Latest retrospective planning permission at Forbidden Corner gets approval

The Forbidden Corner. Photo: Paul Brooker.

A retrospective planning application for a site connected to Forbidden Corner in Coverdale drew an exasperated sigh from a member of the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority at a meeting last week.

The visitor attraction has been criticised in the past for repeatedly carrying out work and then requesting planning permission afterwards.

However, a planning officer said that as most of the site for the most recent application was hidden from view the work which had been carried out would have little impact upon the landscape.

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The committee, therefore, accepted his recommendation to approve the application for permission for grading and drainage channels on land to the rear of the Ashgill buildings, the provision of rear access, parking areas, construction of an oil tank compound, planting, landscaping an ancillary works.

The application was described as part-retrospective at the meeting on Tuesday as not all the work had been completed.

Planning committee member Ian McPherson said: “Whenever I see an application with Tupgill Park on it my heart sinks, simply because I know it’s going to be retrospective.

“I would like them to know we really have had enough.”

The planning officer explained that there had been a significant development in the working relationship between the owner of Tupgill Park and the YDNPA.

The authority had received one application (for the demolition of Ashgill Cottage) prior to work starting, and another for an extension to Ghyll Cottage where work had only just started.

The application to demolish Ashgill Cottage and replace it with a building containing four self-catering holiday units had been withdrawn, he added.

The Ashgill complex, he reported, was on the hillside above the Forbidden Corner and consisted of the main  house, several cottages, stable buildings, yards and a  horse walker.

It was, he said, a commercial race horse training and equestrian centre.

Middleham Town Council had informed the authority that it had several concerns about the application.

These included the “piecemeal development on a large site with no coherent design strategy”, the consistent pattern of retrospective applications and the use of the private road to the north of the site.

The  council stated in its response: “There is ongoing vehicle traffic from the site across Middleham Low Moor owned by this council and leased to Middleham Trainers’ Associaition.

“It causes undue wear on a private road and affects the horses under training and crosses a bridleway.

“The operators of the Forbidden Corner make no attempt to restrict this.”

In response, the planning officer saod: “The proposal is a comprehensive solution to the access, parking and drainage issues affecting a definable area of the Ashgill complex.

“As the private road [is] owned by Middleham Town Council they would know who has the right of access and can control it accordingly. The National Park’s Access  Ranger notes that the right of way is indirectly affected but has not objected.”

ARC News Service