Yore Mill: Derelict 19th-century watermill at Aysgarth in the Yorkshire Dales to be converted into apartments

A 19th-century watermill that has been derelict for around 20 years is to be converted into apartments and holiday lets.

Yore Mill at Aysgarth Falls was a carriage museum until 2003, but after the attraction's closure the main part of the historic building has remained empty and in poor condition.

Previous plans to convert it into accommodation with a restaurant and bunkhouse were deferred and amended due to disputes over access to parking, but the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority has now approved a developer's proposal for residential use.

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The application by a Mr D Peacock, of Richmond, is for two apartments, six holiday flats and one local occupancy apartment to be used as manager's living accommodation in conjunction with a visitor centre, retail unit and new hydroelectric turbine.

Yore Mill is part of a larger listed complex in differing ownership

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Building work must begin within the next three years and activity at the site must be limited to certain hours to preserve the tranquility of the beauty spot.

Aysgarth Parish Council have supported the scheme and asked for construction to begin as soon as possible to remedy the Grade II-listed building's 'dangerous' state.

In response to suggestions that guests staying at Yore Mill could park in the Authority's visitor centre car park nearby, the National Park's head of visitor services clarified that it was 'not feasible' to allocate designated spaces due to the location being extremely busy. Accommodation providers have an option to purchase car park passes but spaces are not reserved and are available on a first come, first served basis.

The condition of the roof has significantly deteriorated

Four spaces are included within the confines of the site, but North Yorkshire County Council's highways department had requested that 18 spaces be provided, two for each of the apartments, to avoid congestion.

The original application was deferred in 2019 to resolve the parking matter, and the council eventually agreed that people using the mill visitor centre and shop would be able to park at the National Park centre nearby, as had been the case when the carriage museum was open.

The parking issue had become 'critical' due to the sale of surrounding land that could have been utilised, and though approaches had been made to the owner of Aysgarth Station and a local farmer about leasing land, no agreement was reached.

National Park planning officers expressed fears that additional visitor traffic could overwhelm the village, which is already a 'honeypot' site with pressure on parking, and recommended refusal back in 2019.

Yore Mill was built in the mid-19th century to replace an earlier Georgian mill which burned down. It produced corn and wool, and has four storeys plus a loft. The main rectangular body of the mill was purchased in 2003, with the 'stem' part in separate ownership. The nearby mill workers' cottages, miller's house and Yore Bridge are also listed.

The carriage museum operated from 1969 until its closure in 2003.

The application report states that the mill had by 2019 fallen into 'serious disrepair' and is no longer safe to enter due to the condition of the roof. Discussions with the owner have been ongoing since 2010. Mr Peacock was subsequently identified as a prospective purchaser and the sale of the mill to him was agreed.

There is a 'real possibility', according to the report, that the roof could be lost if remedial repair work does not begin soon.