ARC News Service reports from meetings of the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority’s ( YDNPA )planning committee when the applicatoins discussed were: on March 7 – A glamping extension to Aysgarth Lodges Holidays, the temporary rural worker’s accommodation at Kidstones Gill Bridge in Bishopdale, housing to replace Orton Works at Reeth; and the proposed conversion of a barn near Dent; April 18 – local occupancy houses at Airton and Austwick;, and the continuation of quarrying at Dry Rigg Quarry, Horton in Ribblesdale, plus the ‘catch-up’ review of enforcement (including the residential use of a barn at Manor Grange Farm, Low Lane, Carperby) and statement by Association of Rural Communities about how photographs are used by the planning officers; May 30 – a communications mast near Buckden; a housing development at Horton in Ribblesdale; a barn conversion at Thorpe; the proposal to have four luxury pods at High Fellside, Middleton; and extensions to a house at Grassington; July 11 – proposed barn conversions at Grinton and Thorpe, a hair salon at Reeth, urgent rail cutting stabilisation works near Dent;,changes to plans for a housing development at Sedbergh, and enforcement action regarding a camping and caravanning site at Kettlewell.
Pip Pointon reports on these meetings on a voluntary basis as part of the commitment of the Association of Rural Communities (ARC) to local democracy. She was unable to attend the meeting in January 2023. There are two reports available online: altered plans for Sedbegh housing development
and the proposal for a camping barn near near Muker
At the end of the meeting in March the four district councillors who were leaving the authority due to the creation of a unitary authority (Cllrs John Amsden, Richard Good, Sandy Lancaster and Carl Lis were thanked by the chair, Neil Swain, and applauded by the rest of the members.
One of the very noticeable aspects of this meeting was how limited the photographs were in what they showed. For the application by Aysgarth Lodges Hotel the planning officer showed only two photos, both from north of the site. One showed the road junction with the A684 and the other of a nice green field with trees in the background. The officer explained that those trees screened the proposed glamping site. There were no photos of the luxury lodge site from the south side of Bishopdale. Above: The lights of the luxury lodge site are very visible at night, as shown in the centre of this photograph.
For the application about the temporary rural worker’s accommodation at Kidstones Gill Bridge the planning officer showed just a location map and one of the chalet. But no photos to show the area where the chalet is sited.
One member pointed out that very few photos were shown of Birchentree Barn at Cowgill, Dent.
Westholme – between Aysgarth and West Burton
The site of Aysgarth Lodges Holidays was compared to Blackpool illuminations or Christmas lights.
‘Talk about light pollution, that is absolutely ridiculous,’ Richmondshire District councillor John Amsden told the committee. But that view of the luxury lodge site was not shown to the committee members by the planning officer.
The majority of the committee accepted the planning officer’s recommendation to approve the application by Leisure Resorts Ltd to remove two holiday lodges at the northern edge of the site and to replace them with six glamping pods. The planning officer showed only two photos – see above.
The ‘local’ members – North Yorkshire County councillor Yvonne Peacock, Richmondshire District councillors John Amsden and Richard Good, and parish council representative Allen Kirkbride from Askrigg – objected to approving the application. Cllrs Peacock and Amsden said photographs should have been taken from the other side of Bishopdale.
They also emphasised the road safety issues. ‘It’s disappointing that the narrowness of the road [from the site] wasn’t shown,’ said Cllr Peacock. Mr Kirkbride agreed and added: ‘My main concern is safety. You have to go 300m up the A684 before you get to a footpath and that section is a fast piece of road and it is dangerous.’
Cllr Peacock pointed out the unusual event of two parish councils objecting to an application. In its objection Burton cum Walden Parish Council agreed with Aysgarth and District Parish Council about the hazardous impact of the increase of pedestrian and vehicular traffic along the narrow road leading to and from the site and along the A684.
Like Cllr Peacock Burton cum Walden Parish Council was worried about flooding as there had been so much in the past at Eshington Bridge. The parish council was also concerned about the capacity of the existing cesspit. It stated: ‘We have received reports from local residents walking in the area about the unpleasant smell from this pit and the possibility that sewage is overflowing into Bishopdale Beck. Any increase would make the situation worse. Also, we have never been able to discover how the contents of the numerous hot tubs already on the site are disposed of.’
Commenting on that at the meeting Cllr Amsden said: ‘I am sick of everybody blaming farmers for pollution.’
Aysgarth and District Parish Council had also stated that the site had a long history of providing accommodation for static and touring caravans, as well as tents, with minimal impact on the surrounding area. It added: ‘In 2007 all that was lost to the area with the conversion to use for holiday lodges only.
‘The site … is now more akin to a small urban housing development which, when viewed from across the valley, is lit up like a Christmas tree. The site is already much bigger than the original caravan park and has a detrimental impact on the dark sky initiative. Any further expansion would be an over development of the site and add to that detrimental impact. To maximise return on their investment the owners might be better to look at reinstating some of the touring caravan and camping opportunities that were lost to the area by the earlier development.’
Other members of the committee, however, accepted the view shown to them by the planning officer. North Yorkshire Country councillor Richard Foster said that the site was not high profile, but added that he did not travel that way at night. He, like others, agreed that a wider selection of holiday accommodation was needed these days.
Originally Leisure Resorts Ltd had applied to install a further 11 pods in the field on the western side of the site but that has been withdrawn.
Kidstones Gill Bridge, Bishopdale
The possible support of the Authority’s planning officers for the construction of an rural worker’s cottage in Bishopdale was described as a ‘bit contradictory’ by Cllr John Amsden.
