Hawes Methodist Church conversion plans rejected

Hawes Methodist Church before its closure.

A controversial plan to convert a church in Hawes into holiday accommodation has been rejected.

The Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority planning committee heard the scheme to transform Hawes Methodist Church and Sunday School to three apartments and two cottages for holiday let accommodation was “a step too far”.

Members of the authority were divided after finding The Yorkshire Dales Local Plan aimed to deliver sustainable development in the national park, while aiming to achieve the conservation and enhancement of traditional buildings by allowing them to be adapted or converted to new uses.

The meeting heard that accusations by the applicants had been directed at the parish council chairman and planning committee member John Blackie, but the complaints had been unsubstantiated.

Conversations over the future of the church were held with other Christian groups from May 2013, and the only community group using the school rooms had been the Women’s Institute. The last service was held in the church in April 2014.

The meeting was told the building had been advertised for at least three years for a community use and there had been no interest expressed by a community group or user.

Members heard while no extensions or demolitions were proposed and the existing railings and gates at the front were to be retained, no off-street parking would be provided, which had been a major bone of contention within the town.

A park authority officer said: “The parish council has not suggested any community group that may make use of the building and no community groups have come forward expressing an interest in taking on the building.

“The maintenance costs of such a large building are likely to be beyond the means of many local community organisations.”

Parish council chairman Councillor John Blackie said concerns over parking provision had been key to the decision to refuse the application.

He said it was clear a new use for the church building was needed and a better use could be made of the building than had been proposed with the holiday lets.

As this decision was against officer recommendation it will need to be ratified at the planning committee meeting in March.

2 Comments

  1. Parking is a BIG problem in Church Street already. We stayed at a pretty holiday cottage there but our car was constantly blocked in by cars parking in the narrow road and once a car parked completely across the end of the road junction and went shopping. We had to try and reverse back down the narrow road to get out nearly causing an accident. NOT a good idea to have more holiday let’s.

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