complete will look exactly as its original appearance, is of sound construction, and it will not look or ccould possibly be described as “cladding”.

I would have continued to finish the work last year but Mr. Bissicks insisted I stopped what I was doing there and then, and I have obeyed his instructions.  As I say I respect the need for planning controls.  As one of the original group of 4 managers who established the Wensleydale Creamery after buying the site from Dairy Crest in 1992, and since then the Creamery’s Director in charge of buildings I always ensured that any new works there that needed planning permission obtained it before the commecement of the works.  I still work at The Wensleydale Creamery one day a week.

However in view of the Report you are considering at your meeting I have affixed a sample slab of render temporarily to the wall to demonstrate what the finished rendered surface will look like.  Obviously it will weather down to a finish, colour and texture akin to the original.  I will also bring a sample panel of the new and the existing rendered surface to the Planning Committee, and I hope you will take the time to look at it before you consider the item on your Agenda.

Just on the other side of Gayle Beck to Garris House is a cottage which clearly has suffered the same problem of damp ingress from the prevailing west wind.  The owner, whom I know very well, slated the whole elevation over 25 years ago, and it has cured his damp problem.  He has been fortunate to enjoy a damp free interior in his cottage over all these years.  However you may consider his solution stands out more than what my solution will do, that is when I have finished.  There are a number of other properties in Upper Wensleydale that I could highlight where similar solutions to damp ingress have been applied with success but they are visually obtrusive, unlike my solution when I have finished will be.

I ask the Planning Committee considers deferring the proposed action in Mr.Bissicks’ recommendation for 9 months, until next May, to allow me to finish the work,  and then if it is wishes, or needs to, re-examines the situation.  During this period I will complete the work Mr. Bissicks stopped in its tracks a year ago, and I know you will find then a rendered wall that will be no different in appearance to the existing wall.  However the difference this will make for me and my wife if my solution is successful will be that living at Garris House will be much more comfortable, and hopefully damp free, and therefore conducive to us remaining in good health, given we are both of retirement age.

(In March 2017 Mr Webster’s application for the four inch extension to waterproof the wall was approved.)

Gayle – October

A local farmer should have been offered a legal agreement which included converting a barn into a local occupancy dwelling as well as a holiday let, Cllr Blackie told the planning committee.

Bruce Raw had applied for permission to demolish the modern extensions to a barn in Bands Lane, Gayle,  and to create a three bedroom holiday let in accordance with the Authority’s emerging Local Plan.

Hawes and High Abbotside parish council fully supported this application but had not been informed that the Authority had decided that a legal agreement would be required.

At the planning meeting the head of development management, Richard Graham, explained that following an internal discussion between the planning officers and the Authority’s solicitor it was decided that a Section 106 legal agreement would be required to ensure that anyone who might buy the property in the future would know what restrictions had been placed upon it.

Cllr Blackie, who is the chairman of Hawes and High Abbotside parish council, compared Mr Raw’s application to that for the Tithe Barn at Stirton which the committee had debated at length earlier in the meeting. That barn conversion will be restricted by a legal agreement to being either  a holiday let or for local occupancy.

He asked that Mr Raw should be offered the same type of dual agreement.

“Holiday lets are important to our local economy. We [at the parish council] are equally in favour of it becoming a local occupancy property.”

Cllr Blackie did contact Mr Raw the following day and said that the farmer was delighted to  hear the legal agreement could include local occupancy. Cllr Blackie said: “Having both options makes the development more sustainable.”

He explained that if there weren’t bookings for the holiday let it could be rented by someone who had been commissioned to carry out work locally for a few months – and that would be covered by the local occupancy agreement.

Grassington –  April

 A request to allow a converted barn near Grassington to be used as short stay self-catering holiday accommodation was refused because the application could not be supported by any YDNPA policies.

Mercie Kennedy told the committee that following her father’s sudden death in July 2015 no-one in the family had been able to carry on farming there. The land they owned had been rented to a local farmer who did not need an additional agricultural worker’s dwelling. An agricultural occupancy restriction was placed on Halfway House when permission was granted to convert it to a dwelling in 1997.

Mrs Kennedy said that she and her brother wanted to retain the house not just in case one of them wanted to return to the farm in the future but also so that they could have regular access to it now. This could be done by using it for holiday lets which would also bring in some income.

Both Mr Colley and Cllr Heseltine said they would like to support the family’s application but accepted that this would not be in line with any of the Authority’s policies.

Grassington – October

Grassington House Hotel finally has approval for a ventilation system.

The Authority first considered taking enforcement action against the hotel’s owners in 2008 when a large metal extraction flue fixed to the northern side of the premises could be seen from The Square in Grassington. The planning committee deferred formal enforcement action in October 2013 to see if a solution could be found.

That flue was then replaced with one deemed almost as bad and again without consent. The planning officer commented: “The existing ventilation system has a highly adverse impact on the character and significance of the Listed building and on the wider Conservation Area. The structure is a harsh contrast to the simple, elegant form of the Georgian Listed hotel building.”  She added that it also has a negative impact upon neighbouring buildings.

The approved replacement will still look incongruous, she said, but has been designed to reduce its size and so minimise its impact.

The Grassington Museum Society was still concerned,however, that there would be smells and noise from the flue which will overhang the museum. The planning officer reported that the flue would be fitted with an odour neutraliser and the ductwork would be lined with sound absorbent material.

The planning committee accepted that the hotel had to have a good ventilation system to meet modern standards and to retain its high star rating.

“There are similar issues elsewhere,” Cllr Blackie said, and added that the Authority needed to encourage the entrepreneurs who were trying to develop businesses in the National Park.

Grinton – May 

The main problem with the creating a second dwelling at Virginia Cottage in Grinton was the lack of parking spaces, Harold Brown told the committee.

He said that something had to be done to alleviate the parking problems along Leyburn Road especially as the traffic, including cyclists, had increased since the Tour de France. Grinton Parish Council was very concerned about this as the one-bedroom Wolf Cottage had already been created by dividing Virginia Cottage.

