No enforcement action needed at Marske Hall, say planning officers

Marske Hall. Photo: David Rodgers.

No enforcement action is to be taken against the owner of a historic stables in the Yorkshire Dales after residents claimed it was being transformed into a “party house”.

Marske Hall Stables was visited by planning enforcement officers last month following concerns over how owner Ian Morton intended to use the Grade II-listed building once conversion works were completed.

Officers found there had been no breaches of approved plans to convert the stables into holiday accommodation, although two oil tanks had been installed and a stone wall raised without consent.

A retrospective application for these changes has since been submitted.

Speaking at a meeting on Tuesday, Martyn Coy, planning enforcement officer at the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority, said: “On 26 May we had a complaint from a local resident that works were going on which according to them were unauthorised.

“The main concern was that two large oil tanks had been located close to the listed building. I contacted the owner and it was agreed that an application would be put in.

“In the intermediate weeks, I had further people contact me with their concerns. These included the loss of car parking for guests and the unauthorised use of the building as a party venue.

“I went and visited the site and what I found was that the building was currently being refurbished. As such, no events or unauthorised use had yet taken place.”

Tuesday’s meeting also heard how the unauthorised tarmacking of the site entrance had taken place and that Highways officers were investigating.

The site sits within the 19-acre grounds of Marske Hall where Mr Morton’s previous plans to transform the hall into a wedding venue and aparthotel were rejected in February over the impact on listed buildings and the village of Marske.

Under the latest plans, approved designs for the stables had included doorways being blocked up but what officers found during their visit was that new double doors had instead been installed.

This sparked questions over why guest rooms needed to be connected but a spokesperson for Mr Morton said this was done “in order to meet fire safety regulations”.

The spokesperson added: “The holiday lets are all still self-contained but there is the necessity of requiring double timber doors for occupant safety.

“The scheme has been developed as 10 holiday let units. This use is fully in accord with the planning permission granted.

“If groups of persons choose to book several different units in the property, there is no planning legislation which could stop this happening. This is exactly how any holiday let facility would operate.

“As previously discussed, Marske Stables is a place for all to enjoy – 80% of bookings are families and those who want to experience the Dales in all its glory.

“Mr Morton will be holding a number of open days for the local community to come and experience the stables for themselves.”

At Tuesday’s meeting, members of the National Park planning committee asked that the site be closely monitored in the future, with membRichard Good saying there is “terrible concern” amongst residents in the village.

In response, planning officer Martyn Coy said: “We have rights as an authority to monitor the use of the property to ensure that it is not used outside of its authorised planning use – and that is what we will be doing.”