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Family win planning appeal over Hawkswick barn conversion
12:03pm Thursday 21st February 2013 in News
A family have spoken of their delight after the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority agreed to lift a 23-year-old occupancy restriction on a Hawkswick barn conversion scheme.
Mick Hawkins, his wife Ginette and sister-in-law Michelle Pickles have spent months trying to get the authority to remove a section 52 agreement imposed on the conversion of Hazel Head Barn in 1990.
The barn was converted into two homes – Hawksnest where Mr and Mrs Hawkins live and Holme Barn where Mrs Pickles lives.
“We are ecstatic but emotionally drained,” said Mr Hawkins, who claimed they had spent their life savings in their battle to win justice. “The past 20 months has been a very difficult and stressful time.”
The family claimed the agreement – which limited occupancy to those working within a ten-mile radius or already living within a ten-mile radius but in need of alternative accommodation – should never have been imposed as three other barn conversion schemes in the village, passed at about the same time, had no restrictions.
“The inconsistencies were undeniable and all we have ever wanted was fairness and justice,” said Mr Hawkins.
The family also won the backing of the Association of Rural Communities, formed to monitor the proceedings of the national park.
But national park legal officer Clare Bevan and head of development management Richard Graham recommended the family’s application be refused.
In a joint report to the planning meeting, they said: “If the authority agrees to discharge the agreement and release two local needs dwellings onto the open market, this will be contrary to the approach adopted by current local planning policy.”
However, the majority of the park’s planning committee disagreed and voted to lift the restriction.
Speaking after the meeting, committee chairman Harold Brown said: “This was one of the most difficult applications we have had to deal with for many years. The officers’ recommendation was consistent with the authority’s policy to support and protect housing for local people and that remains a cornerstone of our approach to housing policy.
“However, members had to balance the absolute importance of retaining local housing in the national park against the unique circumstances of this case.”