Planners approve Arkengarthdale barn conversion despite officers’ recommendation for refusal

By Pip Land

“Please don’t put another nail in the coffin of the sustainable future of Arkengarthdale as a thriving community,” Parish Councillor Stephen Stubbs told the Yorkshire Dales National Park’s planning committee today.

This plea by Cllr Stubbs, who is the chairman of Arkengarthdale Parish Council, was heard as the majority of the committee members voted to approve the application to convert a barn off Bouldershaw Lane.

As this was against the recommendation of the planning officer it will be discussed again at next month’s planning committee. Some of the members emphasised that they wanted assurance that the supply lines to the barn would be undergrounded.

North Yorkshire County Councillor John Blackie stated:  “There is no way the Stones family would do anything to harm the Dale. Everything will be undergrounded to the property.”

He described this as a test case of the National Park’s new policy of allowing roadside barns to be converted into local occupancy homes.

He, like several other members, felt that the barn was just close enough to a road and that, as only modest alterations would be carried out, there would be very little harm to the landscape.

Cllr Stubbs told the committee: “Arkengarthdale is not just a community in the village as the restrictive, tightly drawn boundary suggests. The prescriptive boundary makes it virtually impossible for any developments in the Dale. Our community is actually widespread.

“I respect the Yorkshire Dales National Park and support them in most of their work and policies, although they do need to better represent and support sustainable local communities.”

He listed the facilities which had been lost such as the post office and the shops as it was so difficult for local young people and families to buy properties there.

“Without young people and new families the dale will not survive as a living, working dale. It will become a museum for the privileged,” he argued.

One of those young people was Jack Stones whose grandfather (Clark)  and father have undertaken the gritting and snow ploughing in Arkengarthdale since the 1970s, he said. But Clark Stones was no longer able to do that job anymore and Jack wanted to take over.

If the gritting was not undertaken by a local contractor the roads during icy weather would not be treated until after 8.30am which was too late for the school bus. “This has caused unnecessary risks to the children’s lives,” he added.

From the ARC News Service