The majority of the members agreed temporary permission could be granted for 12 months for a chalet at Kidstones Gill Bridge while Robert and Helen Brown worked with the planning department on an application which would include a permanent rural worker’s cottage there.
Aysgarth and District Parish Council had strongly objected to extending planning permission for the chalet partly because the time allowed for a temporary dwelling had long expired. Cllr Yvonne Peacock told the committee: ‘The problem with this application is that it should have been enforced long before now. What has happened to the fact that they [Mr and Mrs Brown] were given permission for two cottages at Howsyke and they have never materialised?’
The planning officer explained that permission was granted in 2017 for two rural workers’ cottages at Howsyke in Bishopdale as part of the development of that site. She stated: ‘The case presented in the 2017 application was that the applicants [Mr and Mrs Brown] would live in the farmhouse at Howsyke and the business would be grown to increase ewe numbers from 100 to 1000. Suckler calves would be purchased each autumn.’
She added that planning permission was granted for the temporary accommodation at Kidstones Gill Bridge in 2019 and that expired in December 2020. ‘The siting of the chalet and its occupation has been unauthorised since that date. The intention was that the occupant would move back to Howsyke upon completion of the permanent dwelling, ’ she said.
Mrs Brown (who, with her husband, do not live at Howsyke) told the committee: ‘There have been huge changes made with our farming enterprise which has made us take stock. Our aim is to relocate one of the worker’s cottages we have permission for at Howsyke to Kidstones Bridge. If the temporary planning is not extended there is no alternative accommodation for the two [living there].’
When asked about the plan to have one of the cottages at Kidstones Gill Bridge the head of development management, Richard Graham, said: ‘There is an argument to have one permanent dwelling there …. our agricultural consultant is happy to go along with that rather than two at Howsykes. It is a large holding and a lot of land.’
Wensleydale farmer, Allen Kirkbride, who is a parish council representative on the Authority, commented: ‘They [Mr and Mrs Brown] had planned lots of sheep but it is more into game and wildlife than it was. They should have started at least one of the cottages at Howsyke.’
North Yorkshire County councillor Robert Heseltine and Cllr Amsden agreed with him that they did not want to see a new house built at Kidstones Gill Bridge. Cllr Amsden compared this to a farmer not being allowed to convert a barn which was in the middle of the field. ‘A bit contradictory I think,’ he remarked.
Cllr Heseltine asked how much acreage was being farmed at Howsyke and how much at Kidstones Gill Bridge. The planning officer replied that the rural worker was employed to manage 700 acres of land and 1400 acres of woodland and the work included the maintenance of the hydro-plant which is housed in a new barn beside the chalet.
As Kidstones Gill Bridge and Howsykes were only two miles apart neither Cllr Heseltine nor Mr Kirkbride could see any justification for a new dwelling at the former. And, like Cllr Amsden, Cllr Heseltine felt that a barn conversion would be more appropriate.
North Yorkshire County councillor Richard Foster, like others, felt he could approve a 12-month extension for the chalet especially as there was no other accommodation for the worker and his partner. And Jim Munday commented that enforcement action should be taken after a year if things weren’t sorted out.
At the end of the debate North Yorkshire County councillor David Ireton asked if this would be the final extension for the chalet. He did not receive an answer.
Orton Works at Reeth was an eyesore and the majority of residents were looking forward to getting the site tidied up, Richmondshire District councillor Richard Good told the meeting.
He also commented that, at his last meeting as a member, the committee was considering the most controversial application from his area since he had joined it. He said that some residents in Hill Close were understandably concerned as their homes would overlook the new development. Orton Works, which had been a builder’s yard until 12 years ago, is accessed via Hill Close.
The committee unanimously voted to approve the application to demolish the existing buildings and to construct three local occupancy dwellings. The planning officer told the committee that the original application had been for four houses but this had been amended.
The height of two had been increased, however, so as to accommodate a third bedroom in each roof space. Reeth, Fremington and Healaugh Parish Council was concerned about this additional height and some residents were worried about their homes in Hill Close being overlooked causing loss of privacy. The planning officer said that care had been taken to reduce opportunities for overlooking, overshadowing or loss of light to neighbours.
She added that if the site returned to being a builder’s yard or similar use the level of noise or disturbance to those living nearby would be unacceptable. The replacement of an employment site with local occupancy dwellings was, therefore, considered justifiable.
By a majority of just three votes the committee agreed that planning permission could be granted for the conversion of Birchentree Barn at Cowgill, Dent, for residential use. But this was against officer recommendation and Richard Graham said the decision would be referred back to the next meeting as he had significant concerns about the validity or soundness of the reasons put forward for approving it.
Three of those who voted to approve the application were district councillors Amsden, Good and Lancaster who will no longer be members of the Authority once the North Yorkshire unitary authority comes into existence on April 1.
The planning officer had recommended refusal because, he stated, the proposal would involve significant alterations and major structural work which would have an adverse impact on the heritage interest and traditional character of the building and the surrounding landscape. He said: ‘Given the amount of demolition and rebuild involved, the proposed development would be tantamount to the erection of a new dwelling in the countryside and, as such, contrary to the … Local Plan.’
Mr Graham told the committee that the policy to allow roadside barns to be converted was to secure a heritage asset and the demolition of two walls would not ensure that. He also said that there had been 13 barn conversions in Dentdale and there were two sites for new housing in Dent listed in the Local Plan.
South Lakeland District councillor Ian Mitchell said that those sites were never going to be developed for financial and legal reasons. He had asked that the planning committee should discuss the application as he wanted to see the building brought back into use rather than falling down and so help to provide housing for local people. He added: ‘I am sure this Authority can put conditions on the materials used to make sure it retains its traditional character.’ And Cllr Peacock observed that when rebuilding walls modern insulation could be installed.
