Thursday, 06 November 2014 22:09

Clash over ruling on disused barns

Written by  Ruralcity Media
Clash over ruling on disused barns

LOCAL councils have clashed with a national park authority over a ruling restricting the conversion of redundant barns.

The recent ruling by central government restricts the conversion of redundant barns in the Yorkshire Dales National Park.

But North Yorkshire County Council and Richmondshire District Council described the decicion as a potential threat to rural economic prospects.

Both councils urged the government to reject an appeal by the Yorkshire Dales National Park against new planning rules on the conversion of barns.

But communities secretary Eric Pickles ruled that buildings in the national park would not have to conform automatically to the initiative.

The national park authority said change of use proposals for barns should not be approved without its scrutiny.

North Yorkshire councillor Gareth Dadd, who is the council's executive member for planning, said the ruling was "very disappointing".

He added: "I believe this places bureaucracy and officialdom in the way of job creation and rural sustainability.

"A large part of North Yorkshire is in the national parks - and the economic prosperity of the people who live there is as vital to them as it is to those who live in urban areas."

Richmondshire District Council leader John Blackie described the decision as "deeply flawed".

Employment-generating enterprises based in converted barns would allow people to stay in the area where they were born and brought, he said.

Both councillors emphasised that work to maintain and improve rural economic prosperity remained a top priority for both authorities.

ANd they pledged to work with the national park to promote the appropriate use of existing farm buildings and barns.

"Much is being done to provide the support necessary to ensure our rural communities can thrive," said councillor Dadd.

"Millions have been invested in the provision of superfast broadband services, for example, which will encourage and facilitate the development of new businesses and new opportunities.

"Both the district and the county councils have economic prosperity at the top of their agendas."

Members of the National Park Authority had argued that the proposals could damage one of the most outstandingly beautiful areas of the country, which includes around 6,000 barns.

And they claimed that pushing ahead would have removed the rights of local communities to have a say on what happened in their area.

Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority chairman Peter Charlesworth said: "We welcome the decision of the government to support the national park authority's stance on this matter – it is a victory for localism.

"It is important to say again that the Article 4 Direction does not mean traditional barns or modern farm buildings cannot be converted to commercial uses.

The park authority remained "very supportive" of re-using existing buildings, said Mr Charlesworth.

But he added: "We – and the government through its decision – recognise that the special landscape in which these thousands of barns sit means that some proposals still need local scrutiny rather than just "going through on the nod".

"The secretary of state's decision means that local people are still able to have their say on applications – whether supporters or objectors – and we will go back to a situation where each case will be judged on its merits.

  • No comments found

Leave your comments

0 / 500 Character restriction
Your text should be in between 10-500 characters
terms and condition.