CONSULTATION has begun on two documents that will guide the way planning decisions are made in the Yorkshire Dales National Park in the future.

The first is a draft Local Plan that will help shape development decisions in the Yorkshire Dales between 2015 and 2030. It is taking a fresh look at every aspect of local planning policy except housing – which was only recently reviewed by the Yorkshire Dales Housing Development Plan 2012 - 2025.

Over the last 15 months the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority (YDNPA) has been consulting about the planning issues and policy options that a new Local Plan should tackle.

This consultation – together with that on the National Park Management Plan that was published last year – has identified the priority planning issues as creating high-quality employment, developing tourism, holding on to local services, supporting land management, quarrying and re-using barns.

Peter Stockton, the authority’s head of sustainable development, said: “The draft Local Plan proposes an agenda of growth to combat the risk of economic and population decline.

“In particular it aims to support young adults and people of working age to enable them to live in the national park instead of moving away. We aim to do this by allocating more brownfield sites for business development and providing more flexibility to support farm and rural estate diversification.

“Another objective is to encourage more visitors to stay over night in the national park by expanding camping and temporary visitor accommodation in appropriate places and, more specifically, by supporting a high-quality visitor development at the former Linton Camp near Grassington.

“In addition, the draft Local Plan supports a more considered approach to the development of indoor visitor facilities that are not directly related to the National Park’s special qualities but are, nevertheless, important to a more rounded visitor enjoyment of the area.

“In discussion with parish councils, the document is also reviewing local green space around settlements. Areas have been identified that are of particular importance to local communities or which are key to village character, with the intention of protecting them from development that would harm their contribution.

“There has been a lot of recent discussion about the future of the thousands of traditional barns in the National Park. The Authority accepts that conversion of barns to new uses plays an important part in their conservation. The Local Plan is, therefore, consulting on a policy that would release roadside barns for residential or intensive new business uses.”

Consultation also begins today on a new draft Planning Design Guide that will support planning policy and, at the same time, try to improve the design quality of proposed projects and encourage more innovative and sustainable development.

Carl Lis, the authority’s member champion for sustainable development, said: “These two documents are all about enabling local people and businesses to keep the Yorkshire Dales National Park a thriving area. Only in that way will we be able to look after the stunning scenery, exceptional heritage and wonderful wildlife that millions of people treasure.

“We hope people will find time to read them and give us their comments and suggestions before the deadline of July 28.”

The draft Local Plan and the draft Planning Design Guide can be viewed on the authority website at and will be emailed to an extensive list of consultees.