Park authority gets High Court injunction over ‘Giraffe House’ barn

A view of the barn from below the farm before it was taken down.

Yorkshire Dales planning officers have gone to the High Court to obtain an injunction to force a farmer to lower the height of a barn.

Coverdale farmer Andrew Avison, of Middlefields Farm in Melmerby, has been ordered to reduce the height of the building or demolish it by 18 January 2019.

If he fails to comply with the injunction issued by the court in Leeds today, he will be in contempt of court, an offence punishable by imprisonment.

Mr Avison built the 13-metre high structure in 2014 after a barn previously on the site burnt down.

The building was built so high it has been nicknamed the ‘Giraffe House’ by local villagers.

However, Mr Avison failed to get planning permission for the building, which was almost five metres higher than the one it replaced and is one of the highest buildings in the Yorkshire Dales National Park.

The farmer applied for retrospective planning permission from Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority (YDNPA).

However, this was refused and officials ordered him to demolish the building or reduce its height to the same as the barn it had replaced.

Mr Avison failed to comply with this enforcement notice and he appeared in Northallerton Magistrates’ Court last year where he pleaded guilty to the breach.

The barn has, however, still not been lowered.

It was the first time in its 21-year history that the YDNPA had sought such an injunction.

YDNPA member champion for development management, Jim Munday, said: “We have tried everything to avoid this day.

“Quietly and without fuss, after receiving a complaint from a member of the public in 2014, we asked Andrew Avison to reduce the height of the building.

“He was given many months to carry out the work. But time and again he has refused to cooperate, regarding himself as above the rules. He has proved to be particularly difficult in his dealings with the authority.

“Throughout this unfortunate case, the authority has acted only to retain the public’s confidence in the planning system.

“I hope that Andrew Avison listens to the High Court, so that the case can quickly be brought to a close.”

1 Comment

  1. It’s very interesting to read Jim Munday’s comment, “the authority has acted only to retain the public’s confidence in the planning system.” The poor deluded chap, the public haven’t had confidence in the authority’s planning system since the building of there offices at Bainbridge!

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