ARC News Service reports on meeting of the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority’s ( YDNPA ) planning committee on December 6 2022. The applications were: for a local farming family to convert a barn at Hawes; for the conversion of a small shop to a holiday let, also at Hawes; the redevelopment of a commercial site in Sedbergh, and a complex application from United Utilities concerning replacing sections of the aqueduct from Haweswater which will particularly affect Killington parish.
Pip Pointon reports on the YDNPA planning meets on a voluntary basis as part of the Association of Rural Community’s commitment to local democracy.
It was decided that the Shop on the Bridge at Hawes can be converted into a holiday let but a barn on the outskirts of the town cannot become the home of a local farming couple.
Emma Blades told the committee that converting the barn 150m from Hawes along Burtersett Road would allow her parents to remain part of the Hawes community. ‘They have now come to retirement age and want to stay in the dale where they have lived and worked extremely hard all of their lives and let the next generation go forward.
‘This barn conversion will provide an affordable retirement home and it’s on our land close to the farm where my dad can still be on hand to tend to the livestock.’ She added that if there wasn’t another use for the barn it, that and the iconic dry stone walls would be left to fall down for the dales landscape depended upon the farmers.
She explained that as house prices were so high in the dales and with no affordable housing available, her parents would have to sell some of the farm land to be able to buy property. That would have a huge impact upon the sustainability of the farm’s future, she said.
She and some members of the committee asked that young farming families should be encouraged to stay and work in the dales to help retain sustainable communities.
North Yorkshire County councillor Yvonne Peacock was one of those who agreed with her. She emphasised how close the barn was to Hawes, that there had been a track to it in the past, and that four years ago permission had been granted for one on a neighbouring farm to be converted.
But the head of development management, Richard Graham, said that converting that owned by the Blades’ would not be in accordance with planning policy as it was not a roadside barn, did not have an existing track to it, and the county council Highways Authority had objected as the visibility from the access onto the A684 was not sufficient. And, unlike the other barn, converting it into a residence would have a negative impact upon the landscape.
The Authority’s senior listed building officer had stated: ‘The [Blades’] barn has a very high landscape value. It is a landmark in a stunning setting – a barns-and-walls landscape – when approaching and exiting the east side of Hawes. This barn is not suitable for conversion as it does not seem to meet policy, and due to the harmful impact on the wider landscape the proposed residential use would have.’
The planning officer stated that creating a new access would cause more landscape harm as some of the dry stone boundary walls would have to be removed.
The majority of the committee members agreed that the application should be refused. The committee did, however, unanimously approve the conversion of the Shop on the Bridge to a one-bedroom holiday let.
A planning officer stated that, whilst the marketing of the shop since September 2020 did not meet the usual justification requirements for converting it to a holiday let, there was such a small loss of commercial space [30sqm] that there would be no significant harm to community vitality or employment opportunities.
One of the reasons for Hawes and High Abbotside Parish Council objecting to the application was because the original plans showed an extension on the back of the shop overlooking Gayle Beck. The planned extension was removed from the amended plans. The parish council also stated concerning the one-way road past the shop: ‘This is a very narrow cobbled street and already suffers from high volumes of traffic and associated wagons etc and does not allow parking.’
The Highways Authority, however, did not object. The planning officer reported that public parking, as for many houses in the centre of Hawes, was available within easy walking distance.
He added: ‘The proposed development would see this vacant property brought back into economic use, helping the viability of this part of Main Street.’
Permission was unanimously given for the commercial buildings in Kings Yard off Bainbridge Road, Sedbergh, to be demolished and replaced with seven residential dwellings.
Members were told that three will be in a terraced row fronting Bainbridge Road and designed to reflect the existing Victorian houses in that road. Three will be of a modern design and built around a courtyard. Two of these will be designated as affordable housing. The seventh will look like a traditional cottage.
Peter Marshall, the chief operating officer of Sedbergh School, told the committee that he and his wife owned the site and were, themselves, looking for a permanent home in Sedbergh. ‘We acquired the site two years ago and have worked closely with officers, architects and the developer to design a scheme which is sensitive to surrounding residential properties. With your support this development can transform this central area of Sedbergh town,’ he said, and added: ‘ The site is challenging to develop.’