The planning officer said that those living at Virginia Cottage had agreed to use their off-road parking spaces so as to leave that on the highway verge for Wolf Cottage.

He recommended approving the retrospective application as the applicant had agreed to sign a local occupancy legal agreement and because the sub-division of Virginia Cottage had not done any significant harm to the listed building. This was accepted by the committee.

Hardraw – May

The committee members unanimously refused to approve the application by Mark Thompson to construct a micro-brewery near St Mary and St John’s Church at Hardraw.

Both Hawes and High Abbotside Parish Council and Hardraw Parochial Church Council objected strongly to the proposal for a small range of buildings to house a cycle hire, micro-brewery and garden store within the grounds of the Green Dragon Inn.

Parish councillor Tony Fawcett, who has lived in the village all his life, Told the committee that the application was an absolute disgrace, opportunist and immoral, and could make the area by the church look like an industrial estate.

Susan Foster, on behalf of the parochial church council, said that as the building would be outside of the village boundary it would be like creeping industrialisation and totally out of keeping with the peaceful environment.

The smell from the micro-brewery would not only be offensive to people visiting family graves but also to those planning to get married at the church, she added.

Like Cllr Heseltine, the parochial church council felt that a micro-brewery in that location would be disrespectful to the consecrated graveyard. Cllr Heseltine commented: “This application is, in my opinion, one of the most insensitive to ever come before us.”

Cllr Blackie stated that the churchyard provided a place of quiet contemplation where people could enjoy all that was special about the National Park. “It will be compromised by the clanking of barrels and the pong of beer,” he added.

He, like others, said that the large visitor centre beside the Inn was under-used and could accommodate the micro-brewery.

Cllr Harrison-Topham pointed out that there was no management plan for the micro-brewery and commented: “This is a somewhat specious excuse for putting up a new building.”

The planning officer had, however, recommended that the committee should approve the application especially as the emerging Local Plan would welcome and support the provision of new visitor facilities.

She added: “The siting and design of the proposed building is considered to be acceptable although the extension of the existing visitor centre would be a more favourable option that would have had less landscape impact.”

When proposing refusal Julie Martin said that people went to Hardraw to visit the spectacular falls and that, to her, the visitor centre provided a rather forbidding approach. As the vote went against officer recommendation the decision will have to be ratified at the meeting on June 14.

At the June meeting the committee again refused permission on the basis that it would be a new development outside the defined settlement of Hardraw and would be detrimental to the character of the open countryside and the visitor experience of Hardraw Falls. It was pointed out that Mr Thompson had not adequately demonstrated that the existing Visitor Centre beside the Green Dragon could not accommodate the new facilities  internally or with an extension.

Hartington Raikes – December

The application to convert Holes Beck Barn at Hartington Raikes, into a four-bedroom dwelling for either local occupancy or for use as a holiday let had originally included a large single-storey annex and a big garden in what was the farmyard.

The amended plans approved by the planning committee showed a timber clad lean-to on the northern side of the converted barn and a much smaller garden area. The rest of the farmyard will become pasture and a stable block of four loose boxes will be sited within the redundant sunken slurry pit.


Permission was granted for a small barn at Hawkswick to be converted into a two-bedroom holiday cottage.

The planning committee agreed that the unusual rough arch over the door at what will be called Redmire Farm Barn should be protected.

When asked why an S106 agreement was deemed to be unnecessary the planning officer said that the curtilage was so small the converted barn would only be suitable for a short stay holiday let.

There was, she said, a large layby nearby where cars could be parked.

Hebden – February

The planning committee was asked to approve enforcement action which would lead to the complete demolition of a family home next to Cherry Trees in a small hamlet west of Hebden Mill Cottages.

The enforcement officer explained that an application by Andrew Whitham of Cherry Trees to convert a former water turbine house into an agricultural worker’s dwelling was refused in February 2014.

Permission was granted in February 2015 for the turbine house to be converted into an annex to Cherry Trees on condition that it would not become a separate household; that the roof height would not be increased; and that the building would largely retain its original form.

When the enforcement officer visited the site last month she found that the building had effectively been replaced by a much larger one. She reported: “The owner has verbally commented that it was always his intention to construct the building as it stands currently, as a means of providing a house for his family and that the raised height was necessary to provide a first floor as additional living accommodation.”

The chairman of the committee, Chris Armstrong, commented: “This is a shocking example of somebody completely disregarding the planning committee.”

And Craven District Councillor Carl Lis said: “What’s the point of a planning committee when anybody can come along and just do what they want?”

Peter Charlesworth agreed with several others that he would not like to see the whole house demolished, but added that such a draconian measure would have to be taken if a solution wasn’t found.

“It has to be regularised one way or another,” said North Yorkshire County Councillor Robert Heseltine. “To knock it down completely would seem to me a bit excessive.”

The committee agreed to defer a decision for three months to give the owner time to submit a planning application as this was the only way the Authority could impose conditions.

The committee was told that there was a lot of local support for the couple and two young children to continue living in the house as it is and a petition with 22 signatures had been delivered to the Authority.

Cllr  Blackie commented: “This has all the ingredients to become a cause celebre. To see that building knocked to the ground and seeing a home taken away from an agricultural worker and his young family will put us in the dock in the court of public opinion.”

He hoped that a resolution could be found which would not mean demolishing the house completely nor leave the owners with an open market house in the open countryside.

Hebden – July

Retrospective planning permission was granted  but not without a lot of soul searching. Several members warned about the dangers.

Cllr Parsons said: “If this is approved the message we are sending out to absolutely everybody in the Park is … build what the hell you like and then come in with a local occupancy story and they will have to give it to you. That is the precedent that this committee will set. The applicant knew that planning permission was required. He chose to not do things by the book because he had been previously disappointed by the National Park Authority.”

