February to November 2021

ARC News Service reports on the discussions of the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority’s  ( YDNPA ) planning committee on:  February 9 –  the  5G test-bed mast at West Scrafton; new housing development at Bainbridge; and an application regarding Marske Hall; March 23  – an application by DSMC UK for a barn conversion and a new building near Linton,  a barn conversion at Appersett , new houses at  West Witton,  and  Falls Country Park at Ingleton;  May 4 – parking barriers at a car park at Hartlington  near Burnsall and the extension of the Spar shop at Sedbergh;  June 15 – the further extraction of aggregate from Dry Rigg Quarry at Horton in Ribblesdale and a large  housing development at Sedbergh;  September 7 –  a shepherd’s hut at Starbotton; change of use of an agricultural building at Stirton;  and a laundry at Sedbergh;  October 19 – use of a bridleway to transport timber from near Clapham through Austwick, a farmer’s request for accessible accommodation at a farm at Flasby, the change of use of the former school building in Arkengarthdale, and an enforcement notice for a small laundry at Sedbergh; November 30 –  a shed to house sheep at Cogden Hall farm near Grinton, two holiday-let pods at Sedbergh; the provision of purpose-built accommodation at a farm at Flasby; and enforcement action regarding the removal of a telecommunication mast at Hartlington;

In June and September  I was unable to attend the meetings and the recordings made by the YDNPA were poor, due to the need for social distancing during the Covid pandemic. The reports from those months are not, therefore, as detailed as I usually try to provide.

I report on these meetings on a voluntary basis as part of the commitment of the Association of Rural Communities to local democracy.

February 2021

Telecommunications mast (5G test-bed) at West Scrafton

Wensleydale School students living in Coverdale are having to sit in cars parked on top of a hill to get digital connection so they can participate in lessons during lockdown, North Yorkshire County councillor Karin Sedgwick told the planning committee.

She reported that she had been told there wasn’t much point in giving students iPads if there was no broadband or mobile phone connection. Nor could doctors carry out consultations or send prescriptions online due to the lack of connectivity in Coverdale. And that was why she fully supported MANY’s application to install a mast at a farm near West Scrafton as part of the 5G trial programme.

She believed that during the public consultation the questions and issues regarding 5G had been answered and said: “Digital connectivity isn’t a luxury. It’s an absolute necessity these days.”

Matt O’Neill, the county council’s lead responsible officer for MANY (Mobile Access North Yorkshire) explained that parts of Coverdale did not even have basic 2G connectivity which was launched in 1991. “During the same period since 2G was launched we have seen the outward migration of our  young people from the dales. Rural communities and this area in particular have missed out for over 30 years on mobile coverage and broadband,” he said.

The committee unanimously agreed to approve the application by Quickline Communications to install a 15m high monopole with mobile communications antenna and equipment cabinet at West Scrafton. This, the planning officer said, was one of three masts in the MANY project supported by North Yorkshire County Council which were required to provide connectivity especially to ‘not spots’ in the Coverdale area.

About making the decision, parish councillor member Ian McPherson commented: “This is like stepping into a lion’s den. I am aware that this has been extremely controversial and that there are very strong feelings … on both sides.

“I have always been very wary about mobile phone masts not only because of their impact on the environment but also because the possible health problems that they could give rise to. But what we are essentially looking at here is how we address the issue of very clear ‘not spots’ in Coverdale… Not being able to get mobile coverage could be a matter of life or death. It is pretty clear that this [mast] will blend in well.

“I did read Professor David Hill’s letter because I place a great deal of credence on what he might say. But I’m afraid I have to say that I don’t think it fully addresses the legal side or a material planning consideration in this particular case. Although there are genuine local objections … I do consider that the local need for broadband and mobile coverage actually overrides these questions.”

Like the planning officer  he quoted the government’s guidance in the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF): “Local planning authorities must determine applications on planning grounds only. They should not seek to prevent competition between different operators, question the need for an electronic communications system, or set health safeguards different from the International Commission guidelines for public exposure.”

He said: “The applicants have provided a declaration confirming that the proposed installation complies with the International Commission for Non-Ionising Radiation Protection (ICNRP) guidelines for exposure of the public to radio frequency and electromagnetic fields. Nevertheless, objectors say that certain scientific studies are critical of ICNIRP safe exposure guidelines and consider that the development will have an adverse impact on the health of the public, wildlife and the environment and that a precautionary principle should be applied. The objectors refer to various scientific studies but none that can be applied directly to this site.”

Cllr McPherson stated: “I don’t think we have any legal position to be able to object on [health] grounds.  It doesn’t seem we have any legal right to provide a different view from that of the International Commission.”

Speaking on behalf of objectors Harriet Corner told the committee that although the planning officer’s report stated that the area selected for the 5G trial programme [covering West Witton, Middleham and Coverdale] had  limited or no coverage, 90 per cent of the premises did already have access to superfast broadband.  She quoted government policy that the number of radio and electronic communication masts should be kept to a minimum whereas, she said, the 5G programme would lead to a proliferation of them.

She argued that EE intended to provide mobile coverage from the mast at Gildersbeck and that superfast broadband now reached as far as Horsehouse in upper Coverdale.  “MANY never told its consultees that there were better alternatives. MANY project manager Mr Michael Grayson has given written evidence that the [5G] project will not go ahead without the majority support of the community. This has not been demonstrated. All that has been shown so far is support for connectivity.”

