Swaledale barn conversion approved despite planners’ concerns

The change would affect children living in Keld, in Swaledale. Photo: Carl Bendelow.

The debate between conserving heritage features in the Yorkshire Dales and enabling young families to live in the area has resurfaced as an extension to a barn conversion was approved.

The Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority’s planning committee heard officers had recommended planning permission be refused for the extension in a conservation area at Keld in Swaledale as it featured a bathroom window.

The meeting was told that while the window would not be “prominent in public views” it was a new opening, rather than an historical agricultural opening.

Officers said the conservation area derived much of its significance from the contribution that historic stone field barns and dry stone walls make to the Swaledale and Arkengarthdale landscape.

The authority’s cultural heritage champion and chairman of planning Julie Martin called on members to reject the scheme and said the authority had been “exceptionally helpful” in trying to accommodate the needs of the young family that wanted to live beside their campsite and farm business.

Referring to the window, she said many people managed without bathroom windows and added: “It damages the appearance of that building and its historic integrity, particularly when combined with the extension which will be on the gable end.”

However, applicant Chris Rukin told the committee: “Moving to a bigger house is not an option. This is our house and we want to keep living here.”

Several members said it was vital that the authority supported young families to continue living in the national park and the bathroom window was reasonable as there was a damp issue.

Member Joycelyn Manners-Armstrong said: “I think we would be seen as inhumane not to recognise that living in a barn requires slightly different services than using a barn for storage.”

1 Comment

  1. Look, I get that a bathroom window will ruin the architectural integrity of Keld, and of Swaledale as a whole, and that permitting such a monstrosity will surely kill tourism in the area, possibly resulting in economic hardship for generations to come.

    But let them have the dadgum window anyway.

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