A LARGE -scale plan to redevelop a Second World War evacuees camp near Grassington into a hotel and leisure complex has received support from national park planners, despite a wave of local opposition to the scheme and it being criticised as “wholly excessive and inappropriate” for the rural location.

Natural Land’s latest application to redevelop the five-hectare Linton Camp – into a tourist facility including a hotel with 34 hotel rooms and six hotel suites, a spa and gym, a bar and restaurant, and nine self-contained holiday lodges – will be considered by the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority next week.

If approved, the scheme will represent one of the most extensive leisure schemes approved in the highly protected landscape in many years.

A meeting of its planning committee will hear the development would be served by a 72 space underground car park and the complex had been designed to provide “the most sensitive solution to ensuring that such buildings work with the topography to minimise their landscape impact.

While there appears to be a consensus that Linton Camp, which was established in 1939,to provide holiday accommodation for city children who would otherwise not have had the opportunity to experience the countryside and nature, has become an eyesore, the developer says its “organic” plans for the site would enhance the site.

The hotel would have a curved grass roof to emulate the curve of the land, and other roofs would be seeded with wild flower mix to ensure that they match the surrounding fields.

Natural Land said it had responded to concerns by reducing the scale of the buildings and numbers of bedrooms and self-catering properties, whilst maintaining the complex’s commercial viability.

Overall, the hotel and self-catering properties have been reduced in scale by over 2,200sq m, resulting in 12 bedrooms and five self-catering properties being removed from its initial plans. The overall hardstanding on site has also been reduced by 3,816sq m.

However, a report to the planning committee states 52 objections, many citing traffic and business-related concerns, had been submitted over the scheme and just three letters of support.

In an exceptionally lengthy objection, Linton Parish Parish Council stated the “scale of proposed development on the site remains wholly excessive and inappropriate for this rural location within the Yorkshire Dales National


The parish council highlighted that Government planning policy advises that “major development”, which are defined as proposals of more than 1,000sq m of floorspace, should be refused in national parks unless there are exceptional circumstances.

The objection stated the total floor space of the complex would be 10,962sq m – almost 11 times greater than the scale defining a major development.

The parish council stated: “The complete disregard of the opinion of the local community and a total lack of concern that such a development would have for the existing residents of this, currently tranquil, conservation area village as well as the national park is of great concern.”

However, the planning officers’ report states the site had been allocated for uses such as visitor accommodation in its Local Plan and the proposed complex had been “innovatively designed to significantly mitigate the impact of a large modern development in the open countryside”.

The officers concluded: “The development would provide a high quality visitor development into the national park which would secure a significant level of employment and visitor spend in the local economy. The development also includes extensive landscape and biodiversity enhancement and sustainability measures.”