Owner of Dales pub facing enforcement action over plans to turn premises into house

The Moorcock Inn. Photo: John Illingworth.

The owner of a Yorkshire Dales pub could face enforcement action over changes to the building and her plans to turn the premises into a house.

Officers at the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority (YDNPA) have proposed that legal action be taken against the owner of the Moorcock Inn in Garsdale.

Under the plans submitted by owner Jo Cox, the bar area at the Moorcock Inn would become residential space while the former manager’s flat and office would become a tearoom.

The application submitted to the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority (YDNPA) also seeks retrospective permission for the retention of three letting rooms.

The application states that a fall in trade in the pub has prompted the decision to open a tearoom and holiday lets business instead.

However, YDNPA officers are recommending the application be rejected when members meet on Tuesday next week.

They are also proposing that enforcement action should be taken over changes already made at the pub.

The report for members ahead of the meeting concludes: “Whilst current economic issues are understood and taken account of, the proposal is not supported by any evidence to demonstrate that the change of use of the Inn to a dwelling is the only available option.

“Whilst a tearoom, letting rooms and holiday accommodation may be an alternative business model, the proposal is not of equivalent standard to the existing.

“The fencing and signage removal is also visually harmful. Overall, the proposal is considered to be harmful to community vitality, the rural economy, and harmful to the cultural significance of the building.”

The enforcement action, if taken, would stop the manager’s office being used as a tearoom and the pub as a house.

It would also require the removal of all fixtures and fittings used but the tearoom and lettings rooms, and the bar and public areas of the pub to be restored to their original use.

Signage advertising the tearoom would need to be removed and the Moorcock Inn signage reinstated.

The owner would be given six months to comply.

The plans have drawn criticism from local residents and visitors, with more than 20 objections submitted to the national park authority.