Dales barn conversions come to planning committee after controversy

Old Butcher’s Shop at Langthwaite.

After tensions ran high in December about barn conversions the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority’s planning committee found that even the most straight forward of applications were on the agenda at the meeting on Tuesday February 12.

When asked about this by Richmondshire District councillor Yvonne Peacock the Authority’s head of development management, Richard Graham, replied: “I am concerned that officers’ interpretation of policy is somewhat determined by members’ interpretation of policy.

“So, in the interests of consistency in decision making… it is for the best interests of the Authority that these are brought to the committee.”

All five of those applications were quickly approved: three from Wharfedale and two from Arkengarthdale – for the Old Butcher’s Shop at Langthwaite, and Neddy’s Barn, East of Eastfield on the Arkengarthdale Road.

Dan Gracey, the agent for the owner of the Old Butcher’s Shop, described it as an interesting little building in the centre of Langthwaite.

“The back of the building facing the beck is lower than the front and that will contain two bedrooms and a bathroom. The kitchen and living room will be in the upper floor which is level with the road at the front.”

Mr Gracey said the owner had worked closely with the planning officers to achieve an acceptable design.

The planning officer told the committee that the conversion would maintain the character and appearance of the building and would not harm its setting within the village.

North Yorkshire County councillor John Blackie welcomed both this application and that for Neddy’s Barn as Arkengarthdale so needed local occupancy housing.

Richard Coates read a statement by his son, Thomas, about why he wanted to convert Neddy’s Barn into a two-bedroom dwelling.

Thomas recalled that when he attended Arkengarthdale School there were 34 pupils and now, he said, there were only three. He explained he had gone on to qualify as a joiner and had the skills to work on the conversion himself, making it affordable to him.

He said: “I would like the chance to preserve this building for the future while also providing a home for myself.

“This is my one chance to remain in the Dale.”

He added that he would maintain the agricultural character of the barn and there would be minimal impact upon the landscape because no external alterations or extensions were needed.

Cllr Blackie said: “Wasn’t it wonderful to hear somebody of the age of 21 prepared to stay in the Upper Dales for the rest of their life.”

ARC News Service