By ARC New Service

A DECISION to begin enforcement action against the owners of the Falls Country Park at Beezley Farm, Oddies Lane, Ingleton, was deferred by the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority’s planning committee on March 10 because “real willingness” had been shown by the owners to reduce the visual impact of the recently installed hard surfacing for caravan pitches.

The head of development management, Richard Graham, told the committee: “There is a real willingness to resolve the situation. They have offered to do work to reduce the visual impact of the site with a range of measures including tree planting.” He explained that some of the suggested work would require planning approval and the applications would take time to prepare.

Craven District councillor David Ireton pointed out that the caravan site was near Ingleton Quarry and a large car park. He added that tourism was a key part of the area’s economy.

Member Jocelyn Manners-Armstrong, however, believed that approval should have been given for enforcement action but with a longer time for compliance because of the history of the situation.

The enforcement officer had reported that an enforcement case had been opened in June 2017 when she had seen that land had been excavated to level the field. On a later visit she saw that aggregate had been laid forming a formal circular track and hard standings for siting caravans. Tarmac had been laid on the newly created gateway.

The agent had maintained that the 1992 planning permission was not clear and the works carried out were permitted as a requirement of the site licence.

The enforcement officer, however, stated: “It is clear that the conditions and reasons within the planning decision notice support the conclusion that short stay caravans refers to touring caravans. The planning permission does not authorise the siting of any static caravans.”

She added that Craven District Council Environmental Health Team had confirmed that there were no provisions for levelling the land, the laying of hard standings and for the installation of tracks under the terms of site licence for touring sites.

She reported that the field was located in a highly visible location and the engineering operations had resulted in a fairly naturalised grassed field being materially altered. It would be possible to see the hard surfacing even when the site was closed between January 14 and March 1 each year. “The extent of the engineering operations carried out to date are wholly inappropriate for a touring site having a harmful impact on the natural beauty of the National Park landscape,” she said.

Richmondshire District councillor John Amsden suggested that the aggregate should be replaced with grasscrete because that would blend in better.

ARC New Service