A large field barn at Long Shaw near Bainbridge may be beautiful and large enough for a family home but converting it would be against policy the planning committee of the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority (YDNPA) decided by an eight to seven vote at its March meeting.
Edward Scarr told the meeting that it would make a suitable family home given its location on the family farm.
“It would be ideal for my work. We have four young children under the age of six and want to convert the barn into a family home.”
He said that he and his wife, Gwen, had always lived and worked in Wensleydale and converting the barn would enable them to raise their family on the farm. Mrs Scarr attended the meeting with their daughter Faye who was born in late February.
They heard several committee members speak in support of the planning officer who had stated that the YDNPA’s policy required that to be suitable for conversion a barn had to be in an existing settlement or building group, or be close to or adjoining a road.
He reported that the barn at Long Shaw was 110 metres from a road and would require a long track to be created and a significant length of walling to be moved to provide access to a road. He added:
“Although the proposed works to the barn are relatively well designed, it is in a very prominent and exposed position in the landscape.
“Its conversion to a permanently occupied dwelling would have a negative effect on the landscape that arises from the replacement of a simple, unadorned traditional farm building with a dwelling that has car parking, lighting, curtilage development, new access road and significant alterations to the existing roadside walls and the character of the road itself.”
Julie Martin agreed that this would be an intensive use of the barn which would have an impact upon the landscape.
“It has been demonstrated there is a need but not at that location. The applicant has been asked to explore an alternative option,” she said.
Mr and Mrs Scarr had been told that, as it was accepted there wasn’t sufficient housing at the farm for the required number of agricultural workers, it was possible that an application for a new build dwelling at Yorescott Steading, where the ewes were lambed, would be acceptable.
To this North Yorkshire County councillor John Blackie remarked that a new build might have more impact upon the landscape than a sympathetically converted barn.
Another North Yorkshire County councillor, Richard Welch, pointed out that many farmhouses were far from a road.
“In ten years time you wouldn’t know it was a barn conversion,” he said.
Eden District councillor William Patterson agreed and asked if the YDNPA was going to pay for the upkeep of such buildings in the future – or would the owners be expected to keep them up as a national asset?
He and others were concerned that if it was no longer needed for agricultural purposes and was not converted into the dwelling it would fall into disrepair and disappear.
“Is it true that we would rather see a non-designated heritage asset [disappear] when there is a family who wish to make use of it?” asked Lancashire County councillor Cosima Towneley.
“I can not think of a better way of using an agricultural heritage that will otherwise go to waste,” she added.
ARC News service