Plans to convert a semi-derelict barn in Litton look set to be determined next month – more than a year after the application was submitted.

Farmer Stephen Lund is seeking planning permission to convert historic Parker Barn into an agricultural worker’s dwelling.

Mr Lund submitted his application in January 2013.

Planning officers at the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority had recommended the application be rejected because Mr Lund had refused to sign a legal agreement tying the converted house to the land owned by the family.

But planning committee members said they were minded to approve the plans with just a local occupancy restriction.

Members were told that the application was complex and a number of factors had to be taken into consideration.

Mr Lund and his brother Stewart wanted to consolidate their “viable” farming business on land they owned and this meant surrendering the tenancy of West Farm. The holding still justified having two workers on site and, to make up for the loss of accommodation at West Farm, Mr Lund wanted to convert Parker Barn into a house.

In a report to the meeting, planning officers suggested that the legal agreement tying occupancy of Parker Barn to the farm holding should be extended to include Potts Beck – Stewart’s home.

“A restriction on the occupancy of Potts Beck, in addition to Parker Barn, would ensure that both dwellings remained available to meet the needs of agriculture irrespective of the unit it served,” said the report.

But Craven district councillor John Roberts questioned how they could include a privately owned house and added: “This is a genuine and respected Littondale family and being farmers they have managed the landscape with its barns and walls for generations.”

County Coun John Blackie said that, occasionally, members needed to trust farmers.

Because the committee’s decision goes against officer recommendation, it will have to be ratified at the committee meeting in February.

* Report from ARC News Service