After 13 months, the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority has finally made a decision on plans to convert a barn on a family farm in Litton.

Planning committee members voted by a majority to ratify a decision made in December to allow Parker Barn to be converted into an agricultural worker’s home.

The application had been submitted by Stephen Lund in January, 2013.

The planning officer had originally asked the Lund family to accept a section 106 agreement not only on Parker Barn but also on another property, Potts Beck, occupied by Stephen’s brother, Stewart.

“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,” said a report to the meeting.

However the Lunds refused to sign as Stewart had an open market mortgage on Potts Beck and an occupancy condition would reduce the value of the house.

County Coun John Blackie told last Tuesday’s committee meeting: “The authority should trust those who work so hard to maintain this wonderful landscape. Some-times we need to create the right circumstances for farming to continue.”

After the vote, committee chairman Harold Brown, said: “We hope this will serve the family for generations. That’s if farming survives.”

In an analysis of planning applications to the authority for the last quarter of 2013, it was reported there were 67 outstanding applications where 13 weeks had elapsed without a decision being made.

The government guidelines state that the time limit for decisions is usually eight weeks, but can be extended to 13 weeks with the written consent of the applicant.

Several of the decisions were delayed because of negotiations with applicants.

The authority’s head of development management, Richard Graham, also reported that, in the last quarter of 2013, 56 per cent of minor applications were dealt with in less than eight weeks compared with a national target of 65 per cent.