Richard Thornton’s School in Burton-in-Lonsdale, on the edge of the Yorkshire Dales, had a 160-year history before it closed in 2014 and will now be partly demolished to make way for housing after plans were approved by Craven District Council.A decision on the plans was deferred last month after concerns were raised over the site access and village water supply, but councillors say those have now been addressed.
Speaking at a meeting on October 25, councillor Andrew Brown said: “We are getting quite a good balance of development here in a village that needs it.
“This is a site that needs developing and it is in a sustainable location. I must admit though I was disappointed with the materials. I hadn’t expected to see render on the site – I think that is out of keeping with the village.”
The plans include a mix of two and three bedroom homes, and it was agreed the developers Permahome Ltd would provide a sample of materials to be used before construction can go ahead.
The concerns over water supply were raised by residents who said the village can suffer with low pressure, especially when holiday homes are occupied.
However, council officers said this would be an issue for Yorkshire Water and not the developers.
Meanwhile, the concerns over the site access stemmed from no one being the legal owner of a single track road which serves the site.
According to documents, the developer had indicated it was willing to enter into a legal agreement for the road to be maintained by a private management company, however, some councillors said the developer should commit to buying the land.
Council planning officer Mark Moore responded: “We are not in a position to demand and insist somebody buys a piece of land. It is not a tenable position or something we can enforce.
“The mechanism that has been suggested is entirely reasonable and achievable. The developer has to demonstrate they have the right of access and the ability to carry out works that are necessary to satisfy the highways authority.”
The school was named after Richard Thornton, a 19th century entrepreneur who donated money for the school to be built in 1853.
When it closed in 2014, there were just 13 pupils, all boys, who were moved to new schools nearby.
This was despite a challenge by governors, parents and staff who had fought for over a year to save the school. However, North Yorkshire County Council decided it was no longer viable.