An ARC News Service report on the meeting of the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority‘s (YDNPA) planning committee on Tuesday January 11 when the applications discussed were: a proposed glamping site at Askrigg; and alterations at The Stables at Marske.
The members of the public (including myself) allowed to attend either part or all of the planning committee meeting complained about the acoustics in Grassington Devonshire Institute. The situation was made worse on January 11 because all the members had to wear masks even when they were speaking. But regularly those of us sitting at the back and furthest away from the amplifiers have found we could not clearly hear someone who was only two metres away from us.
Almost all of the members voted to refuse an application by Richard Alderson to have three glamping cabins, two with hot tubs, on a field by his house on the south-eastern side of Askrigg.
Mr Alderson told the committee that he had lived and worked in the National Park area all his life but his work had dried up due to the pandemic. “We realised we needed another stream of income to secure our long-term stability,” he said. He had initially considered having a camp site but this would have probably meant up to six cars being parked there at any one time.
He said he had been advised to consider luxury low-key cabins which would be environmentally friendly. The income from these, he said, would not only help them but enable his family with their children to move back into the area later. He added that this would “help to stop Askrigg becoming a ghost town”. He told the committee that the glamping site would also sustain local businesses and commented: “We believed we had identified a niche opportunity.”
He pointed out that there had been no objections from the wildlife conservation officer. The YDNPA’s building conservation officer had no specific objections but had requested that consideration be given to the impact of new development upon the character of the conservation area.
The Highway Authority had, however, recommended that the application should be refused as the public highway leading to the site was, it stated, insufficient in width to accommodate the increase in traffic. Access would be via Silver Street and the unmade Cringley Lane.
The planning officer reported: “Silver Street is narrow and single width with houses and high garden walls to either side. This leaves nowhere for on-coming vehicles to pull off the road to pass each other.
“Silver Street emerges onto the main road at the centre of Askrigg. The parish council and residents report that it is dangerous due to the lack of visibility.”
This was emphasised by David Blake, a retired professor of music, who, after 39 years of living in Askrigg, had moved with his wife to Cringley House four years ago. He said he was speaking on behalf of his neighbours, several of whom attended the meeting.
They were concerned, he reported, that they had not been informed that the application was on the agenda for the last meeting of Askrigg and Low Abbotside Parish Council and so they had not attended it.
Mr Blake said the disturbance when work was being carried out on site was likely to be extreme and there would be continued disturbance to residents once the glamping cabins were in use. In addition, they believed the road was not suitable for heavy works traffic, and the additional vehicular use could make it difficult for emergency vehicles to gain access.
“This endeavour is entirely out of keeping with the environment [and]the landscape,” he said.
When recommending refusal the planning officer listed not only the highway issues but also that the proposed timber cabins would harm the appearance and the character of Askrigg Conservation Area and the surrounding landscape; and would cause overlooking, noise and disturbance that would be detrimental to the amenity of those living nearby.
Committee member Allen Kirkbride (from Askrigg) told the committee that the application had caused a lot of debate in the village. He summed up the arguments for and against the application before stating that he would abstain from voting.
A planning officer visited The Stables at Marske last year to check on concerns raised by Marske and New Forest Parish Council which included the possibility of the holiday accommodation being used as a “party house”.
His presentation at the planning committee was barely audible but he was heard to say that after monitoring the situation there was no evidence of The Stables being used as a party house.
Oil tanks had, however, been installed to the rear of the Grade II listed former stable block and a wall increased in height so as to screen them without planning permission.
The committee agreed that the oil tanks were necessary for the heating systems and should remain. They also agreed with the planning officer that the section of wall which had been altered looked rough and unfinished, and was possibly unsafe. It should, therefore, be repaired to standard agreed by the planning authority.
The application by the Heritage Property Group (Marsk) Ltd also included alterations to the car parking layout so as to increase the number of spaces from 17 to 34.
In his report the planning officer stated that there had been no increase in the number of accommodation units and added: “The proposed increase in car parking spaces would litter the grounds of the listed building with parked cars when in full use, which would be substantially harmful to the setting of the building and amount to over-development of the site.” He believed the increase could lead to traffic conflict on holiday change-over days.
The applicant had altered the application after being advised to have 20 car spaces which would be two car spaces per unit.
Like the planning officer, members Kirkbride and Richmondshire District councillor John Amsden emphasised the need to ensure that a local farmer could still access a private farm track. For this reason the proposed parking spaces close to that access were removed from the plans.
Richmondshire District councillor Richard Good said the parish council was particularly concerned about parking on the site and the construction of the wall. He told the committee that there was a serious parking problem in Marske especially when walkers left their cars there.