Cllr Foster pointed out that a wall was likely to fall onto the road so something had to be done. Cllr Amsden commented: ‘If the wall fell on the road they would blame the farmer and his public liability would go through the roof.’ Instead, he said, the Authority should be aiming to bring the barn back into use and at helping the next generation to stay in the National Park.
Mr Graham said there was funding available to help farmers restore barns. This led to North Yorkshire County councillor Andrew Murday asking if a barn was restored to its original structure could the owner then apply to convert it into a dwelling. Mr Graham replied that would depend upon having retained the structural and heritage integrity of the barn.
“It just seems to me to be a bit illogical,’ responded Mr Murday.
Mr Graham said that a rebuilt barn would become a modern building and no longer a traditional one.
The parish council had recommended that the barn, when converted, should be restricted to local occupancy with a legal agreement. Mr Graham said that the Authority’s policy was that barn conversions should be for local occupancy or holiday let. ‘It’s not reasonable for the Authority… to restrict to local occupancy,’ he stated.
The planning officer had also recommended refusal because the Highways Authority had advised that there wasn’t sufficient visibility from the access due to the location of the barn on a bend on the unadopted road. Several agreed with Cllr Mitchell that the problem could be solved by installing a mirror on the opposite side of the road – a solution used by many others living in the dales.
When listing the suggested material considerations put forward to allow the members to approve the application against planning policy, the legal officer, Clare Bevan, added ‘I am not sure how’ regarding overcoming highway concerns. The other reasons were: to improve the condition of an abandoned building and bring it back into use; and the development providing additional housing for the village of Dent. Cllr Peacock asked that supporting local farmers should be included.
At the beginning of the meeting the following statement was read by Alastair Dinsdale, chairman of the Association of Rural Communities:
‘At your last meeting members local to Wensleydale and Bishopdale pointed out that the photos shown regarding the Aysgarth Lodge application and the temporary chalet at Kidstones Gill Bridge (just two photos for each application) did not give a true picture of these within the landscape. And yet, when officers have recommended refusing applications for livestock sheds, barn conversions or camp sites, they have shown many photos from all angles and using various lenses to illustrate their argument that there would be a negative impact upon the landscape. This is neither fair nor consistent, nor in accord with the Authority’s obligation to conserve and enhance the landscape and scenic beauty of the Yorkshire Dales.’
This was the Authority’s response:
‘Planning officers provide photographs so that members of the committee can see the site from relevant vantage points. It is for members to decide whether they have sufficient information in front of them to make a decision, including whether there are sufficient photographs. Members always have the option of deferring consideration of the application for further information to be provided or alternatively for a committee site visit to be arranged.’
ARC’s comment: It is obviously very important that the members do carefully consider if the photographs they are shown clearly show the impact upon the landscape.
The majority of the committee agreed that three local occupancy houses can be built on the north-west corner of Hall Garth in the village even though Airton Parish Meeting had objected and a resident had told members that the access to the site would be too dangerous.
North Yorkshire councillor Simon Myers explained that, although he understood the concerns about traffic and safety, he was also aware that suitable houses were needed in the dales’ villages for young families. He added that the planning committee weren’t able to refuse an application unless it had sustainable reasons. The Hall Garth site, he said had been tried and tested by an inspector when the Local Plan (2015-2030) was being prepared and the Highways Authority had stated it was happy with the access. ‘I can’t see any sustainable grounds for refusing this application,’ he commented.
Airton resident Catherine Coward told the meeting: ‘I cannot overstate the danger of this access. Even if the walls were lowered completely one would not be able to see cars coming out of the dip and up the hill [to the access]. It is a narrow road with no pavement. The photos you have just seen do not show the level of that rise.’
She said that among those walking along that road were children going to the bus stop and added: ‘If this goes ahead there will be an accident – it is just a matter of time.’
She was also concerned about the visual impact of the three new terraced houses on the village. ‘Airton is a beautiful historic village which has remained virtually unchanged for centuries. If building is allowed in this important open space in the heart of the village it will irrevocably damage both the character and the landscape of this lovely village. This development is not appropriate and would not help the community but harm it.’
Airton Parish Meeting also had concerns about road safety and the likelihood of archaeological remains on the site, as well as Hall Garth having been designated on the Local Plan as an ‘important open space’ and so should, therefore, be protected in its entirety. It pointed out that the proposed development would not be completely within the area designated for local occupancy housing.
Charles Richardson, the applicant, told the meeting that his grandfather, John Richardson, had bought Hall Garth in 1935 and the ownership of it now was shared between the grandchildren and great grandchildren. Mr Richardson said: ‘I believe it was called Hall Garth because there was a large residential hall in the field many years ago. In the 1960s there was very very nearly a new school and housing development in the field. I believe the need for the school diminished and as a result nothing happened. So the field continued to be used for grazing as it is today.
His interest in affordable housing, he said, began with reading the Malhamdale Plan in 2005 and then a meeting at the YDNPA office in Bainbridge at which there was a call for building sites in the National Park. He explained that after the site in Hall Garth had been allocated for development in the Local Plan there had then been lengthy discussions with housing associations until finally he had submitted his own application. This was originally for four houses but was reduced to three as the planning officer said that the fourth house would have been too close and would have overlooked an existing property.
She told the meeting that two small sections would be outside the allocated site: a narrow strip on the eastern boundary to increase the size of the rear gardens and a strip to the south so as to create a better access. She believed these modest increases would not impact significantly on the character of the remaining large field.
