Controversial farm plan to 
be considered

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A controversial bid to develop a farm business in the Yorkshire Dales National Park will be considered by planners next week.

David Oversby wants planning permission, some retrospectively, for additional cattle housing, roofing and cladding of a loading bay area, a hard standing area, office and agricultural worker facilities as well as change of use of agricultural buildings and hard standing areas to accommodate the dairy processing and distribution infrastructure at Town Head Farm in Grassington.

However, members of the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority’s (YDNPA) Planning Committee will be advised to refuse permission when they meet on Tuesday to discuss the application from the farm and milk processing business, which employs 56 staff.

North Yorkshire County Councillor, Shelagh Marshall, who represents Mid Craven, requested the application be considered by the planning committee because of the large number of objections.

Councillor Marshall added: “I do hope the committee will have a site visit, I think that’s the way forward for it. If they have a site visit local people will feel then the application has been dealt with in a very fair and equitable way.”

The application is for full planning permission and is part retrospective for existing development and a change of use of buildings and land from agriculture to a mixed agriculture and milk processing business use. It also includes proposals for further development.

The proposal includes retrospective permission for 25 car parking spaces and predominately retrospective permission for ten wagon spaces on-site, retrospective permission for hard standing areas which have been created for worker vehicle parking, parking of milk tankers, tanker maintenance and pallet storage.

It includes the change of use of a collection of buildings formerly classed as agricultural use with ancillary milk processing to dairy processing, including a milk processing area, distribution facilities, storage area, wash area and filling area.

Two ‘infill’ agricultural buildings are proposed – one to house the applicants’ expanding cattle herd and to use for the overnight storage of refrigerated wagons during summer months and the other to provide general dairy and milk processing secure storage.

The YDNPA has received formal objections from 29 people and Grassington Parish Council is against the retrospective bid to change the use of the agricultural buildings.

A report to be considered by the committee says the council claims it would “adversely affect the residential amenity of neighbouring properties and the environment of the surrounding area” and “would result in unacceptable traffic levels”. Critics have raised concerns about road safety, traffic, noise and the impact on the residential area.

A raft of claims from opponents include: vehicle movements are “excessive”; existing roads have insufficient capacity to meet the demands of the current and proposed use; the level of the use exceeds the capacity of the site; “inappropriate” development in a residential area and “out of character” with its setting within the national park.

But seven people have written to the YDNPA supporting the application. They say Town Head Farm is an important business “that provides a valuable and convenient service to local farm businesses” and employment opportunities within the national park that supports local business and brings growth to Grassington.

The report says the proposed mixed use of the site would “result in an unacceptable loss of amenity for the occupants of the neighbouring properties by reason of noise and disturbances arising from traffic, activity and industrial processes associated with the proposed use.”