The planning officer said that there  had been 63 objections and 41 in support of the new mast.  West Scrafton Parish Meeting he said had reported that seven had objected to the project, whilst 35 had supported it because of the importance of improved mobile phone coverage both for domestic use and also personal safety when out and about.  It added: “Whilst it was acknowledged that the fibre broadband is excellent in the village the lack of a mobile signal has been a constant complaint for many years.”

Richmondshire District councillor John Amsden stated in support of the mast application: “I have been speaking to quite a few farmers in Coverdale. As you know agriculture is a very dangerous occupation. If anybody has an accident or heart condition or anything like that and they need an ambulance they have no connection whatsoever.”


Even though three local Members told the committee that the construction of five houses near the Rose and Crown at Bainbridge would be in danger of flooding and would not provide affordable homes that local people wanted the majority voted to approve the development.

Parish council member Allen Kirkbride told the committee: “Nearly the whole of the village of Bainbridge [say] this is the wrong development in the wrong place and it is not affordable to the vast majority of people. The whole field is likely to flood. I’ve known it all my life and basically it has been a bog for most of the time.

“The access has not been approved by Highways. The application fails to preserve and enhance the parish conservation area. The shared housing accommodation will not work in a rural area.”

Bainbridge Parish Council had told the committee that it was not only concerned about flooding but also that  shared ownership was not appealing to local people and had not proved successful in alleviating the housing crisis. “Local people need local properties that are available for them to buy at truly affordable prices.”

It  had supported an application in 2018 through which local people could have bought the houses at a 30 per cent discount. But the Holmbrae 2016 Residents Group (Holmbrae is some of the new housing behind the Rose and Crown) said it would lodge a Judicial Review challenge as it questioned whether the houses would be affordable when taking into account local incomes.

In February 2018 Members still decided to approve the application. In February this year the planning officer reported that the site owner and applicant had then met with the Authority in January 2019 and the options were discussed in the light of the threat of legal challenge. One of those options was shared ownership managed by a Housing Association.

The planning officer continued: “This is a national government-backed scheme aimed primarily at first-time buyers, with the homeowner purchasing a defined share of between 25% and 80% of the dwelling, and the Housing Association retaining the remaining share with an affordable rent being paid on this remaining share. Homeowners would seek a mortgage for the share that they intend to purchase with a minimum deposit of 5%. Homeowners are able to purchase more shares later as and when they can afford them; this is known as ‘staircasing’. When homeowners wish to sell, the Housing Association has ‘first refusal’ on the property and also has the right to find a buyer.”

He said that if there was no buyer for the shared ownership a house could revert to affordable rent also in accordance to the local connection rule. This means, he explained, that the houses will be first offered to those in the parish of Bainbridge, then to those in neighbouring parishes, and finally anyone in the Yorkshire Dales National Park [2,179km841m2 ] will be eligible. After that anyone in Richmondshire could apply.

The planning officer stated: “Whilst this proposal is intermediate affordable housing that will not be affordable to those in housing need on the lowest incomes, assuming that all the units sell, it will still address a clear affordable housing need as well as a recent history of undersupply within this locality, the wider National Park and the Richmondshire District as a whole.”

Jim Munday, Member Champion for Development Management, said if the houses didn’t sell they would be offered on the basis of affordable rent. “Whichever way it goes we have affordable homes,” he said and added:

“The population of the national park is in decline and its changing. We need at least 55 new dwellings a year to stop a decline. Last year only 22 were completed. We need more homes.
Secondly we have a stated policy that throughout the national park there’s a place to live for younger working age households. To help halt the decline in numbers we need more affordable homes for local people. “

Allen Kirkbride remarked: “We are all in favour of new local housing for local people but we need them in the right places – the National Park wants to get the figures up and its pointless getting the figures up if the housing you build are in the wrong places which these are.”

Marske Hall

The over-development of Marske Hall and other buildings would cause permanent harm to the deeply rural and tranquil character of that part of Swaledale, a planning officer told the committee.

Richmondshire District councillor Kenneth Good also emphasised this, as had Marske and New Forest Parish Council.  And the committee voted unanimously to refuse the application to convert Marske Hall from 10 open market apartments to a 20 room aparthotel and the kennels and Sawmill into events venues.

Cllr Good said: “Marske is a very quiet and beautiful village. It has no commercial activity at all. I think the last pub closed over 120 years ago and, apart from the church, everything else is residential or agricultural.”

He agreed with the parish council which had stated: “The parish council would welcome development of Marske Hall … but developments cannot be at the detriment of the community of Marske and New Forest.”

The parish council and residents were particularly concerned about creating a wedding venue for up to 70 people in the Sawmill rather than converting it into two three bedroom dwellings or holiday let units for which permission was granted in 2016. The parish council also noted that no consideration had been given to include local housing development or long term residential lettings.

The planning officer said that the noise seven days a week from such a venue would be catastrophic because of the impact on the peace and tranquililty due to the comings and goings of guests and the use of amplified music which were part and parcel of the wedding use. She did not accept the opinion of the applicant, Mr I Morton, that the events venues were required to make the development viable.

She reported that the applicant had asked for a decision to be deferred to that amendments to the plans could be made. But, she said, these would include the retention of the Sawmill as a wedding venue and even a reduction in the hours of use would not be sufficient. She added: “The wedding venue is considered to be harmful in any form by the nature of the activities it brings with it.”

