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Crumbling barn near Settle is transformed into The Courtyard retail centre
The 18th century former Cleatop barn was run down and being used for agricultural storage.
But it has now been transformed into The Courtyard – an attractive retail centre and the provider of 30 local jobs.
The transformation is all down to two people who saw the potential – Mark Hancock, who runs Rural Solutions at Broughton Hall and furniture maker Simon Robinson whose company Dalesbred is now based in the revitalised building.
Also making The Courtyard their home are Buon Vino, traders of fine wine and fabric merchants Abraham Moon, and new ventures The Courtyard Dairy, Lime Gallery and The Brasserie which looks out onto the fell from the preserved circular window.
Mr Hancock, said: “Many thousands of people must have driven past the old Cleatop buildings over the last 50 years thinking that they would make something special.
“When the opportunity presented itself for Simon and I to buy and develop the buildings we were convinced that we could indeed create something unique.
“As chairman of Rural Solutions, I’m passionate about rural regeneration in both the creation of rural employment and the supporting and encouragement of rural businesses – developing The Courtyard and seeing such an exciting venture grow from nothing has been really rewarding for me.
“Now that the buildings are alive again and supporting so many businesses and jobs we are starting to look to the future and to developing stronger links with the local rural community and businesses with some exciting initiatives.”
When builders moved in there were trees growing through a roof and the complex included a slaughter house and the original shippon.
Miss Darbyshire said: “There was already planning consent for offices and residential use which was not thought viable.
“One of the ideas was to give Dalesbred a large showroom – that was the drive to get the consent changed to retail.
“But it was a difficult thing because the building is in the Yorkshire Dales National Park and they had various stipulations. We are still in an on-going discussion with national park officials over signage and lighting.
“It does get frustrating considering the building has been brought back to life and all these local jobs have been created.”
But he added they understand the sensitive nature of the site.
The project was also highly commended in the Countryside Alliance Rural Award for the best enterprise in Yorkshire. Emma Darbyshire press and marketing manager, said: “We’re absolutely thrilled – especially so because we were nominated by the public.”
Andy Swinscoe and his partner Kathy Bull believe the complex was the ideal place to set up their business – The Courtyard Dairy.
Andy, who served his “cheese apprenticeship” in France, said: “I’ve wanted to run my own business for some time and had been looking for a place – when we saw this it was ideal.
“It’s just right for bringing on refined cheeses and to hold them in good condition.”
They sell the best unpasturised cheeses they can find from both the local area and across Europe.