2015-10-22   facebook twitter rss

New Look to National Park Planning

New guidelines have been introduced that will change the way some planning decisions are made in the Yorkshire Dales National Park.

Among them is a new policy that allows residential conversion of some of the many roadside barns.

The guidelines make up the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority’s new Local Plan, which has been written to boost the development needed to keep the National Park as a thriving place for people, wildlife and heritage.

While the Plan won’t be formally adopted until next year, the National Park Authority has decided to start giving it weight in decision-making on planning applications from now on.

Peter Stockton, the Authority’s Head of Sustainable Development, said:
“This marks a turning point for planning policy in the National Park.

Barn

“For example, until now, the National Park Authority has only permitted the conversion of barns inside towns, villages and farmsteads. However, public funding for the repair of the thousands of traditional stone field barns has disappeared, so the Authority’s planning strategy has had to change in an attempt to conserve the distinctive and unique barns landscape, as well as releasing more opportunity for urgently-needed local housing.

“The new policy will enable the conversion of dozens of roadside barns to new homes or businesses, subject to appropriate criteria. The outcome will gradually be noticeable over the 15-year Local Plan period.”

Other significant changes to policy include the identification of 12 business opportunity sites across the National Park where a wide range of new economic uses are being encouraged to support job growth and create additional spending.

In terms of tourism, which is so important to the local economy, the Plan will support a wider range of visitor accommodation to encourage more people to stay overnight. Other policies will permit new indoor and outdoor facilities to attract and encourage visitors to stay in the National Park and enjoy its many special qualities.

Carl Lis, the National Park Authority’s Member Champion for Sustainable Development, said: “This is a locally-tailored response to issues about the viability of our communities. The Plan will help to deliver the development objectives we agreed with our partners in the National Park Management Plan, and the Government’s national growth agenda.

“We want to see the conversion and re-use of more roadside barns and encourage more business development and more local affordable housing. But we want to do this without sacrificing the environment that makes this area so special – and on which a multi-million pound tourism industry depends.”

On the conservation side, the Plan includes a new map of the extraordinary network of important wildlife habitats. There is also a new policy that will require simple, inexpensive wildlife enhancements as a standard part of most new developments.

“Not all aspects of the new Local Plan can be implemented immediately,” Mr Lis said.

“Some will have to wait until after examination next year by a planning inspector. Nevertheless, the Authority’s decision to start using some of the new policies now is a very positive step forward for sustainability in the National Park.”

Yorkshire Dales

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