YDNPA – Planning committee March 2024

Reports by the ARC News Service on the meeting of  Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority’s  ( YDNPA ) planning committee on March 12, 2024  when the following were discussed:   how culvert work in Bishopdale affected a gill; amendments to approved plans for Linton Camp; a barn conversion in Dentdale; signage in Carrs Lane and shepherds huts at the old fish farm at Grassington; and detailed plans for an agricultural worker’s dwelling at Appersett.


Interfering with nature and diverting becks was not good practice,  North Yorkshire councillor Robert Heseltine told the planning committee. He wasn’t the only member who warned about bypassing nature when the retrospective application for a drainage pipe at East Lane Farm  was discussed  (see below).

In one objection a resident in Bishopdale reported seeing earth dumped on the gill behind that farm and a conservation officer’s report  did not clarify the situation. The latter stated: ‘There is material (e.g. old pipes, wire, farm waste) that has been deposited into the watercourse, but it is difficult to determine exactly how much was dumped by previous owners or tenants and how much was deposited when earth was spread over the top of buried piping/culverting most recently.’

On the YDNHPA’s Citizens Portal there are some carefully considered objections including this one: ‘The management of water is of high priority in a changing climate, and the management of upland water is critical to rural and urban areas alike.

‘The replacement of a natural gill with a plastic water pipe will cause major problems locally and downstream. At a time when various organisations, including the YDNPA, are experimenting with brush and wool leaky dams to slow the egress of water from higher moorland, it seems short sighted and extremely problematic to then allow a development which will significantly speed up the flow of water from the moors.

‘This development, if permitted, would increase localised flooding at the base of the pipe due to the inability of local drainage to deal with the increased flow, and also downstream as water from the moorland would enter the Bishopdale beck at a greater rate leading to an increased risk of downstream flooding.

‘The national park should be encouraging natural water channels with the obstacles and baffles naturally inherent, to try and slow the entry of water into lower watercourses. As the climate becomes more uncertain, this risk will be increased, and once the original gill goes out of use it will undergo changes that will prevent it coming back into future use.’

Another objector stated: ‘If flooding poses a legitimate concern, proper surveys by qualified experts should be conducted. These surveys should prioritize natural flood alleviation measures aligned with current best practices and sympathetic to maintaining the natural environment.’

This, however, wasn’t done as the Lead Local Flood Authority was not consulted .  It is not surprising, therefore,  that people are questioning the YDNPA’s ability to protect this special landscape.



‘We are supposed to be preserving nature but what we are doing here is bypassing nature,’ commented Westmorland and Furness councillor Graham Simpkins during the discussion about the retrospective application for the installation of a drainage pipe in a field near East Lane Farm buildings in Bishopdale.

The planning officer reported: ‘At the top of the field, a stone-lined trough has been formed adjacent to the gill, serving as the water intake. From here, an HDPE [high density polyethylene] pipe sits within a (now covered), trench. The pipe runs below ground adjacent to the lower portion of the gill for 140 metres, before joining into the existing culverted system, which is piped into the existing highway surface water drainage system.

‘Whilst the design solution has worked, it has been carried out without the benefit of Land Drainage Consent having been sought from the Lead Local Flood Authority [North Yorkshire Council], and without the benefit of planning permission. It has also extended the amount of straight-line culverting; by-passing the lower part of a gill that would likely have assisted in “slowing the flow” of surface water into the existing piped drainage system.’

She concluded that the work was minor in scope, had negligible landscape impact and did not adversely affect biodiversity.

The committee did approve the application in accordance with her recommendation but with an added condition about a drainage management scheme being agreed with the landowners to ensure that water will continue to flow down the gill and that the pipework only took any excess rainwater.

The applicants, Robert and Helen Brown, had informed the planning officer that water flowed down the field into the farm buildings when the gill could not take the volume of water.

North Yorkshire councillor Yvonne Peacock said they should have applied for planning permission first so that a full assessment could have been made before work started. She had asked the committee to discuss the application because a lot of people in Bishopdale had reported seeing the gill being filled in.

One of those residents had told the Authority that the retrospective nature of the application bypassed crucial stages in responsible development including a prior assessment of changes to a natural watercourse and wildlife habitats.

The Authority’s wildlife conservation officer had initially objected on the grounds that the work amounted to the infilling of a natural gill. After a visit to the site, however, the officer stated the gill still existed and added: ‘It is clear that the watercourse cannot flow all of the time or even for lengthy periods because there are substantial trees growing in the stream bed. There is material (e.g. old pipes, wire, farm waste) that has been deposited into the watercourse, but it is difficult to determine exactly how much was dumped by previous owners or tenants and how much was deposited when earth was spread over the top of buried piping/culverting most recently.’