Her other concerns included the impact of creating car parking spaces within the picturesque garden as well as the under provision of spaces for cars which could only be remedied by removing trees. She said the applicant had offered to plant more trees but had not specified where.

The parish council reported that the access and egress to the site was considered to be hazardous as it was located on blind corners and the Highways Authority had also objected. The planning officer said there could be 147 people on the site each day excluding staff.

Historic England, like the Authority’s senior listed building officer, had raised concerns about the impact of the proposed work on the historic decorative detailing inside Marske Hall. The planning officer said that the 16th century hall, which was extensively remodelled and extended in 1730, was of historic and architectural  grandeur.

The Hall, the Sawmill and the kennels are Grade II listed buildings. The committee was told that the cumulative impact of the proposed work on the Sawmill would cause substantial harm to the significances of the listed building.’

A resident, Naomi Meredith, told the committee that all the objections by residents were not a case of opposing any development in their backyard but rather the over-development of the site. This would not only threaten the very things that local walkers and coast-to-coast walkers valued such as peace and tranquillity. wildlife and dark skies,  but also have a hugely adverse impact on the farmer whose access goes through the site, she said.

Cllr Good commented: “The farmer is extremely concerned because he would have to go up and down the track with people coming and going and there is concern that the noise could affect animals.

Another Richmondshire District councillor, Stuart Parsons, informed the committee that when the main road into Swaledale was closed for any reason the county council directed traffic along the narrow road through Marske. He had driven The Little White Bus along that alternative route – “It was an absolute nightmare. The big problem was if  you met a large agricultural vehicle,’ he said.

In March:


An application which included a “massive” portal framed building being constructed near Linton was considered so contrary to policy by the majority of the committee that it was refused.

Lancashire County Cllr Cosima Towneley commented: “The Local Plan is God in this case. I personally feel that this would have been a perfectly acceptable build considering what it would have brought to the area in long-term benefits. But I think I think sometimes landscape trumps the actual wellbeing of people in the park. I am disappointed that no alternative [sites] can be found.”

Charlie Bayston, managing director of DSMC UK told the committee that the diving, surveying and marine contracting business needed more space especially as planning officers were keen for them to relocate to a place where shipping containers could be undercover.  At present, the company is based in a converted barn at Threshfield and shipping containers had been stored beside it.

The company had applied to convert Catchall Barn to provide office accommodation and safe storage, and to erect a 36m by 25m building which would be  9.2m at its highest point so that it could house a number of shipping containers. To provide a biodiversity habitat it would have had a grassed curved roof, a large amount of landscaping and tree planting, plus  ground source heat pump and systems for rainwater harvesting and reed bed filtration for grey water.  Mr Bayston continued:

“We searched for four years before purchasing Catchall Barn following [planning] pre-advice. This included looking in Grassington, Threshfield, Kettlewell, Skipton, Silsden and Crosshills without success.’ He said they had checked to see if they could move to Threshfield Quarry but after four years of trying found that space could not be allocated.

“There are currently no other alternatives available to us and if this application is rejected we see no other option than to move the business out of North Yorkshire making [our] existing employees redundant.”

The planning officer, however, advised the committee that the new building would have a significantly harmful impact on the landscape. She said: “It is a wide open and uninterrupted landscape which affords long views up the valley towards Linton and any new development on this site would detract from that. The application is for a new business development on  a site not allocated for business, not adjacent to an existing village or settlement, nor related to any other development other than the small stone barn.”

This was supported by Natural England and Linton Parish Council which had submitted seven-page letter listing its objections.  Linton resident, Georgina Wilkins, told the committee that the proposed new building would be massive and, with the large amount of hard standing, would be a blight on the landscape and set a worrying precedent. “No grassed roof or planting can minimise the impact of such a proposal on the open valley to Linton,” she added.

After the vote the chairman, Julie Martin, told Mr Bayston that she hoped he had heard the committee’s great sadness at having to refuse the application. “In other circumstances we would be absolutely delighted to approve it but I am afraid we can’t do in this case,” she said.


Barn conversions within the Yorkshire Dales National Park should only for local occupancy and not short-term holiday lets, Askrigg  parish councillor Allen Kirkbride told the  planning committee.

Cllr Kirkbride, who is a parish council representative on the Authority, said: “The Yorkshire Dales National Park is just full of holiday cottages and somehow within the new Local Plan we have got to try and make these barn conversions for local people only.”

The chairman of the planning committee, Julie Martin, commented: “Yes, I think we are all aware it’s something we need to reconsider.”

The committee was considering an application to convert Tom’s Barn at the eastern end of Appersett for a local occupancy dwelling or a holiday let. Hawes and High Abbotside Parish Council had objected because it only supports barn conversions if they are for local occupancy as it believes there are  enough holiday lets in the area.

The planning officer informed the committee that the parish council’s objection was not sustainable.  He explained that approval had been given in July 2019 for the barn to be converted into a three-bedroom local occupancy dwelling or short-term holiday accommodation. The latest application was necessary, he said, as the owners had proposed a number of changes to the original plans, including reducing the number of bedrooms to two.  This, he added,  will allow the living and dining space at one end to be full height and so better retain the agricultural character of the interior.

Member Jim Munday said that the latest plans would make for a better conversion. The majority of the members voted to approve the application.