The planning officer explained that a balance needed to be struck between making the best use of an awkward, tightly constrained site whilst protecting the amenity of existing neighbours. She said that the new residents would be buying into the traditional character of the area where dwellings were positioned ‘cheek by jowl’.
She explained that the existing buildings were in reasonable condition even though they hadn’t been used for nine years. The application was in accordance with the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) regarding the development of brownfield sites including the number of open market houses.
There was concern about the loss of unofficial parking spaces on the private site especially as there was limited parking in Bainbridge Road. The planning officer said there will be two parking spaces for each new dwelling and spaces for those who already have access rights due to their properties backing on to the site. It was hoped that more car parking spaces would be made available in Sedbergh.
Killington and Mansergh
An application by United Utilities (UU) to replace sections of the aqueduct which carries drinking water to Cumbria, Lancashire and Greater Manchester from Haweswater was approved even though there will be significant impacts upon bio-diversity and the people living in the area.
Members accepted that this will be a major development of regional importance. The planning officer explained that new tunnel for the Haweswater aqueduct would be 53 kilometres long involving seven different local planning authorities and nine planning applications. That within the Yorkshire Dales National Park would be 6.43 hectares long through the parishes of Mansergh and Killington, with the latter especially being affected during the four to five years it would take to carry out the work.
Besides all the earthworks the application included a new valve house building within a fenced compound with vehicular access, a temporary construction compound with storage areas, and drainage infrastructure, plus local highway works along the Old Scotch Road (OSR).
The planning officer reported that none of the routes for heavy goods vehicles (HGV) to the M6 were ideal with each raising safety concerns. ‘In different circumstances that might be grounds or refusing planning permission. But in this case, where we are considering one element of a wider scheme to upgrade a piece of regionally significant infrastructure, compromises will be necessary.’
Killington Parish Meeting objected strongly to the OSR being chosen, disagreeing with UU that it had been fully consulted. It stated: ‘OSR is a dangerous road with many blind summits and bends which even the proposed new passing places cannot eliminate. A traffic survey indicates 2,500 vehicles using it during the last week of June. UU’s proposals for a further 1,100 vehicles per week (UU’s estimate) are both dangerous and unrealistic.
‘The turn on to the OSR from the A684 that the lorries would need to make, is itself on a blind bend. This turn is from a road that is classified as one of the 20 most dangerous roads in the country. Why is this route UU’s preferred route when another two-lane route via Hophouse Lane is available but has been rejected?’
Member Libby Bateman told the meeting about OSR: ‘You can’t see vehicles coming, its full of potholes and the verges are really, really soft. If you pull off you are stuck…’
She agreed with the planning officer that others would be affected – the walkers, cyclists and horse riders who wanted to enjoy the countryside. The planning officer said that there should be signage to warn such road users.
His recommendations that there should be legal planning obligations temporary traffic orders, ‘Haulier Rules’ to establish procedures and practices for all the HGV drivers, and for a Highway Stakeholder Group be set up were accepted. Craven District councillor Richard Foster emphasised the need to consult with local residents and parish councillors.
Member Neil Heseltine was concerned at the plans for HGVs to be using that route not only from 7am to 7pm on weekdays but also from 7am to 1pm on Saturdays. He commented: ‘For those people to have their lives disrupted for six days a week for five years is too much. So to me I would take Saturdays out.’
He was also concerned that the compensation being offered might not be sufficient for all the negative impacts of the scheme. The planning conditions include a site reinstatement and restoration plan, tree replacement and biodiversity.
Widening the OSR in some places, providing temporary passing places, altering junctions and creating temporary compounds would, the planning officer said, have significant landscape and visual impacts due to the removal of dry stone walls and the loss of trees and other vegetation. It was reported that UU intended to replace trees on a three to one basis and to re-instate areas used as passing places and what had been high value habitat verges. There will be additional compensation for the loss of some lowland meadow.
Cllr Peacock questioned why the removal of dry stone walling by a large company was acceptable, but not for a local family to create a safe access to a barn.