Planners demand heritage features are restored to Swaledale house

Underbanks, between Richmond and Reeth.

By Pip Land

A unilateral legal undertaking must be made by the owner of Underbanks on the Reeth Road near Hudswell to carry out remedial work, the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority’s planning committee agreed this week.

Retrospective planning permission to retain alterations and extensions to the Grade II listed building and the conversion of agricultural buildings to form additional living accommodation will be subject to the legal obligation to ensure that some heritage features are re-instated within six months.

When driving from Richmond towards Reeth Underbanks makes a bold statement just inside the national park, the meeting heard.

This is because an appeal inspector gave conditional approval for a wrap-around extension with large windows to be added to a barn.

But a planning officer reported: “Following a number of site visits and a visit by the listed buildings officer, it was determined that the development was so fundamentally in breach of the May 2015 consents, which were dependent on pre-commencement conditions, as to invalidate the previous permission.

“Since the submission of the current application, there have been extensive negotiations with the applicant despite the seriousness of the offence involved.”

The committee was told that Mr Davies was now proposing to take down the ashlar stonework on the wrap-around extension and rebuild the north and east elevations with random rubble stonework to match the existing building.

The planning officer said that agreement had been reached about the window frames, roofing materials, lintels and other features but stated: “The sawmill appears to have been demolished and rebuilt and the horizontal and vertical stepped stonework has been lost during the reconstruction.

“The sawmill was a very unusual building and the stepping of the wall seems to be a rare feature. The current plans show that the horizontal step would be partially re-instated with the windows being reduced in height.

“As the heritage significance has been lost through demolition of the former sawmill, it is considered that the re-instatement of part of the step would be acceptable.”

He added: “The stair tower into the courtyard is an important feature of the building, of 17th century origin, and consequently it is important that this is preserved in its original form.”

The height, however, has been increased and it is proposed to reduce this. The Authority also wants to see a stone staircase and the courtyard cobbles replaced.

Committee member Julie Martin asked how they could ensure such a situation would not occur again and was told that the issue of compliance and monitoring was under review.

From the ARC News Service