Cllr Lis asked: “I find it impossible that people do this without in any way considering that they might need planning permission. What’s the point in our being here to discuss it?” But he did  not want to take draconian action against the family now living in the converted building.

Cllr Thornton-Berry  commented that the issue had to be handled sympathetically.  And Cllrs Robert Heseltine and Harrison-Topham pointed out that the officer’s recommendation would lead to the complete demolition of what is now a home for a local young family with twin babies. The applicant’s father, Andrew Whitham, said that a local occupancy legal agreement would be signed for what was now an independent new dwelling in the open countryside.

Mr Whitham apologised to the committee and explained that the conversion work had gone ahead “partly out of necessity and partly me being naive about the ways of planning laws.”  His son works locally in agricultural contracting and as a part-time game keeper. “How would he find somewhere affordable for someone living on a minimum wage with an area where he can keep all his equipment?” he asked.

The work had included partially demolishing the old turbine house, adding a significant extension, and raising the roof ridge and eaves. This, the planning officer said, could not be considered to be a ‘conversion’. Other alterations had significantly eroded the simple vernacular character of the former building, he added.

Horton in Ribblesdale – May

Large-scale charity events are causing such untold stress and pressure regarding parking, litter and noise pollution in the village that the parish council decided it was unethical to support the applications by the Authority to put up banners supporting the “Day in the Dales” on June 18.

Horton in Ribblesdale parish council has now set up a working party to combat the negative effects of so many “Charity Events” in the parish.

The planning committee was told, however, that the only basis on which to refuse the applications was in the banners had an impact upon amenity or public safety. “Amenity” she said, related to the visual impact of the banners.

It was, therefore, agreed that banners could be placed for a temporary period at the Horton National Park toilets and also on the field gate at the entrance to the car park which serves the pavilion and playing field. The “Day in the Dales” is a charitable event for Heart Research UK in partnership with the Authority’s Three Peaks Project. The aim is to raise sponsorship money for Heart Research UK, as well as improving and maintaining the Three Peaks path.

Beck House, Howgill – March

Permission was granted for camping pods and the creation of a new camping area at Beck House.

One camping pod will be erected beside the two static caravans which are already there. In addition there will be three pods, two tent pitches and a facilities building along the beck nearby.

Cllr Harrison-Topham abstained from voting because, he said, he was concerned about the wide definition of a caravan. Camping pods fall within the statutory definition of a caravan.

The planning officer had recommended that the conditions should include restrictions on the camping pods so that they could not later be replaced with any other structures or caravans without approval.

He told the committee: “Once the landscaping is established and if the site is successful there may be opportunity to support more tent pitches in this location.”

He said that the camping pods would help to fill a recognised gap in the tourism market in the National Park and would be assimilated better in the landscape than caravans.

He assured members that the planning officers would make sure that the lighting on the site would be at an appropriate level and that suitable arrangements were made regarding effluent.

Mr Brown agreed with him that this would be a good form of farm diversification.

Hudswell – March

Hudswell Community Charity, which was founded about 300 years ago, applied for permission to build three more affordable homes to rent. It already has three houses in the village which it rents to those with a local connection and in housing need.

The new houses will be built on part of Thompson’s Field which the charity has owned for 100 years. This is at the eastern end of Hudswell with part of it creating a gap between some bungalows and modern detached houses –  a gap which the charity wants to fill with two three-bedroom semi-detached houses and a two-bedroom single storey dwelling.

A Housing Need Survey last year identified five more families with a local connection who needed rented accommodation.

Martin Booth, the secretary of the charity, told the committee that they had worked for two years on the plan to provide more rented accommodation. He explained that they had considered a partnership with a Registered Provider but that would have meant losing some control over the ownership of the properties and how they were allocated.

He said: “We had the funds, and we own the land – so we had the means to do it ourselves. We don’t need to draw any money from government sources. So we didn’t need a Registered Provider.”

This means that the new houses will be exempt from the government’s proposed extension to the Right to Buy scheme.

Mr Booth added: “We did go to great lengths to consult with the village. Being a local charity we all live there. We had two public meetings and spent a lot of time with the immediate residents  – trying to accommodate all their concerns about how it would impact on their lives.”

For this reason there were no objections to the application nor had any of the committee been lobbied about it.

Harold Brown pointed out that Hudswell was unusual in the National Park in that one side of the linear development was within the YDNPA area and the other was not. He added: “This seems to me to be a very good scheme.”  All the other members agreed.

In accordance with the YDNPA policy for affordable housing the rents will be at 80 per cent of market rent and the charity has agreed to sign local occupancy legal agreements on the houses.

Hudswell – August

It was agreed that the local occupancy agreement for three new houses in Hudswell could be amended so that it was in accordance with the aims of the charity which will own them.

Hudswell Community Charity has, for over 200 years, sought to provide affordable rentable housing for those who have a connection with the village and need the support and assistance of their family members there. These people, however, might not fit the definition of “local” as defined by the YDNPA’s housing policy.

The charity had, therefore, asked that the s106 agreement should include a paragraph stating: “A person in housing need who has an immediate relative who is a resident of the relevant parish and who would benefit significantly from the support and assistance that this relative would be able to provide through close proximity.”

Cllr Blackie said that this compromise would mean that the three houses would remain available at affordable rents unaffected by the government’s policy on “right to buy”.

Kettlewell – February

A concrete barrier at Brightwaters in Kettlewell can be retained as it is protecting the walls of the converted barn from water damage.

It was reported that structural surveys had shown that the concrete barrier would help to stop further bulging and cracking of the walls which could then be repaired.

The planning officer, however, recommended that the retrospective planning application for the concrete barrier beside Kettlewell Beck and the railings around the patio created by it should be refused. He argued that the extent of the railings should be reduced and that a more sensitive way of protecting Brightwaters could be found.

The majority of the committee, however, disagreed. Cllr Blackie said that the barrier was supporting the structural integrity of the converted barn. He added that during the past few months the water in the beck had risen to almost the level of the patio at the top of the concrete barrier.

