ARC News Service reports on the meeting of the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority’s ( YDNPA ) planning committee on May 4 2021 when parking barriers at a car park at Hartlington near Burnsall and the extension of the Spar shop at Sedbergh were discussed.
Hartlington – By just two votes the planning committee decided that two camera-operated automatic parking barriers screened by trees and bushes can be erected at the entrance to a field at Wharfe House Farm, Hartlington.
Michael Daggett, representing the farm’s car park business, told the committee that his family had farmed at Wharfe House for 121 years and had operated a car park there for three generations.
Since 1952, he said, it had been a valued community site which had supported outdoor sports events since its inception. “The amount of traffic we are now experiencing warrants a vastly upgraded entry [and exit] system. It will have the least amount of visual impact, significantly improve highway safety and management.”
Supporting his application, Craven District councillor Richard Foster told the committee that last year, during the Covid lockdown, the car park at Burnsall had been closed. This had led to serious problems in the village as even the emergency services could not get through the village due to the number of cars parked along the roads.
He was pleased that a different group of people had been attracted to the National Park during the lockdown and added that there were often hundreds of cars in the Wharfe House Farm car park. He commented: “They come, they enjoy themselves, and they get out in the countryside often from urban environments. They love it. There will be a lot more staycations this year – a lot more people will want to use the facility and I think what is proposed is very minimalistic. The barrier area will look a bit like a sheep fold.”
He believed that the barriers would provide a better method of traffic management and stop the road being blocked by cars waiting to access the car park. Both Hartlington and Burnsall Parish Meetings supported the application and the clerk to the latter wrote: “The main reason is that it will ease traffic problems over the bridge and at the junction in front of the Red Lion. At the moment traffic backs up as car [drivers] are paying on the way in. This would allow cars to move on to the car park faster and also not block the road for through traffic.”
The planning officer, however, had recommended that the application should be refused. She stated: “This kind of development is typical of an urban car park dealing with high volumes of traffic, not an informal car park that only has a legal right to be there for 28 days a year. Whilst the barriers may be removable, the cabinets and camera would remain, and would be incongruous features in this highly sensitive landscape.
“The high visual quality of the landscape around Burnsall and the fact that it is unspoilt by unsightly modern development is one of the ‘special qualities’ of the National Park and the reason why so many people visit the area. Although this proposal is small in scale it is development of this nature which has a negative impact that erodes the visual quality and farmed landscape character of the area.” She illustrated this by showing photographs she had taken that morning.
North Yorkshire County councillor Robert Heseltine pointed out that the weather forecast had been very bad for that Tuesday morning so it was not surprising there had been so little traffic. He said that was an exceptional day. He added that the car park was not only a necessary part of the farm’s diversification but also satisfied a crucial need for the health and wellbeing of the nation.
He also called for consistency in planning, comparing the car park with the large ones at Bolton Abbey, Bolton Priory and Cavendish riverside. “Surely what’s good enough for [them] should be good for Burnsall. I can see no substantial intrusion into the landscape with this proposal.”
Other members supported the installation of eight solar panels on the toilet block to provide power for car parking facilities and the provision of ticket machines, but not the barriers. Neil Swain commented: “I have no issue with the car park. It’s an important and necessary facility but what it doesn’t need is two rather ugly and modern barriers in the middle of an entrance way. They will stand out like a sore thumb [and] the planting scheme is out of place in that particular part of the landscape.”
The planning officer told the committee that the car park, which is generally used from Easter until the end of summer, had never had planning permission, nor had there been an application for a lawful development certificate. Under permitted development rights temporary use of the land should be no more than 28 days, she said.
With eight members voting to approve the application and six against, the head of development management, Richard Graham, commented that, although he disagreed with the decision, acceptable reasons had been given and so it would not be referred back to next month’s meeting. The reasons put forward were that the development would not have a negative impact on the landscape, and the barriers would help traffic management.
Sedbergh – Members unanimously agreed to approve an application to erect a single storey rear extension at the Spar shop in Sedbergh.
Sedbergh Parish Council had objected because the extension will enable the shop to have its own butchery. This, the parish council stated, would have a negative impact upon the vitality and viability of other businesses within the town’s High Street.
The planning officer, however, disagreed. He and others also pointed out that competition with another butcher was not a material consideration.
The agent for Spar, Abigail Kos, told the meeting: “The application relates to a small single storey rear extension to accommodate a preparation area for a new butcher’s counter. The overall retail sales area of the shop will not increase but the shop floor will be reconfigured to accommodate the butcher’s counter.” She commented that the butcher’s shop in Sedbergh had a very high reputation, selling quality meat from local farms.
Member Ian McPherson, who is a Sedbergh Parish Council warned that if the application was refused it would be approved at appeal.