Forbidden Corner ‘should pay for road repairs’, says council

The castle folly build at Forbidden Corner. Photo: YDNPA

The owner of Forbidden Corner in Coverdale should pay for some of the cost of repairing the road to this popular tourist attraction according to Middleham Town Council.

The council has asked the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority’s (YDNPA) planning committee to consider placing a condition on the latest retrospective planning application by Colin Armstrong asking him to contribute towards the additional costs of retexturing  the road, particularly from the western end of Middleham to Forbidden Corner .

The town council is particularly concerned about the impact the developing visitor attraction is having on the roads and the safety of racehorses and riders.  The inevitable increase in traffic levels along the narrow roads would lead to the surfaces deteriorating rapidly it said.

Although it does not object to the re-development of Bell Barn to provide catering facilities alongside the Saddle Rooms the council has asked the YDNPA planning committee to consider imposing more conditions when it meets on Tuesday February 13.

Its concern about the danger to racehorses and riders led to the town council pointing to the damage being caused by large goods vehicles and delivery vans to the road across Low Moor to the northerly entrance to Forbidden Corner.

It stated: “The Moors are held in trust by the council and leased to Middleham Trainers’ Association. The route is clearly signed as a private road and Public Bridleway only.”

It continued: “Council objects strongly to extending opening hours for the altered structure: business hours for the Forbidden Corner have been restricted on grounds of the potential danger to ridden horses and disturbance created by vehicles moving through Middleham at night and during the morning training hours from dawn to 1pm.”

The hours considered acceptable by the planning officer for Bell Barn are 12am to 11pm Monday to Saturday, and 12am to 9pm on Sundays and Public Holidays.

The town council is also unhappy that yet another retrospective application appeared to be part of an established practice by Mr Armstrong.

It said: “The important contribution of the site to the local economy is fully recognised by the council, indeed we include the Forbidden Corner within our Middleham business forum and wish to support them as we do all other local businesses and enterprise.

“It is disappointing always only to be able to comment in retrospect, when construction has been undertaken without any permission. Planning rules apply equally to all businesses and residents.”

The planning officer has recommended approval of the application. He reported: “The re-development of the courtyard building which has occurred has created an additional indoor visitor facility at an existing visitor attraction and has potential benefits for the local community.

“Although the development has resulted in loss of part of an undesignated heritage asset the former stables are not considered as having been worth of retention for their own sake.

“The siting, design and appearance of the redeveloped courtyard building is considered to be acceptable and has not caused significant harm to the landscape, residential amenity or highways safety.”


  1. The forbidden corner not only brings to its self but also to the local area and all the local businesses.
    It’s a huge draw card to get people to Middleham and surrounding areas.
    If the forbidden corner was not here the local businesses wouldn’t be doing as well in the holiday and summer periods.
    Maybe think about the other impacts rather than just the horse side of things.

  2. In the Catterick and Tunstall areas, the shoe is on the other hoof. Traffic has to contend with horse transporters often too large to be comfortably accommodated on the roads, and riders tend to use the roads instead of bridle paths. Perhaps the equestrian community could make a bigger contribution to road maintenance and improvements.

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