He added: “I wouldn’t want to stand on that particular patio without some sort of railings. A number of other places in Kettlewell have railings.”

Mr Graham said that even though the committee had not accepted the recommendation of the planning officer the decision would not need to be confirmed at the next meeting.

Kettlewell – April

It didn’t take long for the committee to give its unanimous approval for a barn near Kettlewell to be converted into a two-bedroom house for local occupancy.

Cllr Heseltine commented: “This is a fine example of our emerging roadside barns policy. It is ideally situated for a young family as it is near the school.”

Kettlewell – September

Plans for an extension to a modern end terrace house in the centre of Kettlewell had to be considerably modified before the Authority would consider approving them.

Originally it was proposed to build a two-storey extension at 1 Orchard Cottages but the planning officer felt this would adversely affect the neighbour’s property.

Kettlewell and Starbotton parish council still believed that the amended plans for a one-storey sunroom would be intrusive but the committee  did give approval for that.

It was pointed out by a neighbour that the proposed use of white uPVC for the door and window frames would not be in keeping with the original planning consent and would change the character of the terrace of three houses. At the committee meeting Cllr Parsons observed that white uPVC patio doors had already been installed at 1 Orchard Cottages.

He also asked if the houses, that were built in 1984, had any permitted development rights. The planning officer said this would be checked.

There had been no objections to proposed change of use of the garage into a study and that was approved as well.

Kettlewell – November

A young couple was  given permission to convert a barn at Kettlewell into their family home.

David Hillam, the applicants’ agent, told the committee that Anthony Robinson and his wife and children lived in a rented house in Starbotton. “They have a strong commitment to the area and want to live in a barn [conversion] that they own,” he said.

Kettlewell with Starbotton Parish Council strongly support the application because Mr Robertson works locally and his children attend the village school.

The barn, which is near the school, will be converted into a three-bedroom local occupancy dwelling.

Malham – December

A young couple, Louise and Andy Macbeth, can go ahead with adding two contemporary single-storey extensions at Beck Hall, Malham, even though the parish council stated that these would be out of keeping with the style of the hotel.

The planning committee approved the glazed extensions which will form a new reception area and bar, and an additional dining area. These will be sited on either side of the large 1980s two-storey wing that is behind the original 18th century house which forms the frontage of the hotel.

The planning officer told the committee that the extensions had been amended following objections by Kirkby Malhamdale Parish Council to being simple glass box designs with flat grass roofs.

The parish council, however, felt these were just modest alterations and that the extensions would still have a detrimental and negative impact upon such a significant property in Malham.

Cllr Parsons commented that the extensions would improve the appearance of the rear of the 1980’s building which he felt was quite ugly.

Cllr  Gray said: “We should look at modern building (materials) as useful tools and glass is one of those things. In the day time it reflects the surroundings and the skyline. It actually reduces the heavy impact of the modern building.”

Marske – December

The emerging Local Plan means that the 18th century Stable Block and Coach House at Marske in Swaledale can now become apartments for local people as well as holiday lets. Permission was granted in 2012 for the buildings to be converted into nine holiday lets. The same plans were submitted by Roger Tempest of the Rural Concepts Group to the committee this month so as to include local occupancy.

At the meeting  Cllr Blackie commented that this was an excellent way to save such a fine building from dereliction.

“This is an outstanding building. It is wonderful to see it being brought back into use,” said Cllr Parsons.

Newbiggin in Bishopdale – July

There are only five businesses in North Yorkshire which provide suitable independent or assisted wheelchair accommodation. But soon the Yorkshire Dales will have its first now that the planning committee has approved the change of use of an outbuilding at Eastburn Farmhouse at Newbiggin in Bishopdale.

Andrew and Diane Howarth have developed a high-quality five-star self-catering accommodation business in the village. Mr Howarth told the committee that this application would provide an opportunity for the National Park to provide flagship accommodation to national accessibility standards for those with mobility, hearing and visual impairments. He pointed out that the Peak District had 40 such types of accommodation.

The outbuilding was constructed in 2002 as a warehouse and office building and the planning officer stated it could be assessed according to the policy in the new emerging plan which allowed for the conversion of modern buildings to new business or employment uses. Since the Haworth’s bought Eastburn Farmhouse it has been used as a domestic store.

The Senior Listed Building officer recommended refusal of the application on the basis that the overall size and shape of the extensions would have a negative impact upon Eastburn House which is Grade II listed.

The planning officer, however, stated that the building would not be readily visible from the street or have a significant impact on the character of the village.

Cllr Harrison-Topham said: “I am slightly startled that we are treating the Senior Listed Building officer’s comments in quite such a cavalier fashion. After all she is the advocate for one of our prime national purposes in respect of the cultural heritage.”

Mr Graham, responded that the extensions would not lead to the building dominating the farmhouse. The planning officer’s recommendation to approve the application was accepted by the majority of the committee. The application included a garage for the farmhouse.

Otterburn – July

The new policy which allows roadside traditional barns to be converted into dwellings was applauded by John Steel, the agent for the owners of Crane Field Laithe on the Hellifield Road near Otterburn.

He described it as a welcome and progressive initiative which will allow many barns to be restored. These, he said, do contribute to the National Park’s historic environment.  If permission was granted the 200-years-old barn would be restored to a high standard so that it would again have a beneficial use. “It will ensure the life of this undesignated heritage asset well into the future,” he added.

Both he and the planning officer assured the committee that it was possible to restore and convert the building without the demolition of any walls and the owners were willing to sign a S106 legal agreement. The owners propose to use the converted barn either as a short-stay holiday let or as a local occupancy dwelling.

Initially the planning officer had recommended refusal because the Highways Authority had pointed out that the access onto Hellifield Road had severely restricted visibility. An alternative access was suggested and Mr Steel confirmed that the applicants did own the land adjoining the barn.

It was agreed that planning officers could work with the Highways Authority and the owners to find a satisfactory solution.