The Highways Authority had agreed that the visibility from the access would be acceptable once the wall beside it had been lowered. Iron railings will be fixed on top so that it will be similar to the wall further south of the site.
Several members agreed with the proposal to provide local occupancy houses and although there were concerns about road safety, the opinion of the Highway Authority was accepted.
The committee was informed that, as there might be archaeological remains there, the site will be monitored when construction begins. The planning officer assured the committee that it would be kept informed if anything was found.
The committee unanimously approved the application for a housing development at Austwick which will now include properties more affordable to local people.
The latest proposal for eight houses to be built in Pant Lane was welcomed by Austwick Parish Council as it felt it was a better mix of housing and would benefit the community.
North Yorkshire councillor David Ireton agreed and stated: ‘[This] very much takes on board what the parish council would have accepted back in 2020. I am of a view that if developing properties in villages the provision of affordable housing should be delivered within that community. We shouldn’t be importing developments on communities, taking the money out and spending it miles away from them.’
The planning officer explained that the application approved in 2020 was for eight open market dwellings with a commuted sum being paid by the developer in lieu of providing on-site affordable houses. She said that the previous developer had, however, indicated that the required commuted sum would make the development unviable.
She said the latest application was by Venturi Homes with a different mix of eight homes: three open market; two shared/affordable ownership and three principal residency dwellings. She told members that the principal residency meant that the owners had to occupy the houses as their principal home and it was estimated this restriction reduced the open market value by up to five per cent.
She told the committee: ‘The original proposal … [was] unlikely to have a direct benefit for the immediate community of Austwick. The commuted sum… would also not necessarily cover the costs of developing four affordable houses elsewhere. The proposed amendment, however, would directly benefit the local community by providing two shared ownership affordable dwellings within the village, subject to a local connection clause which would prioritise those within Austwick Parish. The three principal occupancy dwellings would also provide permanently occupied two and three bed dwellings in the village, ensuring they cannot be second homes or holiday lets.’
Dry Rigg Quarry
Permission was again granted for a lateral and deepening extension of Dry Rigg Quarry until December 2034 after the planning officer argued that, despite having a detrimental impact upon the landscape, there was a regional and national need for the aggregate quarried there. Quarrying was due to end at Dry Rigg by December 2021.
The application by Tarmac Aggregates Ltd was first approved in June 2021 with the legal agreement completed in February 2022. This was quashed by the High Court in February this year following a Judicial Review which upheld the view of a local resident, Kate Smith, that the officer’s report had not expressly demonstrated exceptional circumstances for permitting a major development, that it did not expressly afford great weight to conserving and enhancing landscape and scenic beauty, and that the harm to the landscape was only considered in terms of visual impact.
Both Austwick and Horton in Ribblesdale Parish Councils objected to the latest application due to the lack of dust suppression and the impact of dust pollution on local residents. The Friends of the Dales objected to the apparently never ending postponement to the end of quarrying and restoration of the site; the impact of significant HGV movements; and the proposed lateral extension of the extraction area.
Member Mark Corner, who is a vice president of the Friends of the Dales, left the room before the application was discussed to avoid any potential bias, he said. He explained: ‘Before I became a member of the Authority in July 2020 I was an active trustee of the Friends of the Dales and was involved directly in their submission of objection to the original proposal in May 2020.’
In his lengthy report the planning officer quoted the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) that the exceptional circumstances for approving a major development within a National Park included a national need. He stated: ‘It is acknowledged that the proposal will have a detrimental effect on the visual quality of the landscape as a result of the creation of 140m of new quarry face [on Moughton Nab]. However, the effect of these works on the wider landscape character is less tangible and less severe as the character of the Ribblesdale landscape is typified by geology and natural features but also by human influence upon it in terms of settlement, farming and, critically, quarrying. The several historic quarries, including Dry Rigg, form a dominant visual presence in the landscape and are undeniably part of the landscape character of Ribblesdale.’
He stated that the quarry was one of the few in the country and of which there are only four in the north of England that produce the gritstone with the high polished stone value used for road and runway surfacing due to its high skid resistant properties. He said Tarmac had demonstrated the need for that aggregate and that the scope for mining it outside the National Park was extremely limited.
He also stated that quarrying at Dry Rigg supported 36 jobs and the local businesses that supplied it. He said: ‘In local terms 36 jobs represents a medium sized local employer making a significant contribution to the local economy and to the economic health and vitality of communities within the National Park. The proposal would guarantee the economic benefit for a further 13 years.
‘It is considered that great weight should be given to these national and local economic benefits.’
Stephen Cowan, who spoke on behalf of Tarmac, was accompanied by many of those who work at the Quarry. He said these included someone whose father and grandfather had worked there, one for 42 years. The owners of the quarry, he said, had a record of community involvement and funding large and small projects in the dales as well as working with Natural England and the Yorkshire Dales Millennium Trust. ‘We feel we are part of the National Park and part of its heritage,’ he commented.
Commenting on the presence of the employees North Yorkshire councillor Steve Shaw-Wright stated: ‘This does actually show that there is local employment with what I would term proper jobs with proper pay and prospects rather than minimum wage summer-time jobs.’
And North Yorkshire councillor Robert Heseltine said: ‘Agriculture and quarrying are the two traditional employment industries in the National Park.’ Like many other members he accepted the planning officer’s assessment of the national need and that approval of the application would be in accordance with the Authority’s policy.
Another North Yorkshire councillor, David Ireton, stated, however: ‘I voted against this application last time and there is nothing in this application that has changed my mind.’ Referring to the NPPF that great weight should be given to conserving and enhancing the scenic beauty of the National Parks he said: ‘I don’t see how this [application] does that. It completely ruins what we’ve got.’