West Witton

West Witton is expanding enough with the addition of 17 houses at the west end of the village, the parish council told the Authority. But at the planning committee’s meeting approval was given for two more new houses.

The parish council informed the planning committee that the 17 dwellings at the west end amounted to one third of the National Park’s annual housing target and would increase the size of the village by about ten per cent. It stated: “The feeling of the parish council (and many residents) is that we have enough new development in the village. It is believed that the current building development is enough for the local need.

“With West Witton providing such a high proportion of the target number of new homes within the National Park already, we feel the current expansion to the village is enough both in terms of the National Park target and the overall size of the village.”

A planning officer stated that the Local Plan did not impose a quota on development in any given settlement. He said: “The proposed two new dwellings would mean that over a decade West Witton would have an average of just over two new dwellings per annum. It is considered that this would not be excessive growth for the 7th largest village of 170 addresses and one of the most accessible within the National Park.”

He explained that the two new houses would be built within the side garden of Thistlebout which is on the north side of the A684 at the east end of West Witton. The planning application  was for the alteration and extension of Thistlebout, the construction of two houses and change of use of agricultural land to form small gardens for them.

There will be legal agreements on the two houses to secure local occupancy. The parish council had pointed out that these would be offered for sale at full market value.

The planning officer told the meeting that the parish council’s objections to the original plans had included the plan to demolish and re-site a commemorative shelter. The parish council had also  been concerned about the size of the development within the boundary of the site. Both issues were addressed, he said, in the amended plans, with the shelter to remain in-situ.

Some residents believed that the extension of Thistlebout and the new houses would have an impact upon the amenity of neighbours and views across the valley from a footpath. There was also concern that the new houses would be detrimental to the character of the village.

But the planning officer stated: “The proposed development of new build  housing, extension of an existing dwelling and the change of use of a section of agricultural land is considered to be an opportunity to secure local needs housing on a small windfall infill site that in its siting, scale, form and appearance would be acceptable and not represent an excessive growth in housing in West Witton or harm the visual amenity of the street scene or the landscape, residential amenity and privacy or highway safety.”

This was accepted by the committee without any debate.


The committee unanimously agreed to defer enforcement action against the owners of the Falls Country Park at Beezley Farm for two months to see if the mitigation measures to reduce the impact of unauthorised hard surfacing could be made more effective.

Photographs were shown to explain how the tree planting had, so far, not been sufficiently successful. The officers said that, although the areas of  hard surfacing were now far less visible it, the grass growing on the soil scattered on them was unlikely to be sufficient to withstand having caravans parked there.

The committee had deferred enforcement action in March 2020 so that officers could discuss with the owners a tree planting schedule and other ways to tone down the stark appearance of the unauthorised caravan pitches and a circular track. The latter now has a central grass strip.

At the March 2021 meeting the officers recommended that enforcement action should not be pursued and that the owners should be given more time to carry out additional work to further minimise the visual impact on the landscape.

In May:

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.

In June:

Dry Rigg Quarry, Horton in Ribblesdale

The planning committee approved the application by Tarmac Aggregates Ltd to continue winning and working Dry Rigg Quarry until December 2034.

Quarrying at Dry Rigg Quarry was due to end on December 2021.   The committee was told that the new application would  allow further lateral and deepening at the northern tip of the quarry which will extend the steep, benched quarry faces below Moughton Nab. The Minerals Officer, David Parrish, stated: “This will affect the visual appearance of the site, both during the working period and in the long term. It would also mean that restoration of the northern tip area at original ground level would no longer be possible.”

He had noted: “The scar created by quarrying of the hillside below Moughton Nab is visible from a wide area and has a significant and adverse impact on the appearance of this part of Ribblesdale.” He also stated: “The existing quarry is prominent in the landscape and can be seen from public rights of way and roads over a wide area in this part of Ribblesdale. The main adverse elemtns are the stepped quarry faces that have been excavated into the hillside below Moughton Nab and the screening mounds that have been formed on the edge of Swarth Moor SSSI. The stepped faces are the result of past quarrying and cannot be restored.”  There were strong objections to the present application because of the negative impact upon the landscape within the National Park.

In their objections  Austwick Parish Council and Horton in Ribblesdale Parish Council pointed out that there was considerable dust pollution.  Austwick Parish Council stated: “The councillors believe that statements in the application documents indicate that insufficient attention has been given to this pollution problem with no sense of importance or urgency.”

And Ribblesdale Parish Council informed the planning committee: “The present dust suppression system is not effective and there is no indication that this dust will be effectively supressed during the intended working. Residents at Helwith Bridge will be subjected to dust particulates from road transport over an extended period of time and a conveyor system should be employed.

“There is a lack of blast and vibration information in relation to Foredale and there is the risk to the water supply to Foredale Cottages. Any permission granted should be reviewed after five years to determine negative effects on the community and the environment.”

Mr Parrish reported that Dry Rigg was one of a small number of quarries  which supplied high Polished Stone Value (PSV) aggregates with resistance to abrasion for use in the construction and maintenance of skid resistant roads. He stated: “If Dry Rigg closes replacement supplies from alternative sources in the UK or overseas would, for the most part, be likely to involve greater transport distances, with less availability of rail haulage and a correspondingly increased carbon footprint.”  He added that the main markets for the aggregate from Dry Rigg were in Greater Manchester, Lancashire and West Yorkshire.