Otterburn – December

The committee agreed that the proposed glazed garden room at Grove Farm in Otterburn would be too big and have a detrimental impact upon the Grade II listed building.

Otterburn Parish Council had informed the Authority that the village fully supported the application and considered that the proposed garden room would be a delightful addition to the house, in keeping with and sensitive to the property, its history and its garden.

Cllr Roger Harrison-Topham also believed that the conservatory was well designed. He said: “It fits in very nicely with the newer extension and provides a missing element of symmetry to my mind.”

When another committee member described the proposed conservatory as being far too big, another asked who was going to see it.

The Authority’s member champion for cultural heritage, Mrs Martin, agreed with the planning officer that it would be inappropriate in scale and form, and would detract from the character of the original 17th century farmhouse and its 18th century extension.

She pointed out that the planning officer had advised the applicants, Andrew and Annabel Haggas, that a smaller extension to the side of the property would be more acceptable.

Mrs Martin wondered about the future of the four yew trees in the garden if the conservatory was built. One of the yew trees is over 300-years-old.

She was also concerned that the proposed access to the cellar could lead to the loss of potentially important historic features. The cellar is thought to be the oldest part of the house.

Reeth – December

The committee gave approval for The Little Barn, the annex to Bank House in Silver Street, Reeth, to become a separate holiday let or local occupancy dwelling.

Sedbergh – February

Sedbergh will gain three local occupancy dwellings and one commercial unit in the Main Street.

Ian McPherson, who is a Sedbergh parish councillor, said: “This is good news for Sedbergh. There are no local objections and it is supported by the parish council.

“It brings the advantage of providing employment opportunities on the site which the existing building does not provide at the moment. And it very effectively tidies up what is at the moment a very messy site – indeed an eyesore.”

At present the site is used for storing building materials and equipment and no-one is directly employed there. The proposed two-storey commercial building with living accommodation above it will front onto Main Street. The workshop on the site will be converted into a two-bedroom dwelling and another local occupancy house will be built.

The site has been identified as an area of high archaeological importance and the open yard there has existed since the 1850s. The planning department will seek to ensure that the courtyard and other historical features will be protected and that an archaeological evaluation will be carried out.

Sedbergh – February

An application to build a two bedroom house in a builder’s yard at Millthrop, Sedbergh, was refused by the committee.

Sedbergh parish council had supported the application, but as a member of the YDNPA, Sedbergh parish councillor Ian McPherson explained that he could not do so as that would be contrary to five of the Authority’s planning policies.

The planning officer reported that the builder’s yard behind The Spedding was outside the development boundary of Millthrop and the proposed building would have an impact not only upon trees on the site but also on a listed building. He told the committee that the proposal would result in the loss of existing employment land and would undermine the viability of the adjoining builder’s workshop and storage business run by the applicant’s brother.

Cllr Blackie commented that employment sites in the National Park were likely to become an endangered species and the policy to protect them should be maintained.

In OctoberPermission was granted for a builder’s workshop and store at Millthrop to be converted into a live work unit. The application was partly retrospective.

The committee agreed that this would be an acceptable way to provide accommodation without losing an employment site.

Sedbergh –  April

The new chairman of the planning committee,Cllr Caroline Thornton-Berry, described the proposed re-development of Kings Yard in Sedbergh as very exciting.

The committee agreed that it should support what Cllr Blackie described as a wonderful scheme which would help to rejuvenate Sedbergh. Approval was given to demolish the existing buildings and replace them with five local occupancy houses and a two-storey commercial building.

Ian McPherson, who declared a personal interest as he lives near Kings Yard, reported that the parish council fully supported the application and there had been no significant local objections.

“In fact there has been a lot of support because the site at the moment is a terrible shambles. Almost anything would be an improvement,” he said.

He added that the agent had made a great deal of effort to consult with local people, the parish council and the planning officers. The disused workshop and garage buildings were described by the Economic Development Team at South Lakeland District Council as being not fit for purpose and did not provide a quality environment to attract jobs.

The owner, Richard Mathers, had fulfilled the YDNPA’s requirements by advertising the whole site from September 2014. This showed that there was no current demand for such employment use in that location and this meant that Mr Mathers could include housing in the re-development plan.

The new commercial building will provide units for six independent service-sector businesses. The committee agreed that the application could be considered in accordance with the emerging Yorkshire Dales Local Plan 2015-2030 which will allow for 100 per cent local occupancy housing with no affordable units.

Following a request by Sedbergh Community Swifts, swift bricks and boxes will be provided in the buildings. Andrew Colley asked if permeable surfaces for the car parking areas could be considered as well as the provision of solar panels.

Sedbergh – May

Sedbergh School can go ahead with the construction of a new multi-courts sports centre at Busk Lane in Sedbergh.

Several members of the committee emphasised the need for the work to go ahead as soon as possible. For this reason the committee refused requests from Ian McPherson, on behalf of the parish council, for the decision to be deferred or for a legal agreement concerning the car parking arrangements to be drawn up at this time. One may be considered later the legal officer said.

Sedbergh Parish Council objected to the application mainly on the basis of inadequate parking arrangements, with just seven spaces available for cars at the site and with no parking restrictions along Busk Lane which is the main route through the town for heavy vehicles. It had told the Authority: “The parking of cars and coaches on Busk Lane during sporting events is already causing obstruction of footways, difficulties for the free flow of traffic and damage to pavements and grass verges.”

The parish council asked for additional parking to be provided within the school estate, particularly for coaches, and for a robust car parking management plan.

Martin Smith, the school’s Estates Bursar, said: “The car parking issue is a sore point and something we are trying to get a better handle on,”

He explained that the school had arranged for marshals to enforce a car parking plan at the last big sports event.

Cllr Welch commented that the main problem was that people were lazy and didn’t want to walk far from where they had parked.

Mr Smith explained that the school was in an extremely competitive market and needed such a modern facility especially as, in the North of England, there could be extreme weather. The school, he said, not only provided employment but supported many local traders.