North Yorkshire councillor David Noland agreed with him – and also with Kate Smith who had addressed the committee earlier. Cllr Noland said: ‘I don’t see how this delivers sustainable development. I don’t see how it conserves or enhances the landscape, or protects the special qualities of the Yorkshire Dales National Park. There is plenty of scope for [the aggregate to be quarried] elsewhere – and not in the middle of this glorious National Park. I think we are all aware of the damage being done to the environment.’
The conditions of the approved application include: restoration to be completed by December 2035; the hours when HGVs must not enter or leave the site or when blasting can take place; and a comprehensive scheme of controlling and monitoring dust.
Regarding the latter the chairman of the committee, Neil Swain, asked after the vote: ‘Can we monitor the road conditions between these two quarries to make sure they are kept clean because they have been known to be in a disgusting state at times. So please make sure they are monitored.’
When the Planning Enforcement Closures Report was presented Mr Swain commented that a number of applications had been hanging around a long time due to the Covid pandemic and he hoped this aspect of planning would get back to normal soon.
Some were registered in 2017 and were listed as being ‘regularised’. These included unauthorised building works (Bell Barn and Castle Folly) at Forbidden Corner in Coverdale.
It had been decided, however, that it was inexpedient to carry on with enforcement action concerning the unauthorised use of an agricultural building for residential purposes at Manor Grange Farm, Low Lane, Carperby. This was registered in June 2018. It was stated in the report: ‘Delayed decision due to sale of Yore Mill, Covid and owners’ personal circumstances.’
‘Should rural residents be denied what other areas enjoy?’ North Yorkshire councillor Robert Heseltine asked when the committee debated the application to construct a 4G shared communications mast above Buckden. The majority of the members agreed and the application was approved.
The planning officer told the meeting that the 25 metre high lattice tower would have some significant landscape and visual impacts but this had to be assessed in relationship to the need for it. He explained that the 3G mast which presently provides limited mobile phone coverage for Buckden and Hubberholme will be switched off by Vodaphone later this year.
He quoted Buckden Parish Council that the removal of the 3G service would leave the area without any coverage and the proposed new mast would benefit residents, businesses, community services, visitors and future generations.
It had also been pointed out that the provision of the new mast was part of the Shared Rural Network initiative between the government and operators that would not be repeated in the near future.
Member Mark Corner (who is a trustee of the Friends of the Dales), however, stated: ‘ Our purpose is to conserve the landscape and the natural beauty of the area and this undoubtedly damages it. Our socio-economic [purpose] should be second to that, although I do think the parish council made a very vigorous, in-depth analysis.
The parish council recognised the need for line-of-sight for signal coverage but said this meant the mast would be visible. It emphasised that the lack of mobile phone coverage would have an impact upon the quality of life and the sustainability of the social and economic community of the parish.
It added that the lack of effective mobile coverage was already having an impact upon the safety of those walking in the area, and access to health services and such cost-saving facilities as smart meters. In addition, the electric vehicle charging station in the YDNPA’s car park at Buckden was only usable by 20 per cent of users at present – and by none when the Vodaphone mast is switched off. It was concerned about the access to the site when the new mast was being constructed and the electric supply to it.
The planning officer said that the equipment for the mast would be delivered by helicopter. The applicant, Cornerstones, will also first have to obtain approval for the power source for the mast. Members were told this might be solar panels and/or a diesel generator.
Horton in Ribblesdale
Members approved the latest application for a development at Rowe Garth in Horton in Ribblesdale because they wanted to see some affordable homes built there.
North Yorkshire councillors Yvonne Peacock and Richard Foster spoke of the need for sites that were socially and economically viable even if the provision was less than originally expected.
Parish council representative member Allen Kirkbride also emphasised that new open market houses should be for permanent residence and not be used as holiday lets. And Cllr Foster commented: ‘We need to make sure the properties are built and are lived in.’
In November 2019 the committee had approved an application for a development of nine dwellings which would include four affordable homes provided by the then Craven District Council acting as the Registered Provider. By June 2022, however, Craven District Council, had informed the YDNPA that it could not do so. Without a Registered Provider the applicant stated the development would be unviable and was given permission to pay a commuted sum in lieu of providing affordable housing on the site.
This year the applicant informed the YDNPA that this was not viable either and put forward another scheme. This involves providing two First Homes, one Principal Residency, and dividing one of the dwellings to create two affordable rent flats.
The planning officer explained that First Homes had to be discounted by a minimum of 30 per cent of market value and sold only to those meeting the First Homes eligibility criteria. She said this would provide four affordable housing units which would be made available on a ‘cascade’ basis, first to Horton In Ribblesdale parish, then to adjoining parishes within the National Park, then to the entire National Park and finally to the whole of the local housing authority area.
A dwelling restricted by a principal residency condition, she said, usually led to a reduction in the market value by up to five per cent. The barn on the site will be converted to create a local occupancy dwelling.
The planning officer stated that the applicant had provided sufficient site-specific evidence to support this latest application.
Thorpe – By just one vote it was decided not to accept the officer’s recommendation to refuse the application to convert Dowgill Barn at Thorpe into a holiday let or for local occupancy. But that means it has been referred back to the planning committee meeting on July 11.
Cllr Foster was among those who argued that converting the barn into a holiday let would not only save it from falling into disrepair but also help to keep Dowgill Farm viable. Cllr Heseltine commented: ‘These are desperate times for tenanted farmers.’
