Losing barn will cost me £140,000 says farmer

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A FARMER who has been ordered to tear down a barn last night said he believed the move could cost him £140,000.

Harrogate Borough Council has said it will be seeking an order to have a site where a barn in Blubberhouses was built without planning permission restored to its previous condition.

Last week a High Court Judge ordered the owners of the barn to demolish it.

The landowners, Geoffrey and Ann Crossland, built the barn on Meagill Lane even though the council said it had repeatedly warned them that they did not have planning permission.

The case was heard in the High Court and the judgment marked the conclusion of a long-running dispute between the council’s planning team and Mr and Mrs Crossland, who the authority said had repeatedly sought to establish, without success, that planning permission existed or that it should be granted in respect of a barn. The couple say they believed they had permission.

Mr and Mrs Crossland purchased 115 acres of pasture and relatively rough upland grazing land in 2003.

Mr Crossland said the couple had spent in excess of £100,000 putting up the barn. He added: “We were also faced with a further bill of £40,000 just to demolish the building.

“I had hoped that we would win our case but we have to accept the judge’s decision,” said Mr Crossland.

The action was taken by the council when it became aware in March 2011 that work had begun on building a barn at Meagill Lane in the same location as was covered by earlier refusals for planning permission and also by an enforcement notice in respect of unlawful development by the landowner.

“The landowners refused to comply with the council’s request to cease construction and knock down what they had built,” Coun Alan Skidmore, the council’s cabinet member for planning, transport and economic development, said earlier this week.