Peter Charlesworth stated: “This is quite clearly a well-designed building which fits well into the landscape. To say that we should refuse it because they haven’t got a big enough car park is, I think, quite misguided – because to make a big car park would be detrimental to the landscape. The management plan for the car parking has to be enforced.”

Mr Graham said that the parish council would be consulted on the car parking management plan.

Both Mr Charlesworth and Jocelyn Manners-Armstrong stressed that the new sports centre should also be available to local people.

The single storey stone pavilion at Busk Lane will be demolished to make way for the new centre which will have courts for badminton, basketball, netball and volleyball plus cricket nets and seating for 488 spectators. There will also be changing rooms, an office, two multi-purpose studios and a hospitality suite.

Sedbergh – June

The re-modelling of Ingmire Caravan Park  at Marthwaite, Sedbergh, would make the site much more attractive the committee was told.

The applicant’s agent, Jeremy Lambe, said this could reverse the trend of  decreasing numbers of touring caravans at the site.  All the touring caravan will now be located near the entrance rather than being scattered throughout the site.

There will be three fewer touring caravan pitches but the planning officer said this would not affect the overall provision for these in that area.

Ian McFarlane reported that Sedbergh Parish Council welcomed the provision of improved facilities but did want a condition imposed that would ensure that all static “units” would be for holiday purposes only. It also wanted the assurance that the touring pitches were genuinely available for short term use. Mr Graham said such conditions could be included.

At present the site has 12 holiday caravans and 18 touring pitches. The committee approved the plan to alter this to 15 holiday caravans or lodges, 13 touring caravan pitches and two camping pods. The Nissen hut and two toilet blocks will be replaced with a new washing facility together with landscaping.

Sedbergh Parish Council and Cllr Blackie would have liked to have seen pitches provided for tents. Mr Graham pointed out that, at present, there weren’t  any tent pitches at the site and the provision of camping pods did increase the types of holiday accommodation on offer.

Mr Lambe said that campers could use the grassed areas among the trees.

Skyreholme – July

There was another case of “A Call for Justice” – this time by Simon and Sue Newbould who live at Skyreholme.  This, as Cllr  Harrison-Topham reminded the committee, recalled the “Wild West” days of planning in the Yorkshire Dales National Park when there were glaring inconsistencies concerning the imposition of local occupancy legal agreements.

During the discussion about the informal request to lift the S106 local occupancy agreement on Croft House at Skyreholme  Cllr Harrison-Topham said he had previously characterised the period between 1985 and 1990 as being rather like Wild West country. “An awful lot of subjective judgements were made,” he commented.

In 1985 permission was granted by the planning committee for the construction of Bracken House in Skyreholme without imposing any local occupancy agreement.

A planning officer stated at this month’s meeting (July 2016) that there was no detailed record as to why that was done as in 1985 officers had again recommended refusal. Two other applications for the same site had already been refused, with both of those decisions being upheld at appeal.

In 1990 permission was granted for the construction of Croft House subject to a local occupancy agreement. This was done under an Interim Housing policy which was subsequently not accepted by the government.

The owners of Croft House, Simon and Sue Newbould, have now asked for the legal agreement to be lifted as there had been inconsistency in planning decisions. Their agent, Andrew Moss, told the committee that both Bracken House and Croft House had buildings on three sides of them. “There is a clear inconsistency in relation to the approach to Bracken House and my clients’,” he said. He reminded the committee that in May 2013 it had lifted a local occupancy agreement on Top O’T’Hill at Feizor due to inconsistency in decision making in 1990.

Cllr Heseltine said that the Interim Housing Policy was the first attempt to provide local occupancy housing in the Dales. He mused that the committee should accept the planning officer’s recommendation that Mr and Mrs Newbould should seek to modify the legal agreement to allow the more flexible local occupancy criteria set out in the Authority’s emerging Local Plan.

The officer stated that the removal of the legal agreement would undermine the basis for granting planning permission which had been to meet an established local need.

Committee member Ian McPherson asked that a decision should be deferred as the legal background was quite complicated. “I don’t think we have had sufficient legal advice,” he commented. The majority of the committee agreed with him.

Skyreholme – Croft House – August

Simon and Sue Newbould were deeply disappointed when the committee, after a very short discussion, decided not to lift the local occupancy agreement on Croft House in Skyreholme. They were told instead to apply for it to be amended.

Ian McPherson argued that the committee should accept the recommendation of the Authority’s senior legal officer, Claire Bevan, that such local occupancy restrictions were still relevant and served a useful purpose.

If such an agreement had not been offered to the Newboulds in 1990 it was likely, he said, that more onerous conditions would have been imposed on a new build within what was defined as the “open countryside”. He quoted the legal officer’s report that such agreements remained of value in controlling housing development in the National Park and ensured the provision of housing to meet the specific socio-economic needs of the area. These were, he said, still an important aspect of the Authority’s housing policy.

Cllr Blackie described the planning policy in the National Park between 1980 and 1997 as being very unstructured with decisions being made “on the hoof”. “It was an absolute dog’s breakfast,” he commented. He pointed out that in 1991 the Government instructed the Authority to call a halt to its short-lived Interim Housing Policy (IHP). It was in accordance with this that the local occupancy agreement for Croft House was made.

That policy, he said, had led to some glaring inconsistencies. The Authority had acknowledged some of them and he believed it should do so concerning Croft House.

Mr Graham responded that the Authority had been consistent in restricting development in the open countryside and imposing local occupancy agreements.

On the issue of inconsistency and unfairness the legal officer stated:“The Authority has previously acknowledged in relation to the case at Holme Barn and Hawksnest, Hawkswick that there has been an element of unfairness in the use of S106 Agreements having regard to the inconsistencies in applying evolving housing policies at that time. This was an uncertain period, during which the IHP was eventually set aside, and until the adoption of the 1996 local plan, there was a clear inconsistency between some dwellings in the wider National Park which were approved under the IHP and restricted to local occupancy and others granted consent after the IHP was discredited and before the adoption of the 1996 local plan which were not.”