A large amount of the stone from Dry Rigg is taken by road  to Arcow quarry near Helwith Bridge via a single track road past Foredale Farm and Foredale Cottages to be  transported by rail. Mr Parrish stated that in 2020 64 per cent of the stone from Dry Rigg and Arcow was delivered by rail.  Lorries from Dry Rigg also travel via Helwith Bridge to reach the A65. The company has offered a 15 per cent reduction in the existing combined road traffic limit from Dry Rigg and Arcow quarries and that more would be done to reduce the amount of dust on the roads.

Mr Parrish outlined the measures that were being proposed to moderate or compensate for the negative impacts of continued quarrying and  stated that it was essential that those were implemented and maintained effectively  with the roads being kept in a clean condition. His report also covered the issues of blasting and the impact upon Swarth Moor SSSI.

In his conclusion he reported: “This proposal to extend Dry Rigg Quarry is considered to be a major development. National Planning Policy Framework and Local Plan policy set out that planning permission for major development should only be granted in exceptional circumstances where it can be demonstrated to be in the public interest.” That, he said, included both local employment and  national considerations.

He recommended approving the application by stating: “The judgement to be made is finely balanced: the proposal would provide the local economic and employment benefits of extending the life of the quarry but it would also have adverse environment impacts. On balance, it is considered that the main impacts, other the continuation of the current visual impact, could be mitigated and compensated for and  therefore it is recommended that permission is granted subject to strict controls and mitigation measures.”



The application by Broadacres Housing Association to construct 15 open market, 17 affordable/social rented; and 17 affordable shared ownership dwellings adjacent to Station Road (A684) to the west of Sedbergh was also approved.

Both Cumbria County Council and Sedbergh Parish Council had questioned the original positioning of the access onto the A684  from the development and the proposal to fill in a large depression on the site. The planning officer explained that amendments made to the plans had, therefore, included changing the access and reducing the number of houses from 50 to 49 so that the depressions on the site could be used as open spaces which would also assist with drainage.

The councils had also raised the issue of improved pedestrian access to the town but Broadacres said this was outside its remit.

There will be a mixture of housing on the site: detached, semi-detached, terraced and bungalows. The planning committee was told that Broadacres has proposed that the affordable housing should be available to those with a local connection, and also to those living in adjoining and concentric parishes outside the National Park in addition to the usual parish cascade system used by the National Park for allocating  housing. They will also enter into a legal agreement to secure the affordable housing in perpetuity to ensure the dwellings remain available to eligible people at an affordable cost.

The planning officer stated that the development would contribute significantly towards the affordable housing need in Sedbergh and surrounding area, providing a range of new homes in a sustainable location that will support the social and economic well-being of the local community.

Item-6-Plans-List-No-2 (1)

In September


Kettlewell with Starbotton Parish Council had originally objected to permission being granted for a shepherd’s hut to be placed in the southern toft beside the recently converted barn ( Toft Gate) as it  would be upon part of an important green space within a conservation area.

The planning officer, however, pointed out that the plans had been amended and the shepherd’s hut and seating area would be sited within a walled part of the barn’s residential curtilage. He added that the change of use of the site had been approved when permission was granted for the barn conversion.

He said: “Taking account of the enclosed curtilage siting of the hut, its positioning approximately 40 metres away from the highway and public right of way together with the modest scale, it is considered that the proposal would have only a minor impact which would not adversely affect the character and appearance of the Conservation Area.”

Members were also told that the hut will be screened by trees that were planted south of the site about three years ago.

The committee voted unanimously to approve the application.


The committee also unanimously approved the application for change of use of an agricultural building at Skyrakes Farm, Stirton,  to create a workshop and commercial storage space.

Stirton with Thorlby Parish Council’s  reasons for objecting included that the proposal could lead to the need for alternative storage for  the agricultural materials and equipment currently in the building; additional traffic to the site, and that the farm was not completely “set away from public view”. It also pointed out that there were caravans stored on the site without planning permission.

The planning officer said the agricultural materials and equipment could be stored in three other agricultural buildings. He added that the applicant had agreed to reduce the height of the building so that it would be less visible from Grassington Road.  Two adjoining buildings would be demolished and so considerably reducing the visual impact of the northern part of the farmstead. With native trees to be planted to the north the appearance of the site would be improved.

North Yorkshire County councillor Robert Heseltine expressed regret at a gradual loss of agricultural buildings and a reduction of the farming in favour of other commercial ventures.


Enforcement action against the owner of a laundry at the rear of Main Street in Sedbergh was deferred because a new planning application had been received on Friday September 3.

The committee was told by the enforcement officer that the owner had indicated that he would look at introducing a noise reduction scheme.

The enforcement officer explained that in late 2020 a complaint was received that storage buildings were being converted into a public laundry. The owner was advised that planning permission was required and an application was received in November 2020. This was refused a month later on the grounds that a commercial laundry business in that location would have an adverse effect on the residential amenity of neighbours due to noise, odours and disturbance.

The committee heard that the owner did not appeal but continued with setting up the business. During a site visit by a National Park officer in July this year a dehumidifier was being installed and two of the three washing machines were in use.  The other equipment included two  dryers, a sink, washing baskets, an ironing board and a linen press.

In August there had been a complaint about noise and  this was being investigated by Environmental Health. The head of development management, Richard Graham, told the committee that a statutory nuisance did not have to be proven for noise issues to be considered by the committee when considering an application.

