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Bolton Abbey’s medieval ‘Tithe Barn’ to become wedding venue

Bainbridge, 9 May, 2017

One of the most magnificent and historically significant buildings in the Yorkshire Dales National Park, the Tithe Barn at Bolton Abbey, is to be converted into a wedding venue.

Permission for change of use and refurbishment was granted today by the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority (YDNPA).

The Tithe Barn is a substantial Grade II* listed building, part of the Bolton Priory Scheduled Ancient Monument.  Its 16thcentury oak timber frame contributes to its outstanding heritage significance. 

The application was brought by The Chatsworth Settlement Trustees, owners of the Bolton Abbey Estate.  The Trustees’ Planning and Development Manager, Will Kemp, said the barn’s current use, as a storage space, was not sustainable in the long-term. 

He said: “During the past 20 years we have considered using it as a museum, art gallery and tea rooms, but none of the ideas was economically viable.    As such, we consider that using it as a high quality wedding venue is the way forward.  We are pleased that one of the UK’s leading wedding barn operators, Cripps, is looking to run weddings in it as soon as practicably possible, hopefully from next year.

“We believe that using the building in this way will not only conserve a building of national importance, but will have several community benefits. The historic link between the Priory and the Tithe Barn will be restored; members of the public will have access and be able to appreciate the internal structure of the barn; and, not least, about fifteen full-time jobs will be created.”

Mr Kemp added that it had been the most challenging project he’d worked on in his thirty-year career as a chartered surveyor.  He said the “complex factors” included that the Tithe Barn was a listed building, on a scheduled ancient monument, in a conservation area, with roosting bats, and residents nearby.

He praised the YDNPA’s planning service for helping him overcome the challenges:  “I think it’s only right and fair to reflect on the fact that without its planning service, the National Park would not be the special place it is.”

The Member Champion for Development Management, Robert Heseltine, said:  “An immense amount of work and thought has gone into this application, from both the applicant and YDNPA officers.  I’d like to congratulate them on the quality of the finished proposal, which members were keen to approve.  An iconic building within the National Park will be conserved, while being put to a fresh use which will benefit the local economy.”

Further key facts about the planning application:

-       The barn would be able to accommodate 200 guests as a wedding venue. 

-       Permission has been granted for a new access road from the B6160 to serve as the main entrance to the venue. 

-       A car park for 67 cars will be created. 

-       A total of 40 outside lights will be installed, a proposal which accords with the International Dark-Sky Association guidelines.

-       A bat house will be constructed near the barn to provide a replacement roost for Natterer and Pipistrelle bats.

-       An acoustic report submitted with the planning application concluded that using the barn as a wedding venue would result in no more than a minor effect on neighbouring dwellings.  A noise management plan includes the stipulation that amplified music must be confined indoors and stop by 01:00

Further key facts about the Bolton Abbey tithe barn:

-       Dendrochronology has revealed that its main timbers were felled circa 1518/19.

-       Originally constructed as a timber clad oak-frame structure, it was encased in stone in the 18th century.

-       The significance of the building is partly derived from its relationship with Bolton Priory, the Church of St Mary and Bolton Abbey village, which together formed a landscape iconic to the Picturesque and Romantic movements.

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