Hannah Schindler, on behalf of her family, explained how the viability of the farm had changed recently. She said three generations of her family had farmed there using traditional methods. They wanted to conserve the beautiful barns and protect the wild life but needed to diversify, she said.
Cllr Foster told the meeting that although the barn was not visible from the road he believed there would be less impact upon the countryside if it was converted for holiday use only. ‘This is a good way of keeping a heritage asset and keeping a local farm viable – and the parish supports it.’
Other members, however, pointed out that the application was ‘far against present policy’. The planning officer told the meeting that the barn was 40m from the B6160 and there was no existing track to it. This meant that converting it was not in accordance with the Authority’s roadside barn policy. She did accept that converting it into a camping barn might be.
There was another very close vote following the debate about allowing four camping pods to be sited at High Fellside, Middleton near Carnforth – but this time the application was refused.
The applicant’s agent told the meeting that the camping pods would increase the variety of visitor accommodation; extend the tourism season and help to reduce the pressure on housing stock being used for holiday lets. The pods would be sited alongside an existing small woodland to minimise their impact on the landscape and there would be more trees planted to provide screening he said. He added that the landowner also aimed to introduce wild flower meadows to increase bio diversity.
The planning officer told the meeting that the proposal was for four luxury camping pods in an isolated location at High Fellside close to Middleton Bridge. Each would be clad in larch with an artificial AstroTurf roof and have patio doors opening out onto timber decking. The decking would be enclosed with stained timber balustrades. She said there would be a track for vehicles and a parking area in an adjacent field.
Several members said it would be against policy to approve such a development in the open countryside and member Jim Munday commented: ‘It’s wide open country and a super landscape… with long views.’
Parish council representative member Libby Bateman, however, said that after five years the impact upon the landscape would be minimal due to the growth of the new trees. ‘Why can’t people from away benefit from the enjoyment of this iconic landscape?’ she asked.
Approval was quickly given for extensions to be erected on the side and rear of 1 Hardy Grange at Grassington.
The planning officer explained that this had to brought to the planning committee as the applicant was employed by the Authority and there had been an objection by a neighbour.
She said the dwelling was described as a non-designated heritage asset and was within the Grassington Conservation Area. A neighbour believed that the boundary wall had monastic origins linked to Fountains Abbey but the Authority’s senior historic environment officer said there was no data on the Historic Environment Record to support this.
The planning officer concluded that the extensions would complement the property and not have a harmful impact on the residential amenity of neighbours or on historic assets.
Grassington Parish Council reported that it could not unanimously agree on comments on this application. There was no debate at the planning committee meeting and the application was approved unanimously.
The majority of the members agreed with the planning officer that the socio and economic benefits of providing accommodation for hospitality staff on the old school playing field in Arkengarthdale outweighed the opposition of the local community.
Arkengarthdale Parish councillor Paul Harker told the committee it was the duty of the parish council to report that the community overwhelmingly opposed the application by Charles Cody to build a one- and two-storey building to provide accommodation for staff working at the CB Inn and the Punch Bowl at Low Row.
He said there was considerable concern about the spring water supply and drainage issues, and building on a greenfield site which had been designated as an important open space. He emphasised: ‘The main objection of the community is the building’s location. It will obscure a very well-known iconic view much admired by local residents and visitors alike. The loss of the view is a material planning consideration.’
In response the head of development management, Richard Graham, said: ‘Public views can be a material consideration. What concerns me in this particular location is that this view across the dale isn’t exclusive to this particular place. You can get that from lots of other locations and you can’t protect all of them.’
Cllr Harker disagreed with the planning officer that while that field afforded a high quality view across the valley a similar one could be gained across the car park between the site and the CB Inn.
The planning officer agreed that the field had been designated as an important open space but said this was done when it was in use by the school. The school, however, had closed in 2019. ‘It is considered that the space is no longer needed and, as such, the proposed development of the site would not represent a significant loss in terms of sporting or recreational assets in the area.‘
He reported that once the school closed the land was offered to the parish council but no alternative community need could be identified adding that ownership subsequently reverted to the applicant’s business.
A resident, Jane Ellis , pointed out that since the loss of the district council the parish council was their only local democratic representative. The planning officer’s recommendation to approve the application showed that, yet again, a decision was being made by a larger organisation which would have, she said, a huge negative impact upon the dale, over riding local knowledge.
‘In a small dale like this we work with the nature of the land not against it, and to protect its inheritance,’ she said.
Another resident, Alison Piet, commented that the Authority’s members and officers should be working with the parish council, businesses and local people as custodians of the Yorkshire Dales. ‘Why would anyone in this room want to spoil the natural beauty of Arkengarthdale?’ she asked.
Like Cllr Harker and Mrs Ellis she accepted that staff accommodation was needed but not with the loss of that view. And like them she asked why the accommodation could not be sited closer to the CB Inn rather than on the other side of the large car park.
Charles Cody, who owns the CB Inn and the Punch Bowl, told the committee that constructing the building closer to the pub was not viable. The accommodation, he said, was needed because there were now far fewer young people living in the dales seeking employment in the hospitality trade. He had tried to buy dwellings to provide accommodation but couldn’t compete in the holiday cottage market.
Parish council representative Allen Kirkbride and North Yorkshire councillor Yvonne Peacock supported the parish council and local residents and asked the committee to refuse the application. Both agreed on the necessity of staff accommodation but believed the field was the wrong location.
The planning officer acknowledged that the proposed development did not easily fit with Local Plan policies and that it would ‘cause very limited harm’ to the character and appearance of the Swaledale and Arkenggarthdale Barns and Walls Conservation Area, with the loss of the view across the valley. He concluded: ‘The social and economic benefits of the proposed development are considered to be in line with the business and employment policies of the Local Plan.’