In October:

The Deputy Chairman of the planning committee, Mark Corner, chaired the meeting.  At that time he and two others members of the planning committee were  trustees of the Friends of the Dales. Also, at that time, on its website this group stated: ‘The issue of development control in the Dales is often a thorny one and Friends of the Dales helps by providing an independent watchdog role.’  (Two trustees are no longer members of the planning committee and Mr Corner is now a vice president of the Friends of the Dales)

Austwick and Clapham

Despite some impassioned pleas from members and the representative of Austwick and Feizor Parish Council the planning committee gave approval for timber lorries to use public bridleways between Austwick and Clapham.

Ingleborough Estate’s application was for the creation of a timber wagon turning and timber stacking area in Thwaite Wood near Clapham, plus the maintenance and improvement of timber extraction route and the installation of a reinforced concrete crossing over a sheep underpass.

Seven members voted for approval and seven were against and the acting chairman, Mark Corner, made his casting vote in favour of the officer’s recommendation. At the end of the debate he told the committee that he was a regular user of the bridleway. ‘It is one of the nicest lanes in the dales. I don’t mind stepping aside for the occasional tractor or slurry wagon. It’s no great drama. I do feel we need to keep the number of movements [in mind] – we are talking of a maximum of 40 a year and only during the week, avoiding the periods when children are in and out [of school].’

Member Allen Kirkbride also pointed out that there would only be one wagon a day using part of the bridleway and passing through Austwick.

Austwick Parish councillor David Dewhirst, however, reported that there was considerable concern about the impact upon the village and 967 people had already signed an on-line petition objecting to the proposal.  He said half of the two and a half mile route taken by the timber wagons was along the popular Pennine Bridleway and the other half along narrow lanes with 90 degree bends and steep hills with up to 20 per cent gradients.

‘There are also a number of pinch points in Austwick going past the front doors of no fewer than 91 houses, a primary school, a pub, a shop and post office,’ he added.

Clapham with Newby Parish Council also objected to the proposed route partly because of the impact upon the safety and amenity of those using the bridleway. It stated it preferred a route, using smaller vehicles, which went towards the Clapham end of the byway.

Craven District councillor Carl Lis pointed out that when the Authority was considering routes for quarry vehicles it had been agreed these should not go through Austwick and he questioned the consistency of the planning officer’s recommendation.

He stated: ‘This part of the Pennine Bridleway is a prime example of the quality of work that has been done in this National Park. It is an incredibly important part of our network. To suggest that we should in any way damage that to me is absolutely, totally unthinkable.’

He said the only reason the planning officer had given for rejecting an alternative route proposed by the parish council was the steepness of the gradient.

Member Jim Munday asked if he would have to shove his grandchildren into a ditch when a timber lorry approached them on the bridleway.  And Member Derek Twine pointed out that advising walkers to step onto the verge was alright for those who could easily do so but certainly not for those using mobility scooters.

Christopher Guest, the agent for Ingleborough Estate told the committee that the alternative routes suggested were either unworkable, destructive to both the landscape and ecology of the area, or simply not viable economically. He explained that the majority of the woodland had been neglected for decades and if the work was not carried out it could not be sustainably managed.

The Authority’s Trees and Woodland team had reported that the woodland was affected by ash dieback and the larch and rhododendron was susceptible to a highly infectious disease (phytophthora ramoram). The estate was, therefore, keen to fell and sell ash and larch before they became worthless. Its proposed woodland management plan had been approved by the Forestry Commission.

None of the members objected to the creation of the stacking area, the proposed management of the woodland and the removal of timber. The turning bay and stacking area will be within Thwaite Wood at the junction of Thwaite Lane and Long Lane. The proposal includes the removal of 16m of drystone wall at the stacking area, the partial resurfacing of the lanes with crushed limestone, and some widening of parts of Thwaite Lane.


The National Park needs to consider the sustainability of communities including the elderly and their ability to continue to farm, North Yorkshire County councillor Yvonne Peacock told the committee when it was discussing an application to provide purpose-built accessible accommodation at Bark Laithe Farm, Flasby.

She wanted to find a solution that enabled Robert Riley to remain farming while caring for his wife and argued that the proposed purpose-built accommodation within the farmyard was the best option. This will replace a timber stable block. All the bedrooms and the toilet facilities in the farmhouse are on the second floor.

Robert Riley told the committee: ‘Wendy has mobility issues and her health has deteriorated significantly in recent years. We have reached the point where she needs specialist accommodation which is all on one level.  I am now faced with a situation where I am not prepared to allow Wendy to suffer by living in a house that is totally unsuited to her needs. Unless this is approved I face the alternative of having to move from the farm into a bungalow in a nearby town or village.’ He added that would end his farming career which was his real passion.

Allen Kirkbride supported this stating that he saw it as a farmyard development and a necessary exception.

The planning officer had told members: ‘The personal circumstances of the applicant are not of such an exceptional level that adequately justify the need for a second dwelling,’ and that, therefore, there was no policy-basis for approval.  The Authority’s legal officer, Clare Bevan, stated: ‘As a point of law personal circumstances can be a mitigating consideration but we must be satisfied that they are exceptional.’

Mark  Corner agreed with the planning officer. He said he was very sympathetic to the situation but didn’t feel they should set a precedent. He stated: ‘I can’t see why the existing farmhouse can’t be adapted. Policy is designed to exclude all but exceptional circumstances. Unfortunately getting older and less mobile is a generic challenge for all of us.’