Member Allen Kirkbride said: ‘I am not complaining about the pipe, but what I would  like to say is that the water [should be] still running down the gill but at a smaller rate and the overflow is made to go down this big pipe. So we are getting the best of both worlds.’

The head of development management, Richard Graham, commented: ‘One problem is that work has already [been] carried out.’ He said that, as far as he understood it, the pipe was there to take the water when the gill couldn’t cope and the excess rainwater then flowed onto the highway.

After the meeting when  I asked for the wording of the additional condition Mr Graham informed me: ‘The decision notice for this application has not been issued yet as we have asked the applicant to produce the drainage details that the committee asked for. When we have satisfactory details the permission will include a condition that requires the works to be carried out and maintained thereafter.’

I also asked if  the Authority could have waited for the LLFA report on the drainage before bringing the application to the planning committee. To which he replied:

‘The Lead Local Flood Authority (North Yorkshire Council) confirmed that it had no comments to make on the application but noted that the landowner would have needed Land Drainage Consent and that they would contact the landowner to discuss culverting the watercourse. Whilst this non-committal response did not help this Authority consider the issues raised by the planning application it is not a reason to withhold determining the planning application for an indefinite period. A fundamental tenet of the planning system is that planning authorities should not try to duplicate the role and remit of other separate consent regimes.’

Linton camp

‘It seems incredible to me that with the climate emergency that we should caving in to a development that is portraying itself as providing a green environment with hobbit style grass roofed huts and then sticking wood burners in,’ commented  North Yorkshire councillor Simon Myers about the application by Linton Regeneration Company to amend the approval it had been given to develop Linton Camp.

Whereas the original application included wood burners in nine holiday lodges the amended plans also have them in the 24 self-contained ‘serviced’ holiday units which will replace hotel rooms in the main building. It was due to the inclusion of so many more wood burners that the committee decided to defer making a decision.

The committee was told that planning officers had repeatedly recommended that the wood burners be omitted due to the amount of CO2 and small particulate pollutants that they emit and that this contradicted the company’s statement in its sustainability appraisal about  ‘producing an innovative and exemplar development’.

Linton Regeneration Company had responded, however, that ‘there was an absolute expectation from the target market groups that this would be a key element in the experiences being sought in the proposed development.’ The planning officer commented ‘It would appear the wood burners are an aesthetic addition rather than a practical one for heating purposes.’ The heating will include air and ground source pumps and solar panels.

She understood that the company wanted to change the proposed hotel to self-contained units as it had learnt from existing local businesses that it would be very difficult to find 200 to 250 full time and part time staff. The amended development would probably require 30 full time staff and potentially 20 part time cum seasonal staff.

The central building will have a 36 per cent reduced area than that approved for the hotel with the roof being 1.2m lower. It will contain a spa, a gym, 24-seat cinema, a two-lane bowling alley, a bar and a restaurant which will also be open to local residents and guests staying in nearby villages, the planning officer stated.

To its previous objections which included what it  saw as the excessive scale of the development and its impact on the protected landscape, Linton Parish Council added that the amendment meant a reduction in local employment opportunities.

Cllr  Robert Heseltine described the amended application as a pale shadow of the original, the latter having turned out to be a carrot for something entirely different.

He added: ‘I do think this is a massive missed opportunity. You could have done so much good on this site for local families with affordable housing.’

North Yorkshire councillor Richard Foster said the development would be highly visible in the open countryside. What had been  important to him was the provision of employment –  ‘If this had come back offering more staff accommodation I would have been far more forgiving.’

Member Jim Munday commented, however, ‘This site was derelict for over 30 years. Two years ago we agreed with the proposals to build a hotel. Two years later … the applicant has come back with a modified proposal, which is smaller, it is less intrusive. I believe we should welcome the wider range of accommodation in the National Park.  If it wasn’t for the wood burning stoves I would [approve of] this application.


The impact of the increasing number of holiday lets and second homes on local communities was discussed when considering an application which included the conversion of a traditional barn near Dent for guest accommodation.

Dent Parish Council had objected to this because it has its own policy against holiday let accommodation. It stated: ‘Dentdale currently experiences a high percentage of holiday lets and the sustainability of the village and its infrastructure will suffer because of this.’

It did support the internal reconfiguration and extension of the existing farmhouse which is beside the barn at East Clint.

Member Neil Heseltine told the committee: ‘I quite like this development – there’s lots of thought put into it. It respects the integrity of both buildings.’

He said he was extremely happy that Dent Parish Council had objected to a barn being converted for holiday lets as that brought the Authority’s own policy under scrutiny.

