CRAVEN District councillor Richard Foster has questioned the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority’s planning committee about how permission could be granted for a barn at Cracoe to be converted when the applicant did not own the track which leads to it.

National Park member Cllr Foster pointed out that one of the owners of the track in Cracoe had not given permission for its use and had objected to the application.

Neil Heseltine, who is the chairman of the Authority, also asked about access to Shed Barn and wondered if there was a maximum distance for a track to a ‘roadside’ barn.

Head of development management, Richard Graham, replied that there was no restriction on the length and added: “It just has to be a sealed metal private road that connects to the county highway.”

However, Cllr Foster said it was not a metalled road, saying it was a farm track for agricultural machinery. Both he and Cracoe Parish Meeting said it was too narrow for waste bin lorries to reach the barn.

In its detailed objection to the application the parish meeting stated the lane was an unsurfaced public bridleway with no passing places. It added: “The lane is totally unsuitable for heavy or regular traffic, being used currently to access the farmland. The sign at the top states that there is no right of access for vehicles.” It therefore feared that those staying at the Shed Barn would cause more highway obstructions by parking on the narrow Hetton Road.

Mr Graham, however, stated: “If there is an access and the access is suitable as far as the highway authority is concerned then there should be no objection in planning terms to that. The legal issues [about use of the track] are outside of the planning process.

“It’s for the various parties concerned to work that out amongst themselves.”

Others on the committee described the planned conversion of Shed Barn as well-considered and well-designed.

The agent for the applicant told the committee that the application had been discussed with planning officers for over two years and added: “It is quite probable this could be one of the most sustainable conversions for former agricultural buildings in the dales.”

During those discussions it was agreed to remove three bedrooms from the proposal. The majority of the committee agreed with the planning officer’s recommendation to approve the application.