Concerns over volume of holiday properties in Yorkshire Dales hamlet

Oughtershaw in the Yorkshire Dales National Park. Picture: Google

Concerns have been raised over the high proportion of holiday cottages and second homes in the heart of the Yorkshire Dales after a family which bought a remote farm there unveiled a proposal to build a home and create self-catering holiday pods overlooking the Dales Way trail.

The issue of rising numbers of non-residential properties in the 841sq mile park has resurfaced just months after the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority’s member champion for natural environment called for local authorities to be given the ability to determine the volume of holiday properties in different areas.

As part of an ongoing drive to increase housing for local people in the protected area, Richard Foster said while holiday lets were useful to sustain local businesses such as pubs, limiting the number of holiday let properties would boost efforts to sustain communities.

Following an increase in holiday properties in the national park, some villages are now comprised of up to 60 per cent second homes and holiday cottages.

In a planning application lodged with the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority, agents for Malcolm and Helen Thomas said the couple and their son’s family wanted to live at a farm they had bought in Oughtershaw, near Buckden, but wanted to convert a series of buildings to meet their needs.

The proposal includes converting a barn and a traditional building to create a home, building a garage alongside the existing farmhouse, converting a barn for four self-catering holiday pods and using a room to provide rest stop facilities to walkers and wild campers.

The application states the proposal has potential “to create a lifestyle that facilitates good stewardship of the land with the prospect of ecological enhancement through conservation and rewilding, whilst retaining the traditional grazing of Galloway cattle and the provision of an income stream from tourism.

However, in an objection to the proposal, a resident has listed numerous holiday properties in the hamlet, before telling planners “I think you must agree that that is a lot of holiday places for such a small hamlet”.

He said the only a couple of properties in the hamlet had been kept for local people.

The objector wrote: “You have teachers – dentists – entrepreneurs and second
home owners – which, in my opinion, contributes nothing of any value to
the community.”

Nevertheless, the proposal has been welcomed by Buckden Parish Council, which said the scheme represents “an imaginative and environmentally sensitive approach” to the development of the farm into a financially viable business.

In a letter of support to the authority, a parish spokesman said the development would enhance the tourism offer in the area and provide employment opportunities.

The parish council wrote: “Attracting younger people and families to live in the dales is an important factor in delivering the national park’s sision of being ‘Home to strong, self-reliant and balanced communities….’.

In a letter of support, Ian Brand, president of Wharfedale Naturalists Society, underlined “the need to provide both employment and accommodation if we want people to live and work in the Dales we love”.

Another supporter, the Yorkshire Peat Partnership, said converting the buildings “so that three generations of the family can live together, will mean
that the stewardship of the farm in a nature-led way for many years to come and will ensure the continued sustainable farming practice on the blanket bog”.


  1. They may get a sock if it comes a long bad winter like 1947 and 1963 living there.

    They won’t be able to see the small road on the phone above.

    It’ll be level through wall to wall with snow for weeks as in 1963 up the small road to Walden when they sent in a drop to mark a way in to get in feed for the animals and something to eat for the farmers them selves. But when it got to about 3-30 pm the driver turned round to set off back to West Burton before dark only to find the road back to West Burton he earlier cleared that day had all blown back in with the wind so had to dig his way back to West Burton and had a very very late tea.

    These fancy four wheel drives will just jet stuck in the deep snow and if they leave them stuck on the road the snow will cover it over and when they do finally come when the wind calms down to clear the snow with a big digger or snow blower, if it’s over blower they won’t se it and there won’t be much four wheel drive vehicle left.

    I saw this happening at Bellerby Camp some years ago when the road was overblown, I had to walk from Leyburn to the small water treatment plant when I found two cars almost completely overblower but thank fully after digging down to them I found there was no one in them, so next morning I called in on the local council depot to inform them, but he said I wish you’d told me about an hour ago as I sent a big digger up to clear the road to Bellerby Camp and he fond them when he lifted up the bucket only to find two cars in it.

    Local people in the remote farms know what a bad winters looks like as many were born there. It’s not like living there in the summer months.

  2. I am absolutely astounded to read that the objector felt that teachers and dentists ‘contribute nothing of any value to the community’. I wonder if they will continue to feel like that next time they break a tooth, or when a family member is unable to get a job because they don’t have any qualifications?

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