Fresh hope has emerged that a crumbling historic mill beside one of the Yorkshire Dales most popular attractions can be saved.
Fears had mounted that The Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority’s planning committee would be left with little option but to reject the first comprehensive plan to rescue and restore the Victorian Yore Mill, at Aysgarth Falls despite it being under “severe threat”.
The landmark building needs urgent repairs as the roof of the grade II listed former corn and woollen mill has collapsed inwards and the building’s fabric is said to be in a poor state and rapidly deteriorating following years of difficulties in developing a suitable use for it.
While the authority’s first purpose is to conserve and enhance the natural beauty, wildlife and cultural heritage of the area, North Yorkshire County Council road bosses had stated a proposed scheme to convert the mill into two flats, six holiday let flats and one local occupancy flat, alongside a visitor centre and a commercial premises would be likely to create road safety hazards and congestion.
The highways bosses department said due to the absence of adequate onsite parking space, the development would lead to more cars parked on the side of the road than already happens during the peak visitor times to the waterfalls and pedestrians walking in the road.
As a result the authority’s planning officers said with regret, they had to recommend the developer Dave Peacock’s plan be refused due to a lack of car parking at the proposed development.
In a report to the meeting, officers stated if the authority was to approve the application, contrary to the advice of the highway authority, it was “faced with replacing one problem with a very different, but also potentially very harmful one”.
However, as the scheme was due to be considered by the committee, members were asked instead to postpone making a decision until its meeting in December as a number of options to overcome the road safety issues were had emerged.
It is understood options include parcels of land near the mill where car parking could be created as well as developing drop off and pick up points.
After member Jocelyn Manners-Armstrong asked officers if the building would be further jeopardised by deferring a decision on the scheme until next month, the meeting was told the structure of the former mill had been secured for the short-term.
Members of the committee agreed to defer a decision on the scheme until next month.