I have finally managed to write reports for the ARC News Service on the meeting of Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority’s ( YDNPA ) planning committee on October 3, 2023 when the following were discussed: a proposed barn conversion at Chapel le Dale; a caravan at a farm near Stainforth; and a new agricultural building at a farm near Dent. The debate about an application to extend Aysgarth Falls Hotel is covered separately.
Pip Pointon reports on these meetings as part of the commitment of the Association oRura f l Communities to local democracy.
Chapel le Dale
Cllr David Ireton (North Yorkshire Council) got a measuring wheel and measured the visibility splay from Green Slack Barn on the B6255 near Chapel le Dale himself just to be sure he had the correct information for the committee, he said.
He disagreed with the Highways Authority that the visibility splays from the access to the barn from the B6255 were insufficient. The Highways Authority and the planning officer had recommended that the application to convert the traditional barn for local occupancy or short-term holiday lets should be refused because the required visibility of 215 metres onto a 60mph road could not be achieved when looking in either direction. Cllr Ireton said he had measured 186m in one direction and 166m in the other.
He said: ‘This is an existing access. It has been used for years and there have never been any accidents. In fact, the biggest danger on that road is sheep. The applicants worked very hard with our officer to get a satisfactory design. I honestly do not think that access is a danger to the public .’
Cllr Robert Heseltine (North Yorkshire Council) commented that the committee had approved the conversion of roadside barns with much shorter visibility displays than this one had.
But Member Mark Corner said: ‘In my mind the visibility isn’t acceptable – If the barn was occupied full time and the occupants knew the road I think the risk would be lower [than if a holiday let]. This area is also visited very frequently by high speed motor bike riders who come tearing along this road. To me it doesn’t feel like a safe proposition.’
Cllr Richard Foster (North Yorkshire Council) suggested that if the access was levelled it would make it easier for vehicles to make a faster and safer exit. Cllr Ireton and the majority of the committee agreed that the decision should be delegated back to the planning officer to have further discussions with the applicant about the access.
‘There’s too many of us old farmers,’ commented Member Allen Kirkbride. He and the majority of the committee agreed that a young family should be encouraged to develop a new farm at Sherwood Brow near Stainforth.
The applicant’s agent, Sarah Ettridge, said a survey showed over 85 per cent of those currently working in farming were over 45 years old and added that the next generation needed to be encouraged to ensure that the industry remained viable.
The retrospective application for a static caravan for a full-time worker at Sherwood Brow was approved. The planning officer had explained that the agricultural enterprise was relatively new and the long-term financial viability of the business could not be demonstrated at this stage. She said that the siting of a residential caravan there for three years would provide the young couple with an opportunity to establish the farm and then apply for a rural worker’s dwelling. The caravan must be removed after three years.
A local vet had stated: ‘As a young couple, and a progressive local business that is sympathetic to the traditions and culture of the Yorkshire Dales, every effort should be made to support them and their business – and by providing 24-hour provision it would not only benefit the health and welfare of their stock. It would be a positive contribution to their health and welfare – allowing them and their business to function to its full potential and thereby contributing to the Yorkshire Dales National Park.’
Cllr Heseltine pointed out that, although lambing and calving would be at Sherwood Brow, the vast majority of the farm land was far away. Other members regretted that this was a retrospective application and asked the young farmer to ensure he used the planning process in the future.
Stainforth Parish Council had objected on the basis that it would set a precedent in allowing static residential caravans on agricultural land and ‘creation of farms wherever they want’. This was not accepted by the head of development management, Richard Graham.
The caravan, however, will have to be moved to a less obvious position and clad in timber. The conditions included a landscaping scheme and suitable biodiversity enhancement.
The application for a new farm building at Cherry Tree Farm at Greenwood How near Dent was approved.
Cllr Heseltine remarked during the debate that the farmyard there brought farming into disrepute.
He, like other members, accepted the new building could well be used to tidy up the farmyard but there were critical comments about the application being retrospective. Cllr Foster commented: ‘Here again someone has done something without our permission and it’s really starting to annoy me because we either have a planning process or we haven’t. is there a better location on that site for this building?’
‘Yes, it is annoying. It is just as annoying for officers as it is for members,’ replied Richard Graham. He said officers preferred to enter into negotiations to get something better before anything was built.
Cllr Heseltine said that although he didn’t like anyone going ahead without planning permission the building was now there and he believed the situation could be improved if strict conditions were applied for landscaping.
Cllr Ian Mitchell (Westmorland and Furness Council) believed the main reason Dent Parish Council had objected was to highlight the fact that the planning process hadn’t been adhered to. ‘There seems to be more and more of this happening – when people just do thins and then come back retrospectively.’
The parish council had told the Authority: ‘Whilst the council recognises that the approval of this building may lead to the clearance of the farmyard (something which the council has been working with the enforcement officer on for many months), the council feels that the barn is in the wrong location and is a bit of an eyesore as you approach the village from the West. Furthermore, the council believes that the building is far too big to be a sheep barn and is more likely to be used to store machinery and hay and should be recognised as such.
The council objects to this application in the current location and suggests that the building would be better placed further to the east of its current location, tucked under the shoulder of the hill where it would be less visible.’
Mr Corner asked if they had any control over the mess on some farms. Mr Graham replied that they did have the power to serve notice to tidy up but that was separate from the retrospective application.
The majority accepted the officer’s recommendation to approve. She explained: ‘The proposed development is justified and serves the agricultural needs of the agricultural unit. The building is set on the edge of the existing building group of traditional buildings. The solar array will form a sustainable renewable energy source and the proposal will only have a limited impact on the character and appearance of the locality.’