Police called to remove farmer from national park authority meeting

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

Police were called to a meeting of the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority (YDNPA) today after a farmer in dispute with the authority refused to leave.

Officers were called after Coverdale farmer Andrew Avison declined to leave the monthly planning meeting when the session became a private hearing at the authority’s Bainbridge headquarters.

Mr Avison is in dispute with the authority after breaching planning rules for a shed he built so high it was nicknamed the ‘Giraffe House’ by local villagers.

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

However, it was built without planning permission.

An enforcement notice was issued by the park authority when Mr Avison refused to dismantle the building.

In November he appeared in court for failing to comply with this enforcement notice where he pleaded guilty to the breach.

The authority’s planning committee met today to discuss four planning applications in public.

It was then due to go into private session to discuss its next step because Mr Avison has still not taken the building down or lowered it to a height deemed acceptable by the authority.

However, Richmondshire Today understands Mr Avison refused to leave when asked by the committee chair.

Witnesses said he repeated claims made in court about the integrity of staff and members at the authority.

Members then debated what to do next and it was decided to adjourn the meeting temporarily.

Police were then called when attempts by chief executive David Butterworth to persuade Mr Avison to leave failed.

It is understood Mr Avison then left the meeting when police arrived in the building.

One witness said: “He caused quite a to-do – I’ve never seen anything like it before.”

Richmondshire Today has attempted to contact Mr Avison but has not yet had a reply.