The committee, however, decided (seven votes to six with one abstention) to approve the application by. The head of development management, Richard Graham, said that this decision would be deferred to the next meeting so that officers had time to test its validity or soundness given that it was contrary to the recommendation of the planning officer.


The committee agreed that the former school building in Arkengarthdale can be converted into a single dwelling with two bedrooms to be used for bed and breakfast.

Richmondshire District councillor Richard Good told the committee: ‘I do support the application but it’s a shame that it isn’t going to be affordable homes. What I do like about this application is that we have got bed and breakfast provision.’

The planning officer reported that, following the closure of the school in 2019, the Arkengarthdale School Building Community Group, supported by Arkengarthdale Parish Council, had the site registered as an Asset of Community Value. This had triggered a six-month moratorium that restricted the building to community uses only. The Community Group had, however, failed to raise the funds required by June last year and the building was sold on the open market. Richmondshire District Council had confirmed that the building was no longer listed as an Asset of Community Value.

Cllr Good explained that the community in Arkengarthdale had then been given six months to try and put together a scheme for community use. There had been lots of bright ideas but nothing came forward he said. The new owners, Martin and Sue Stephenson, were then able to apply for change of use.

Their application included the construction of a car port with a studio cum classroom above it, the latter to support the activity weekends being planned by the Stephensons. This, they had told the planning officer, would bring in couples, families and small groups who would enjoy the activities in the local countryside and on-site and so help generate local employment and support businesses in the area that provided accommodation.

Cllr Peacock declared an interest and did not vote.


The owner of a small laundry behind Main Street in Sedbergh was given one month to discontinue that part of his business and remove all the equipment after the committee unanimously voted to authorise the Authority’s solicitor to serve an Enforcement Notice.

South Lakeland District councillor IanMitchell told the members that it was situated in a non-commercial area which was totally  unsuitable for a laundry. And another member, Jim Munday, commented: ‘It’s the wrong business in the wrong place.’

Nigel Close Ltd had applied for retrospective planning permission for using two small, single storey outbuildings behind Main Street for the laundry which serves the business’s  three holiday lets. A previous application (minus a planning statement) had been refused in December 2020. The applicant had, however, gone ahead with setting up the laundry.

The applicant had maintained that as it was in a commercial business and service area and could be carried out without detriment to the amenity of neighbours it did not require planning permission. The planning officer reported that, since it became operational, there had been complaints from three neighbouring properties. He said the laundry use was presently resulting in noise and odour emissions from the building and site to the detriment of residential amenity.

In the original planning application it was stated that the laundry would be in operation from 8am to 5pm 365 days a year.

In November 


“We have got to send the right message out that this Yorkshire Dale National Park does encourage young farmers,” North Yorks County councillor Yvonne Peacock told the YDNPA planning committee at its meeting on November 30.

But by a vote of seven to five the committee refused the application by J Allison and Sons to erect a 54.9m by 13.7m shed to house sheep at Cogden Hall farm, Grinton.

Member Mark Corner * said: “I have no issue … with the need to have a new building on the farm. My concern is the location – it literally sticks out like a sore thumb if you look at that schematic. I just feel its in the wrong place.”

The “schematic” shown by the planning officer throughout the discussion powerfully emphasised his argument that: “The proposed agricultural building, by virtue of its siting, scale and massing, would result in an adverse impact upon the scenic beauty of the National Park landscape, would not conserve the character and appearance of the Swaledale and Arkengarthdale Conservation Area and would harm the significance of grade II listed Cogden Hall through intrusion to its natural setting.” The brown and green colouring on the “schematic” was barely visible but the long black “shed” definitely did.

The Authority’s member champion for development management, Lancashire County councillor Jim Munday, agreed with Mr Corner and stated: “This [would be] three and a half metres to the eaves and five and a half metres high. How tall are sheep?”

After the vote Cllr Peacock pointed out that the farmers would need to use tractors in the shed.

The applicant, Stephen Allison, had told the committee that the farm, which supports four households of 13 people and the long term rental of a further six households, had been Marks and Spencers’ Swaledale lamb producers of the year in 2020 and 2021.  They needed to prepare for farm subsidies to halve by 2024 and wanted to introduce environmentally-friendly measures such as not wintering sheep on the moors so as not to poach  but to protect the land.

He said: “My cousin and I have young families and we are both in our early 30s. The building is of standard width and length for what is necessary to provide sufficient housing to accommodate 336 sheep and their lambs. It is important to ensure there is sufficient access to the central passage to feed check and bed up the sheep with a tractor. The site was chosen because that is where the need is and two other farm workers live on site. Additionally no other site is available to accommodate the required size.

“We believe the concerns of the adverse impact upon the scenic beauty of the landscape and the harm to Cogden Hall farm are grossly overstated. We therefore commissioned a heritage impact assessment which concluded the building would have an entirely acceptable level of impact upon the historic environment. We also assisted with the preparation of a visual impact assessment which found the building would have a minimal impact on the landscape. The visual impact was a major consideration and much thought was given to the potential effect both on the site and the wider landscape. A landscaping plan has therefore been proposed to plant trees to lessen any impact and to break up its massing from both near and far.”

He disagreed with the statement in the planning officer’s report that the shed would be located on raised ground. He stated: “The site is in a natural dip and would additionally be further built into the ground.  It will not be over dominant and intrusive.”

