Bike centre gets go-ahead despite residents’ concerns

An artist's impression of the new Dales Bike Centre courtyard.

The new management plan for the Dales Bike Centre must be enforced, North Yorkshire County councillor John Blackie told the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority’s planning committee on Tuesday.

Like the rest of the committee he fully approved of the plans put forward by Stuart and Brenda Price to double the size of the Dales Bike Centre at Fremington in Swaledale.

But the committee had heard that some residents were unhappy especially as the Bike Centre had not complied with the planning conditions included with the original permission ten years ago.

Paul Evans, on behalf of the residents in Low Fremington, told the committee that, contrary to the original planning conditions, the café was not only being used by cyclists but by other day trippers who arrived by car.

He said that residents had not complained about breaches in planning conditions and any disturbances because they had tried to be good neighbours. He continued:

“This new proposal will result in a much large scale 24-hour a day operation which we are told we now have to police by the way of a telephone number – and the impact will increase dramatically.

“Very limited steps have been taken to relieve our concerns. The best we are offered is a six-foot wooden fence that may be better than the previous screening which was never delivered.

“This is a huge development dwarfing the village and creating a tourism hub in a residential location. It has been claimed this will have no impact on either the landscape or local amenity. However, we would say this view has been influenced and skewed by the potential economic gain.”

He asked if the car parking area at the Bike Centre could be moved away from nearby properties and a high stone wall in place of the wooden fence.

Mrs Price said: “We have made every effort to minimise the impact and considered how to manage the expanded business. We are deeply passionate about our community and take an active part in it.

“We felt our home village of Fremington was an ideal location to tackle the emerging cycle tourism market. It’s been an amazing time. We have been part of a huge explosion in cycling and cycle tourism in the Yorkshire Dales.

“Our development will provide the vital infrastructure to support the Swale Trail and capitalise on the legacies of the Tour de Yorkshire whilst allowing us to be at the forefront of cycling in Yorkshire.”

Cllr Blackie said how grateful he was for such entrepreneurs who supported the local economy and local communities as well as providing so much pleasure and enjoyment for visiting cyclists.

Richmondshire District Council councillor Yvonne Peacock agreed stating: “This application is spot on. We have got to try and encourage people and this is a good way to do it. They [Mr and Mrs Price] have done a wonderful job.”

When members asked about the original planning conditions not being kept they were assured that the new management plan would be secured with a section 106 legal agreement.

ARC News Service