Park authority wins battle with farmer over 'giraffe house' barn in Yorkshire Dales

The barn in Coverdale which locals dubbed the giraffe house
The barn in Coverdale which locals dubbed the giraffe house
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AN agricultural shed, dubbed the “giraffe house”, has finally been taken down – ending a long-running saga in the Yorkshire Dales National Park.

It came after the Park Authority were granted their first ever High Court injunctions against dairy farmer Andrew Avison, and in an unrelated case against John Stevens, whose campervan sparked complaints when it was "plonked" outside Ingleton in 2015.

Mr Avison, who put up the shed at Middlefields Farm, in Melmerby, without planning permission in early 2014, to replace one which burned down, was ordered to pay the Park Authority’s legal costs.

Some £6,000 has already been paid out of a total of around £8,000, the Authority said yesterday.

At nearly 13 metres to the ridge of the roof, the shed was nearly five metres taller than one it replaced and so prominent in Coverdale it became known as the “giraffe house”.

The Park Authority has previously said they approached Mr Avison “quietly and without fuss” following a complaint, asking him to reduce the height of the building.

But “time and time again” he had refused to co-operate.

Two appeals, one against the refusal of planning permission and one against the enforcement notice, were dismissed by the Planning Inspectorate.

Last October the High Court granted an injunction against Mr Avison, ordering him to either reduce the height of the shed or demolish it by January 2019.

However when the injunction was ignored, the Park Authority applied for committal proceedings which could have seen Mr Avison jailed for contempt of court.

The building was finally taken down last month.

It was the first time in its 21-year history that the Park Authority had sought High Court injunctions.

A campervan parked up in a highly visible spot on Storrs Common near Ingleton more than four years ago has also been taken away.

Enforcement notices were first issued against John Stevens in October 2015 and January 2016.

Stevens pleaded guilty at York Magistrates’ Court last May to not complying with the notice. But it took further legal action before it was finally moved at the end of 2018.

He was also ordered to pay National Park Authority legal costs in connection with the injunction order.

Member Champion for Development Management, Jim Munday, said: “We acted in both cases after receiving complaints from members of the public.

“We hope the resolutions, although coming after a protracted legal effort, will help to retain the public’s confidence in the planning system.”