Work starts to reduce height of so-called ‘giraffe house’ barn

Work has started to reduce the height of the barn.

Work has started to reduce the height of a Yorkshire Dales barn so big it was dubbed the ‘giraffe house’ by locals.

The work comes after Yorkshire Dales planning officers went to the High Court to obtain an injunction to force a farmer to lower the height of a barn.

Coverdale farmer Andrew Avison, of Middlefields Farm in Melmerby, was ordered to reduce the height of the building or demolish it by 18 January 2019.

He was told if he failed to comply with the injunction issued by the court in Leeds, he would be in contempt of court, an offence punishable by imprisonment.

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

A view of the barn from below the farm before work started. Photo: Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority.

However, Mr Avison failed to get planning permission for the building, which was almost five metres higher than the one it replaced and is one of the highest buildings in the Yorkshire Dales National Park.

The farmer applied for retrospective planning permission from Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority (YDNPA).

However, this was refused and officials ordered him to demolish the building or reduce its height to the same as the barn it had replaced.

Mr Avison failed to comply with this enforcement notice and he appeared in Northallerton Magistrates’ Court last year where he pleaded guilty to the breach.

When the barn was still not lowered, YDNPA sought such an injunction for the first time in its history.

It is understood YDNPA officers are monitoring the progress of the work.