A CHRISTIAN retreat in Kettlewell has been given the go-ahead for redevelopment.

Approval for major re-development at the residential and learning centre at Scargill House was given at a meeting of the Yorkshire Dales National Park Association’s planning committee on Monday where there was unanimous support for the project.

The plans were submitted by the Scargill Movement and included demolishing several large buildings and replacing them to provide modern visitor facilities and disabled access throughout.

The operations manager at Scargill House, Dave Lucas, told the committee that the “benchmark” for the development would be “quality, simplicity and beauty”.

He said working up the plans had been a “huge technical challenge”. The priority had been to create “step free access” around the site while respecting the setting of the Grade II* listed chapel designed by George Pace and built in 1959.

“We want to ensure the long term future of Scargill and contribute to the economic and social fabric of the Yorkshire Dales.

“We want the chapel to be used for its intended purpose and be looked after. We love using this building daily and take our custodianship seriously.”

Scargill House was originally an 18th century farm.

In 1900 the estate was purchased by Clement Holdsworth (a prominent Master Spinner from Halifax,

West Yorkshire).

In 1957 the house and entire estate was bought through auction by the Church of England. At the time

of the sale, the estate contained 1,050 acres, made up of 70 acres park and afforestation land, two stock farms of 500 acres and various other properties within the village of Kettlewell.

Scargill House closed in July 2008 due to financial difficulties. It was sold in March 2009 to the Scargill Movement.

YDNPA Member Champion for Development Management, Robert Heseltine, said: “Over the years Scargill House and the substantial complex around it has come to rest well into the landscape. This application will only further improve this beautiful and peaceful location.”