People are being invited to have their say on a fresh set of planning policies for the Yorkshire Dales National Park, including a policy that would require all new housing to be for ‘permanent residency’ only.
A consultation paper published today sets out the options preferred by the National Park Authority, which is the local planning authority, for a new Local Plan to cover the period 2023 to 2040.
It is the result of more than two years of evidence gathering and it reflects the responses received during a series of previous public consultations on specific policy issues such as a housing target, sustainable places for growth and barn conversions.
This latest consultation on a new Local Plan is intended to test whether people think policy-makers are on the right track.
For the first time a policy has been produced requiring all new housing to be for permanent residency, as is already the case in the North York Moors, Northumberland and Exmoor National Parks. At the moment developments of more than five homes have no occupancy restrictions, provided half of the homes are affordable, meaning that homes on larger sites are at risk of bringing little benefit to local communities.
Other policies include a requirement for new development to demonstrate climate change adaptation measures; stringent protection for the core area of the National Park’s Dark Sky Reserve; and a revised housing target for 50 new dwellings per year.
Another stand out policy in the preferred options consultation paper is to require most barn conversions to be for local occupancy housing only. This would mean barns could only be converted into holiday lets in more limited circumstances such as part of a farm diversification scheme.
The public consultation on the preferred options for the Yorkshire Dales National Park Local Plan 2023-2040 opens today and will run until Friday 19 August.
The new Local Plan will be the first to cover the whole of the Yorkshire Dales National Park as extended in 2016. For the past six years, planning applications from the areas of Cumbria and Lancashire which became part of the National Park have been judged against different Local Plans.
Member Champion for Sustainable Development at the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority, Carl Lis, said: “I share the concerns of many local people that communities continue to be weakened by the loss of homes to under-occupation, either to the second home or holiday let market. Many people cannot find an affordable place to buy or rent in the National Park. So, in our preferred options for the new Local Plan we are trying to do everything in our power to make planning policy that will benefit the community, the local economy and the environment. The question is, are we on the right track?
“There’s an incentive to take part. A good Local Plan will make the National Park a better place to live. The much-needed housing developments that are coming to fruition now in Long Preston in Craven, in West Witton in Richmondshire and Sedbergh in South Lakeland started life as allocated Local Plan sites
“There are a number of policies in the preferred options consultation paper that show no change, such as on waste management, because they don’t need to change. But they are presented along with what is new because it’s part of our contract with the public to show what we are doing. I would urge people with a care for the National Park and the local communities in it to have a look at this latest consultation paper and let us know what they think.”