The present Local Plan allows for traditional barns to be converted either for holiday lets or local accommodation and the committee’s adhered to this. Permission was granted for the work on the farmhouse, the barn and other facilities.

‘I hear the concerns of the parish council,’ remarked Member Libby Bateman and referred to the government trying to do something about holiday lets and second homes as the proliferation of these was a problem for many parish councils.

Allen Kirkbride said he had every sympathy with Dent Parish Council as in his village, Askrigg, almost 40 per cent of the dwellings were holiday lets: 43 holiday cottages, 24 second homes plus several Airbnbs. ‘This is having an effect on the life of the villages. It is something we as a park authority should think about before we are taken over.’ He added that he owned two barn conversions which were  holiday lets.

Cllr Peacock told the committee that the teashop in Bainbridge could not be open every day due to lack of staff.

She said: ‘Unless you start providing homes for people to live and work here it will be no use coming to a holiday cottage because there will be nowhere to eat. We won’t  have people coming because they won’t be able to get a cup of tea or a pint of beer.’ For this reason the Authority had to consider this policy carefully when preparing the new Local Plan, she added.

Cllr Robert Heseltine also would have preferred the barn to be used for local accommodation. He commented that, to him, the barn was classic of the late 17th century. ‘I just hope the detail respects the integrity of that building.’

Cllr Foster pointed out that at that meeting the committee had approved just one house to be lived in permanently – all the other developments had been for holiday lets.


It didn’t take long for the committee to agree with a planning officer that two fascia signs could be displayed on what is now called ‘Siegfied’s Retreat’ in Carrs Lane, Grassington.

Grassington Parish  Council had objected to the sign on the front of the building at first floor level because, it said, it would be out of character with the adjoining conservation area and would set an inappropriate precedent for advertising first floor business premises.

The planning officer, however, stated: ‘The sign on the front of the building is one of two signs on the frontage. The other sign at the property [advertising an Estate Agent] is a red, white and blue sign which is prominent and bolder in appearance than the sign seeking consent. [This] sign is black with cream letters and is in keeping with the character and use of both the building and the surrounding …shops, cafes and pubs.’ She believed the sign would not visually harm the conservation area.

The owner, Alan Biggin, who introduced himself as a chartered accountant from Bradford, said that after he bought the property three years ago the upper two floors were converted into a holiday let. He felt that the sign was not too big, and was attractive as it had a traditional aura about it.

North Yorkshire councillor David Ireton said: ‘I don’t see anything offensive in this sign whatsoever,’ and agreed with Mr Biggin that the sign below it stood out much more. He told the committee that the holiday let sign  had been taken down whilst awaiting a decision on the application.


The decision to approve installing four shepherd huts for holiday lets on the site of what was a fish farm on Old Mill Lane, Grassington, was just as quickly made.

The planning officer explained that originally the applicant had applied for four holiday lodges but the Environment Agency had objected as there was a flood risk at the site. There was no objection to the shepherd huts as these will be high enough above ground level. The applicant must also have a flood management plan which includes a place of safety.

The application included a building for storing bikes and bins, plus a new garden for the applicant’s house, Riverside Grange.

The planning officer said that the proposed development would significantly aid nature recovery on the site through the removal of unsightly redundant structures and hardstanding and the enhancement through landscaping, walling and tree planting. She added that the site was already sufficiently screened and enclosed by high hedging and fencing.

Grassington Parish Council had, however, objected arguing that shepherd’s huts were not typical to the stone vernacular of the Dales; that the unmetalled access road with no turning space was not suitable; and wood burning stoves were polluting. It added that the local planning authority should have ‘special regard’ to the architectural and historic character of listed buildings, and the preservation and enhancement of the character and appearance of conservation areas.

The planning officer reported that the applicant will install bioethanol burners instead of wood burning stoves.

Cllr Foster pointed out that the fish farm employed up to two people whereas the new use would provide employment for only a couple of hours a week.

The planning officer replied that the low level of employment at the fish farm before it closed a number of years ago was not sufficient to protect this as an employment site.


The detailed designs for an agricultural worker’s dwelling at Woody Bank, Appersett, were unanimously approved.

The application was determined by the committee as it had been made by a member of the Authority’s staff.  Outline permission was granted in August 2022 and the latest application included details of the external appearance, site layout, scale of development and landscaping.

Member Neil Heseltine commented: ‘I really like the contemporary design and materials.’

In his report, the planning officer stated that two trees had been removed for safety reasons and that a tree planting scheme had been agreed.

Cllr Peacock told the committee she had visited the area recently and that the remaining trees would provide sufficient screening between the new house and a neighbouring one.

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