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Chairman on housing and young people

'We are actively urging landowners to bring forward housing schemes', such as this recent development in Hudswell – (credit Richmondshire District Council)
'We are actively urging landowners to bring forward housing schemes', such as this recent development in Hudswell – (credit Richmondshire District Council)

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Bainbridge, 18 December, 2018

Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority Chairman Carl Lis has sought to highlight how the Authority is supporting local District Councils – which have responsibility for housing – and striving to help retain and attract young people in the National Park.

He said:  “In the past week the Authority has received a fair bit of stick, locally, over decisions to refuse three barn conversions. However, we are approving the vast majority of barn conversion applications – 100 approvals, against 8 refusals over the past three years. These latest applications were refused simply because they involved field barns out in the open countryside, away from the road.  I really would urge anyone thinking about bringing forward a barn conversion application to get in touch with us first. We can advise whether a particular barn would fit with the locational aspects of the policy and can save the applicant time and money by ensuring that the design details are right.

“So, what are we doing to help increase the number of affordable homes in the National Park that are suitable for the younger people that we think this area needs to retain and attract?

“First, we are continuing to approve new build housing on allocated sites and infill sites within towns and villages. Planning permissions last year were at a ten year high.  We are working closely with the local District Councils responsible for housing, and have recently passed resolutions to approve developments in West Witton, Bainbridge and Langthwaite. These schemes contain genuinely affordable homes. Barn conversions can make a small contribution to housing but, by comparison, they are not cheap or quick to complete, and will not be affordable on re-sale.  The fact that only 2 of the 100 barn approvals have so far been completed highlights the difficulties involved.

“Second, we have allocated sites for 180 houses across the National Park. This includes two sites in Hawes for 21 homes and three sites in Reeth for 16 homes. We are actively urging the landowners to bring forward schemes to develop these sites, which are sustainably located near to shops, schools, community facilities and public transport.  

“Third, there are more than 200 permissions for houses that haven’t yet been built. All of these permissions and sites have been published on our website to try to bring them to the attention of potential developers.”

He added:   “We don’t have to choose between conserving the landscape and providing more affordable housing for younger people. We can play our part in ensuring the evolution of our communities, but I do think we need to remember that all of us are only short term custodians of this unique landscape and we damage it at our peril.  We can surely be the generation to leave the environment in a better condition than that which we inherited.”

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