She maintained that the basis of making decisions was fair regarding the planning permissions for two houses in Skyreholme between 1985 and 1990. She said that the key difference was that “the planning committee determined not to impose an occupancy restriction on what is now Bracken House [in 1985]. There is no record of the considerations taken into account by planning committee and it would be mere speculation to suggest what they may or may not have been.”

SkyreholmeSimon’s Seat – August

The government has now introduced a regulation which will mean that many barn conversions will require their own water supply.

In response to a question from Cllr Blackie Mr Graham explained that bore holes would have to be sunk and the water assessed for its quality. “I would agree that would be another burden on the applicants but we have to satisfy ourselves that there will be an adequate water supply,” he added.

Local council environmental health units expect to see a water assessment before giving approval for any barn conversion. Such an expensive demand would rack up the cost of a barn conversion before an applicant knew if planning permission would be granted, Cllr Blackie said.

The planning committee gave approval for a barn at Simon’s Seat Farm, Skyreholme, to be converted into a three-bedroom house so long as a local occupancy legal agreement was signed. A chicken hut by the roadside will be replaced with a garage and the modern farm buildings will be removed.

Appletreewick Parish Council was concerned about the impact of such barn conversions on the already limited local water supply in Skyreholme. The owners of the barn at Simon’s Seat had confirmed that there was already a bore hole there.

Ian McPherson asked if provision could be made for birds such as swifts, as well as for bats.

Stainforth – May It looks as if the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority is now celebrating approving retrospective planning applications!

Immediately after the planning committee meeting a press release was issued announcing that the Knight Stainforth Hall caravan and camping park in Ribblesdale was set for a facelift after a retrospective application to convert agricultural buildings into a new restaurant and other facilities was approved.

But according to the restaurant’s own Facebook page it opened on 16 May 2015.

Mrs  Martin asked how the buildings could have been rebuilt and converted without planning permission and how further cases could be prevented in the future. In response Mr Graham said: “Sometimes these things happen.”

Cllr Heseltine commented: “I am just surprised that such a large development in that location wasn’t brought to the attention of any of our officers.”

And Cllr Harrison-Topham, pointed out the need for the planning department to liaise with building control. He said that a normal local authority had building control and planning departments whereas the National Park didn’t.

The latest application was for the part re-building and conversion of a traditional barn and a range of modern farm buildings so that they could be used for the restaurant, toilets, offices and store rooms as well as a new caravan site reception cum shop and a games room. Solar panels have also been installed.

An application for the conversion of the buildings was approved in August 2012 but when work commenced in February 2013 the applicants found that some original walls were unstable. The planning officer reported that, in consultation with building control and the building contractor, it was decided to rebuild these. This constituted re-construction and was not covered by the original application, one of the criteria for which was that substantial rebuilding was not required.

He stated: “The carrying out of works to demolish and reconstruct significant portions of the traditional buildings that previously existed at the site has been undertaken without any recording of their interest or features, and their loss is to the detriment of the cultural heritage of the National Park.” He added that the development did reflect the traditional character of the buildings by using reclaimed materials and retaining some of the original walls.

Stirton  – June– When the plastic sheeting covering a building at Stirton was removed it was revealed that the conversion of the traditional barn had not gone according to the approved plans.

Stirton-with-Thorlby Parish Meeting reported that the roof had been raised, some quoins had been removed, and at least one window needed re-positioning.  These and other changes had led to the Authority considering enforcement action.

The committee agreed with the planning officer that the east gable window should be re-positioned within three months. This, the planning officer said, would reinstate the former building line and quoins.

Following discussions with the planning officer the applicant had amended the retrospective application. The planning officer reported: “The amended proposal also includes a more gradual grading of land levels across the site from north to south. This would remove a recently formed terrace created in part by excavated soil and would mean there is a more continuous gradient that relates to off-site land levels to the north. The reinstatement of the earlier ground level would restore some of the building’s earlier character.”

Stirton with Thorlby – October

The committee agreed that the 400-years-old Tithe Barn at Stirton can be converted into either a local-occupancy dwelling or a holiday let.

The Trustees of Roman Catholic Purposes had  been given permission in 2014 to convert this Grade II listed building for office use. Its latest application is in line with the Authority’s emerging Local Plan which allows for traditional roadside barns to be converted for local housing or holiday lets subject to legal agreements.

During the debate there were two queries: if the access to a neighbouring field would be protected; and if an archaeological watching brief would not only be kept on the barn during conversion but also on  the area around it.

Cllr Parsons explained that tithe barns always had other buildings around them. This meant there could be important archaeological remains under the hard standing used for car parking. He was assured that the archaeological watching brief would extend outside to the barn.

The planning officer reported that although no internal fixtures or fittings now remain in the barn the building still had features of historic significance. The members accepted his argument that there would be clear conservation benefits from allowing it to be converted.

Stirton with Thorlby Parish Meeting had also been concerned about the access to adjoining fields. The planning officer stated: “Although this is a civil issue, the application has been amended to ensure that the existing agricultural access can be maintained.”

He added that the plans included the provision of a nesting box for barn owls.

Update – In August 2017 a planning officer, under delegated authority, gave permission for the Tithe Barn to be converted into offices. The parish council had generally approved of the application but did ask that the roof timbers should be protected.

Stirton-with-Thorlby – December

The committee agreed that the planning officers could grant planning permission for High Barn in Sour Lane, Stirton-with-Thorlby, to be converted into a three-bedroom local occupancy dwelling and a one-bedroom holiday let once amended plans have been received.

An archaeological assessment had shown that the roof timbers in the stone barn had been reclaimed from a much earlier cruck framed timber building. The planning officer has, therefore, requested that the amended plans should include the retention and visibility of the roof structure.

