Yorkshire Dales Local Plan Under Public Microscope

Public hearings will be held next week to examine new guidelines that will affect planning decisions in the Yorkshire Dales National Park for the next 15 years.

The Yorkshire Dales Local Plan – which is a strategy for sustainable development in the National Park – will be scrutinised by a planning inspector over a three-day period starting on Tuesday July 19.



The hearings will be held at the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority’s offices in Bainbridge and will be chaired by independent Planning Inspector Simon Berkeley.

The Authority and various consultees will discuss matters raised by the Inspector in light of the earlier public consultations on the Plan. The hearings will be held in open session so that members of the public can sit in and listen.

Authority Chairman Carl Lis said:
“The Local Plan will guide planning decisions worth tens of millions of pounds. It is a positive response to the specific challenges being faced by communities in rural areas like the National Park.

“One of the issues that will be discussed is the Authority’s approach to barn conversions and its decision to extend development opportunities to potentially hundreds of roadside barns outside towns, villages and farm groups.

“The policy was devised to try to find new uses for redundant traditional buildings that contribute so much to the distinctive farmed landscape of the National Park and to provide some of the local housing that we really need.

“The submitted Local Plan policy offered barn owners a choice between conversion to ‘local occupancy’ housing – to meet local housing need – or to open market housing, in which case a financial contribution called a conservation levy would be paid by the developer towards the repair of other important barns in the landscape.

“Unfortunately, in response to a question from the Inspector, we have now had legal advice that providing a choice in this way would not be legally sound.

“As a result, we have proposed a modification to the policy which removes the option of the ‘conservation levy’. In doing so, we are giving priority to trying to create local housing that is more affordable and meets local needs, rather than more second homes. In effect, what we are now proposing simply continues the Authority’s existing conversion policy, albeit now expanded out to many more barns.”

In preparation for the hearings, the Authority has submitted its responses to some 40 questions asked by the Inspector. Its answers – and those of its consultees – will all shortly be published on a Local Plan examination website.

The Authority is hopeful that, subject to a number of modifications, the Inspector will be able to find the new local plan fit for purpose and capable of adoption, shaping local planning policy into the future.

Yorkshire Dales National Park

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