Richmondshire District councillor Richard Good agreed with him. He accepted that the shed would be big. But the footpaths around it, he said, were rarely used and there was only a small gap along the B6270 where it might be visible. He added: “If you are travelling at ten miles an hour you might just see it.”

He did not feel that the planning officer had clearly explained that the sheep needed to come off the moors in winter for environmental reasons which fulfilled one of the requirements of the National Park.

This was an opportunity, he said, to encourage farming and added: “Dales farming is traditional but we have to modernise it [and] this is a great opportunity with a young farming family… with lots of new ideas and lots of enthusiasm.”

He asked the committee to remember that although Cogden Hall was a listed building it had been home to a farming family for many years and would remain so.

Supporting his call to approve the application, North Yorkshire County councillor Yvonne Peacock stated: “I was pleased to see this application because for once we have got a young farmer wanting to farm. And not only himself but his whole family and his cousins.”

She pointed out that the YDNPA has a policy of encouraging people to visit the Yorkshire Dales – and that much of the beautiful scenery they came for had been created by farmers. She argued, therefore, that it was in the public interest to encourage farmers. But farmers could not continue to farm as they had in the past.

“We don’t know what the government’s going to come up with – and we know things in the future could be very very difficult. I want to see farmers making their farms viable. If we don’t encourage them now we might find that our beautiful dales will not be [worth] visiting,” she said.

Richmondshire District councillor John Amsden commented: “This is environmental land management. It’s a management tool not just a building. There are lots more buildings a lot more prominent than this one in Swaledale. I think you ought to get Google maps out and have a look. All this government thinks about is tourism and in the next ten years agriculture is going to be in a very sad state. We are going to be importing more food [causing] more pollution.”

After the proposal to approve the application was rejected Cllr Good said that there should have been a site visit so that members could have seen the location for themselves.

One of those who voted against approval was Derek Twine who commented afterwards: “I sense that some of members who voted against would be pleased to a further application at a later date which took note of the issues about the size and the style and the location.”


The application for two holiday-let pods and a pedestrian broadwalk in the extensive private grounds of a house in New Street, Sedbergh, was approved even though the parish council had made a strong objection.

Sedbergh Parish Council felt that the application lacked merit and was concerned about the environmental impact, loss of amenity to neighbours and access and parking. There is no parking available at the pod site and the planning officer commented  that those arriving by car would have to take their chances of finding a space in Joss Lane car park. He added that many might come by bike or on foot.

Member Allen Kirkbride  said that many parts of the Yorkshire Dales had parking problems and it was getting worse. Both he and Cllr Peacock asked if this problem could be considered when planning applications were being assessed.

The head of development management, Richard Graham, told them, however, that issues with parking were not a reason for refusing an application.

The planning officer stated: “The proposals are for small-scale visitor accommodation and …is not considered to be detrimental to neighbours, highway safety, trees, the environment or wildlife in any significant way.”

He reported that no protected wildlife habitat would be destroyed and the application did include compensatory planting and habitat enhancement. He added that given the distance between the pods and nearby houses and their being sited among trees the environmental health officer believed there would be little impact on neighbours.

Just one of the committee members abstained from voting to approve the application.


After a month waiting for a final decision on their application for purpose-built accommodation at Bark Laithe Farm at Flasby Robin and Wendy Riley watched as the majority of the committee voted this time to refuse it.

In October the majority of the committee approved the application but this was against the planning officer’s recommendation and so it was referred back. At the November meeting members were told the first decision was contrary to the Authority’s policy and so was neither sound nor valid.

She stated that Mr Riley had not shown there were exceptional reasons to approve his application to replace timber stables with a detached building suitable for his handicapped wife. She said: “Clearly there is sympathy for Mr and Mrs Riley’s circumstances however decreasing mobility with age or age-related health problems is a very common condition and, it is considered, neither exceptional nor ‘special’. Many people live with such problems through adaptions to their existing living accommodation.’

Mr Corner commented: “I cannot see why the building [farmhouse] built in the 1980s can’t be satisfactorily adapted. The floor area of the house is larger than that proposed in the new dwelling.” Like the planning officer he said that, if the application was approved, the proposed design was out of character on the farmstead and would need to be reconsidered.

Mr Kirkbride disagreed and said Mrs Riley’s handicapped situation should be considered. He added that the new building within the farmstead would not stand out.

The committee, however, voted by seven to five to refuse the application. After the vote Mr Kirkbride questioned the system that did not provide Mr Riley  with the right to comment on the planning officer’s report at that meeting. (Applicants can only address the planning committee once and Mr Riley did so at the October meeting.)


Unanimous approval was given for enforcement action to be taken immediately to ensure that a 10m high telecommunication mast near Hartlington is removed.

The committee was told that the Authority had refused an application to install a mast and associated works at Dibbles Bridge near Hartlington because these would be in a prominent and highly visible location harming the natural beauty of the upland landscape and the setting of the Fancari stone circle which is a Scheduled Ancient Monument.  ESN (Emergency Services Network) and EE Ltd appealed the decision and in early 2018 went ahead with the installation of the mast.

In June 2018 the appeal was dismissed. It was then agreed that a mast could be erected at the entrance to Stump Cross Caverns and the work was completed in July 2021. The mast at Hartlington, however, has not been removed.


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