Swaledale – November :  Richmond Motor Club Three Day Trial

The Richmond Motor Club had £6,000 less to give to local charities following this year’s Scott Trial due to the cost of fulfilling the new conditions imposed by the YDNPA, Cllr Blackie told the planning committee.

The same conditions will now be imposed upon the Reeth Three Day Trial held by the Richmond Motor Club in July each year.

Cllr Blackie said: “This is a very important trial for the economy of the Upper Dales and particularly for young people. The archaeological and ecological units have gone rather over the top in demanding baseline information well beyond what was ever demanded before.”

Cllr Parsons agreed with him and stated: “You are expecting the [club members] to have a huge area of specialist knowledge. Expecting them to identify archaeologically sensitive sites when we can’t identify them ourselves is expecting a little bit too much.

“You are expecting 20 to 30 people to carry out what is a fairly professional survey and also to have a huge understanding of bio-diversity.”

Mr Graham, responded: “In terms of how the trial is managed, how the riders and spectators are managed, and what mitigation measures will be put in place to prevent damage to the environment – [that] is the same as with the Scott Trial. So there is no need to duplicate the work. I don’t envisage that there will be a significant amount of extra work.”

The planning officer told the committee that whilst the Authority did accept that the Three Day Trial was a long-established, nationally recognised event that contributed significantly to the local economy, it was held over Arkengarthdale, Gunnerside and Reeth Moors where there were special sites of conservation and scientific interest as well as a number of unscheduled monuments.

Ian McPherson stated that if the conditions, which were aimed at limiting and repairing any damage to the environment, were not imposed he could not vote for the Club to continue staging the Three Day Trial.

“This is a National Park and the overriding purpose of the National Park is to conserve and protect the environment. I think that there is adequate evidence to show that, because of the different areas and aspects of the natural environment involved, that protection is necessary,” he said.

Swaledale – November

Permission was granted for ten camping pods to be placed between the two rows of trees which separate the 30 touring caravan pitches from the rest of Swaleview Caravan Site near Reeth.

Mr Graham assured Cllr Blackie, that the conditions on the approval were sufficient to ensure that the camping pods could not, at some time, be replaced with caravans.

Approval of the camping pods is in line with the Authority’s emerging Local Plan which aims to expand and diversify the supply of more modern forms of “camping” accommodation within the National Park.

The owners had agreed to plant more trees at the entrance to the site. Cllr Parsons asked that even more should be planted so that the site was not so visible from the Reeth Road as visitors entered the National Park.

Thorpe – November and December

At the November meeting the committee agreed with the planning officer that the proposed extension to Mitchell House was not in keeping with the existing building.

An amended application to convert the agricultural workshop  into a two-bedroom holiday let was approved at the December meeting. The extension was not included in the amended plans.

Threshfield – July

The committee agreed that a compromise was needed to find a way to turn Toft House in Threshfield into a comfortable, modern farmhouse, without losing even more of its original 17th century features.

The chairman of the committee, Cllr Thornton-Berry, commented: “I think we are all in sympathy with what needs to be done and we want to help local people as much as we can. But our job is to maintain the historic heritage.”

Toft House was described as an important heritage asset and a fine example of a vernacular Dales farm house. All the proposed alterations would be at the rear of the farmhouse but Cllr Thornton-Berry pointed out that it was not a material consideration that they wouldn’t be seen.

On the side where there are modern windows and a door it is proposed to construct a two-storey extension to provide an additional bedroom and also a large kitchen cum farm office. On the other side it is proposed to move a 17th window to make room for a door into a new cloakroom where outdoor farming clothing could be removed. Another window would be enlarged to provide more light to a staircase.

The senior listed building officer had objected to the extension but at a site meeting the planning officer accepted the principle of its construction.

At the planning meeting the Authority’s member champion for cultural heritage, Julie Martin, stated that the key issue was to retain the 17th century windows. It was agreed, therefore, that instead of accepting the planning officer’s recommendation to refuse the application, a decision should be deferred so that a compromise could be found.

A compromise agreement was approved by the committee at the August meeting.

The majority voted to approve amended plans which included the retention of the original stairway window and the scullery window, but allowed the new garage to include a cloakroom.

Weasdale – November

A barn at Lane Farm in Weasdale which dates back to 1767 can now be converted into a two-bedroom holiday let and so ensure its long term.

Weasdale became part of the Yorkshire Dales National Park on August 1, and so planning decisions are now made by the YDNPA and not Eden District Council.

Mr Graham told the committee that, as the application was contrary to Eden District Council’s current policies, the Authority’s planning department evaluated it according to the objectives for sustainable development outlined in the National Planning Policy Framework.

“It is a very sensitive conversion,” he said. “We feel that it is right for holiday accommodation rather than residential because of the quality of the building.”

He explained that this less intensive use of the building would mean fewer changes and less likelihood of affecting historically important features.

Cllr Kendal had been to see the barn and told the committee: “I was quite knocked over by the beauty of it and I feel it would be criminal not to bring it into use.”

West Witton – July

Permission was also granted for a traditional barn at Home Farm in West Witton to be converted into a local occupancy three-bedroom home.

Winterburn – November

There were gasps of admiration when a photograph of the magnificent Friars Head – a late Tudor gentry house – was shown. The late 19th century single storey outbuilding is also historically and architecturally significant.

The owners had applied for an outbuilding to be converted for short term lets or for local occupancy directly related to the farm.

The planning officer reported: “The proposal provides an opportunity for a new use for the building that should ensure its future survival without significant alteration to its external appearances or the loss of its most important features.”

This was accepted as being in accordance with the emerging Local Plan concerning the conversion of traditional buildings.

ARC News Service

Pip Land attends on the YDNPA meetings on a voluntary basis for the ARC News Service to ensure that reports are available to the public. No newspaper reporters attend these meetings and so the ARC News Service is the only independent source of information concerning those meetings. Her ARC News Service reports are sent, free of charge, to local newspapers and websites.  If you would like to support this service do join the Association of Rural Communities.

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