A large roadside barn “in the wilderness” along Beggarmans Lane near Gayle can be converted and extended to create a “horse assisted learning” business, the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority’s planning committee agreed this week.
The planning officer told the committee: “The applicant’s therapy is geared towards people who have experienced post traumatic stress disorder as well as people with stress and other mental health issues.
“As well as horse-assisted learning the applicant [Caroline Penman] would use the building as a base for Paleo eating, Craniosacral therapy and mindfulness. The location has been chosen by the applicant for its tranquility and wild nature which is considered to aid the therapy.”
The two-storey Dodds Hall Barn is around two miles south of Gayle and has a stone walled enclosure which will be used for car parking.
The planning officer reported: “What is proposed in this location is a very high intensity employment use requiring the erection of a large first floor extension to the building and the erection of stables, [two] shepherds huts and an outdoor interaction area in the surrounding land.
“The whole field would also be used for equestrian purposes.”
He added that the addition of a large extension, the fact that the barn was not adjacent to or within an existing settlement and that the business was not land-based, meant that the application was not in accordance with policy and so any approval would require a departure from the Local Plan.
Although it was reported that Ms Penman had run a similar, successful business in Cyprus the planning officer warned that there was a degree of risk should this venture fail once Dodds Hall Barn had been converted.
The senior listed building officer had reported: “The external stairs and floating FF extension with balcony and covered GF terrace underneath has a harmful impact on the heritage significance of the barn’s and Dales vernacular architecture in general, and would be visible from the road.”
The committee, however, accepted the planning officer’s argument that the proposal had been relatively well-designed to work with the site itself to minimise its landscape impact and impact on the building.
He said: “Whilst the extension to the building is significant, it is relatively lightweight and would only provide internal living space to one floor with the ground floor forming a sheltered area [for horses].”
He added: “This is a relatively unique site and a unique proposal that would result in economic and social benefits in the locality and has support from the parish council.”
Hawes and High Abbotside Parish Council had told the committee: “It offers a completely new dimension to the all-important tourist sector in the Upper Dales – horse assisted learning.
“The site and the surrounding landscape entirely fits the description of a wilderness, although the town of Hawes is just seven minutes’ drive away.”
The planning committee approved the application for the conversion and extension of the barn to provide visitor accommodation and manager’s dwelling, a change of use of land for equestrian purposes, provision of all weather riding surface, car parking and erection of stable building.
ARC News Service