Emotions boil over as Leyburn country store and hotel plans approved

The site of the proposed development.

Richmondshire’s council leader has condemned residents’ behaviour after a councillor was confronted as emotions boiled over during a planning meeting to decide proposals for a huge country store and hotel.

Richmondshire District Council leader Councillor Angie Dale issued the rebuke after residents repeatedly interrupted a meeting of the authority’s planning committee as it considered a proposal to build a 2,501sq m Sam Turner and Sons country store and play barn and 40-bedroom hotel off Harmby Road, Leyburn.

The meeting saw the development, which will feature outdoor seating areas and a 276-cover restaurant in the hotel, approved after councillors concluded residents would benefit from 50 full-time and 40 part-time jobs at the ventures.

Sam Turner and Sons director Charlie Turner told members the family business had been trading in Leyburn for many years and finding a suitable site “to commit to the town”, as it had in Northallerton, Darlington and Stokesley, was a long-held ambition.

He said the field was likely to be built on sooner or later and the proposed development would be preferable to residents than alternatives such as a housing estate.

Members said they believed the hotel would offer more accommodation choice to visitors and enable more people to visit the Dales, while Sam Turner was a local business with a good reputation that deserved the council’s support.

However, the meeting heard that despite a decision on the proposal being postponed two months ago in a bid to iron out issues with neighbours, some residents felt they had again been overlooked.

Residents said they remained deeply concerned over matters ranging from lorry delivery times and road safety to flooding.

Residents told the committee the garden store, featuring expanses of cladding and glazing, would “obliterate” views of the surrounding countryside and appear an alien structure in Leyburn, particularly as it would be twice the size of the town’s largest shop.

They added a proposed 2.4m acoustic fence on the edge of the development to reflect noise from the development was not high enough due to an incline between the site and the gardens of neighbouring properties.

As the authority’s former deputy leader, Coun Ian Threlfall, questioned whether increasing the height of the fence would create an eyesore one elderly resident walked up to the committee table and challenged him.

The committee’s chairman, Coun John Amsden and other members told the resident to return to his seat six times, but the resident refused saying it was vital Coun Threlfall realised how important gardens were to residents.

Long-serving councillor William Heslop then suggested the resident be ejected from the meeting, to which the resident replied: “Are you going to chuck me out?”

The authority’s leader Councillor Angie Dale then suggested environmental health officers should review the fence height.

She added: “I don’t think members of the public have done themselves any favours, especially coming over to a member who is sat here at the table.

“I know it is emotive and I know that sometimes we have to make decisions that are unfavourable, but that has done no favours whatsoever.”



    • …or the Nimby’s not object to one?.
      They’re going to have to be very precise with that fence height though: a couple of inches too low and there’ll be ‘too much noise’ or an inch too high and it’ll be ‘visually intrusive’.

  1. Once again our ‘green’council takes away more countryside. I don’t know why they bother having ‘public consultations’ and invite the public to speak at planning committee meetings because they never listen to the public!

  2. Richmondshire Council are determined to bring tourists in and inclined to pass any planning application which involves tourism (the planned hotel)
    We are going to end up with a fringe of tourist developments round the National Park, crammed roads and towns in summer, and empty accommodation in winter>
    While appreciating there has been high demand this year, most people will revert to holidays abroad once Covid has settled down.
    I think we need to be careful about this blithe rubber-stamping of holiday accommodation planning applications.
    No quarrel with Sam Turner’s. That provides a service for the area. But there are other businesses in Leyburn which sell the same kind of goods.

  3. Once again, the strength of developers has triumphed over common sense and community spirit.Totally inappropriate for for a hilltop site in such a beautiful area.

  4. It is the Government who set planning Law. Those Laws have been relaxed in the past ten years or so to make it easier for developers to build, including on green field sites. Anyone can submit a development plan and once they do, the planners and the Council have to consider it against the legal framework. They have very little power these days and can only reject it if there is a legal reason and even then, the applicant can challenge the decision. If the decision is overturned, the Council or any other body who has refused planning will have to pay the developers legal costs.

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