Amendments to the plans for a hair salon and beauty treatment centre next to the business park at Reeth led to the parish council supporting the application by Hannah Allison of Swale Health Spa.
The planning officer explained: ‘The application proposals have been amended so that the building has been turned 90 degrees and positioned as close to the south west corner of the site and the existing buildings of the Reeth Dales Centre as possible.
‘As the main elevation and entrance now face north this is away from the houses on Arkengarthdale Road rather than, as originally proposed, facing directly towards them.’ This, he said, would restrict the impact on residential amenity.
Lisa Bridge, the clerk of Reeth, Fremington and Healaugh Parish Council, said that the parish council had initially objected to the proposal due to its likely impact upon neighbours and as most of it would be on a greenfield site. It changed to supporting the application after it had been amended and because the council wanted to support a local person who was seeking to expand her business. This was supported by Cllrs Kirkbride and Peacock.
But some residents did not agree. Speaking on their behalf at the meeting Dr Jackie Alexander said the building would sited on a wonderful pastoral meadow, would be visible for miles and miles and would harm the quality and intrinsic character of the landscape. She added: ‘The building is the wrong style, the wrong size, the wrong colour and the wrong height.’
This, she said did not fit with the Authority’s Local Plan, but rather that the planning officer was shoe-horning it into policies. Trees and bushes would be lost and it would have a negative impact upon dark skies. She, like other objectors, believed the new facilities for the hair salon and therapy centre should be in the town centre.
Ms Allison told the meeting her business had outgrown its present premises in Arkengarthdale Road and they very much needed toilet and storage facilities plus disabled access. She said she had found it difficult to find a suitable property in the centre of Reeth. The committee unanimously voted to approve her application.
Approval was given for a barn at Grinton to be converted into a short-term holiday let even though the Highways Authority and the parish council objected.
Cllr Kirkbride agreed with Grinton Parish Council that Swale Hall Lane was very narrow. And the Highways Authority stated that, due to the limited visibility at the access on to the road, it considered this development unacceptable in terms of highway safety. Cllr Peacock said the road was part of the Swale Trail and so there were a lot of walkers.
She supported the parish council in its request for an affordable occupation dwelling rather than a holiday let. She said anyone living there permanently would know the road well and so there would be less danger at the access.
The planning officer, however, stated that a one bedroom holiday let was unlikely to generate a substantial number of vehicle movements onto a road which had been shown to be very lightly trafficked. There would be a turning area on the site so that cars could exit onto the road in a forward direction, he said.
Cllrs Kirkbride and Peacock supported the parish council’s argument that this was not a roadside barn in accordance with the Local Plan. Cllr Peacock said the present track to the barn was created in 2012 after the field with the original track was sold. Planning officers, however, put the emphasis on the track being in existence after 2012.
The application included the erection of a new barn to replace a modern one near that to be converted. The latter was described by the planning officer as being of simple, traditional construction.
‘How can we possibly pass something if we haven’t got the final plans?’ asked Westmorland and Furness councillor Ian Mitchell regarding the application by Network Rail to allow rail cutting stabilisation works to be carried out near Dent.
Cllr Mitchell emphasised that they had to be sure the plans were right for the sake of the landowners, the parish council, those living nearby and the landscape. It was unanimously agreed, therefore, to approve the application on the condition that Network Rail works with the planning officers, the landowners and Dent with Cowgill Parish Council to finalise the plans.
The application is for urgent stabilisation work to be carried out on a cutting near the hamlet of Stonehouse where there is evidence of instability. Network Rail has permitted development rights to carry out work on its land but some will extend into neighbouring farmland.
The planning officer reported that the objective was to avoid a landslip onto the track. When such an event occurred in 2019 the line had to be temporarily closed for emergency works, he said.
The work this time will include the installation of a new ‘crest ditch’, designed to capture any surface water and take it to an outfall at Arten Gill Beck to the north. This new ditch requires the installation of crossings to allow the farmer quad bike access to the moor.
The clerk to Dent with Cowgill Parish Council, Scott Thornley, said it recognised the importance of the work for the future of the Settle to Carlisle railway but, as a statutory consultee, it had not received the full and final set of plans. He told the meeting the parish council had not been invited to a drop-in session organised by Network Rail in June this year.
The parish council, he said, was concerned about flooding due to the increase flow of water in Arten Gill Beck during heavy rainfall. ‘The parish council has worked closely with the Highways Authority for two to three years repairing flood damage and work to mitigate local flooding and it would be remiss of the council not to prevent further flood risk in the parish.’
The planning officer stated that the plans included fitting the new ditch with baffles to slow the movement of water and so reduce the risk of flooding.
The parish council was also concerned about heavy vehicles using a narrow single track road, the possibility of dry stone walls being removed and the impact upon the residents of Stonehouse.
The planning officer said that there was the potential of residents being affected by noise, dust light pollution and heavy construction traffic. Network Rail would, therefore, be asked take measures to reduce such impacts and to limit construction hours to between 8am and 6pm on weekdays and 8am to 1pm on Saturdays. The company had, however, stated work may have to be carried out sometimes from 10pm on Saturdays to 8am on Sundays when trains were not running.
Emma Richardson, a local landowner, said: ‘Whilst we support the work, it needs to be done sympathetically towards us landowners. We need to work here, we have to have access to the fields and fells for the livestock.’ She was especially concerned about the location of the crossings.
The application includes the construction of an improved access and temporary work compound plus a haul road from the compound up to the cutting.
The quality of a housing development in Sedbergh should not be downgraded for the sole financial benefit of the developer, Sedbergh Parish Council told committee.
At the meeting members were asked to agree to Broadacres changing its approved proposal for 49 dwellings on land off Station Road by relocating the electrical substation, amending the infiltration basin and road surface colours, changing the landscaping and removing the stone window and door heads to the rears of 27 houses.
The parish council informed the Authority that it had no objection to the majority of the amendments but added: ‘[Parish council] embers, however, strongly object to the down grading of the quality of the scheme by the removal of stone window/door heads to the rears of plots 16 to 42.
‘The scheme has already changed In terms of its provision of affordable housing and to now lower the quality of the build for the sole financial benefit of the developer would deliver in perpetuity to the community of Sedbergh housing below the specification originally envisaged and agreed.
‘Members noted the implication that this had been pre-agreed with the planning officer. We feel that such a decision should not be dealt with by delegated powers but should be for the developers to prove their case in front of YDNP members at planning committee.’
The planning officer said that Broadacres proposed to reduce the number of road surfacing materials so that the main circulation route was mostly tarmac.
Westmorland and Furness councillor Graham Simpkins commented: ‘They are actually making considerable savings with the road covering because tarmac is a lot cheaper to lay.’
The majority of the committee, therefore, agreed to approve most of the application, but not that for removing the stone window and door heads.
The decision in May to allow a barn near Thorpe to be converted into a holiday let was overturned at the meeting on July 11.
North Yorkshire councillor Richard Foster had successfully argued at the committee’s meeting in May that Dowgill Barn should be converted into a holiday let even though it is 40m from the B6160 and there is no track to it. He repeated at the meeting on July 11 that the barn could not be seen from the road and it needed to be converted not only to stop it from decaying but also to support the viability of the farm.
In support, Cllr Kirkbride said: ‘This is farm diversification – and farm diversification should be most welcome.’
The previous decision was referred back so that officers could assess the validity or soundness of the reasons for not accepting the planning officer’s recommendation to refuse the application.
At the July meeting the head of development management, Richard Graham, told members: ‘I am very concerned this would be a departure from Local Policy.’
North Yorkshire councillor David Ireton commented: ‘We have a very good policy for barn conversions. I don’t see how this barn can fit into the policies that we members adopted. It’s too isolated in that landscape.’
The planning officer stated: ‘There are other options for the reuse of the barn with a less intensive use such as a camping barn ( i.e. basic bothy accommodation / a “stone tent”) which would suit this isolated location, and therefore see the retention and repair of the barn.
‘The property, whether a holiday let, or permanent dwelling would require a safe off-road parking area. The proposed parking area would involve the removal of a length of wall to create an entrance, the stone boundary wall will be lowered to 1.0m towards the east to create the necessary visibility splays of 2m x 45m. This …would have a harmful visual impact on the rural unspoilt character of this stretch of roadside.’
She added: ‘Many businesses within the National Park are facing difficult times at the moment owing to the current economic crisis, and uncertainty over the single farm payments and the move to a post Brexit agricultural economy are affecting farming in particular.
‘The applicant currently farms 250 acres of land in sheep and beef cattle, but this has recently been reduced from340 acres as the landlord has sold off a portion of land. The applicant’s family wish to carry on the family business when the applicant retires in the future and this holiday let would assist in ensuring the viability of the farm.’
These, she said, were personal circumstances and as such could only be taken into account if they were very exceptional. ‘These reasons do not apply specifically to this applicant and the circumstances, whilst compelling, are not an exception,’ she said.
The majority of the members accepted her recommendation to refuse the application by John Schindler.
An enforcement notice will be issued to stop fields at Low Hall Farm, Kettlewell, being used as a permanent camping and caravan site.
An enforcement officer told the committee that the caravans on the site were clearly visible not only to those living nearby but also from a distance.
Member Derek Twine commented: ‘[Recently when] I was walking down into Kettlewell it was clearly visible with large and numerous white caravans and campervans and this significantly marred the enjoyment of the view and the heritage view.’
The enforcement officer showed photographs of how close these were to some residences. She stated: ‘The unauthorised use of the land as a permanent caravan/camp site has introduced a more intensive use than had previously taken place. Photographic evidence shows that there are times when the site accommodates a large number of caravans and campervans.
‘Clearly this level of usage generates a significant degree of noise and activity arising from vehicles arriving and leaving the site and activity from visitors on the site setting up camp and enjoying meals outside sometimes until late hours. Given the close proximity of residential properties, in many cases only separated from the campers by a low stone boundary wall, this level of noise and activity would undoubtedly be disturbing to a level exceeding what residents would reasonably expect.
‘Furthermore the stationing of caravans and campervans against the wall separating the site from resident’s gardens clearly undermines privacy enjoyed by residents in their gardens and homes. The unauthorised use adversely affects residents enjoyment of their gardens and properties to a high degree and is a significant increase in what had been the case previously.’
She reported that the application for a Lawful Development Certificate for a permanent seasonal camping and caravanning site had been refused and that an appeal had been lodged. The owners’ agent had requested that no formal enforcement action be taken until that had been determined.
She continued: ‘Waiting for the outcome of the appeal will mean that there is potential for this site to continue to cause harm for residents for another year. If a [enforcement] notice is served it is open to the owners to also submit an appeal against the notice and potentially the Planning Appeal and Enforcement Appeal can be dealt with at the same time.’
She said that as an unregistered site it could still be used, under permitted development rights, for caravan rallies that last no longer than five days, and for camping and caravanning for 28 days in a year.
The majority of members voted for an enforcement notice to be served.