THE CONTEXT is critical to the four separate barn conversion schemes for the Upper Dales which have been considered by National Park leaders. They had to be considered on the individual merits – much of North Yorkshire’s charm is due to the careful approach taken by planners.
Yet a consequence of this caution is rising property prices and younger families having little, or no, chance of being able to afford to buy a house in the area that they are still proud to call home because of their rural roots. They have to move away, hence the dwindling pupil numbers at Arkengarthdale School which is the latest to be earmarked for closure.
Moving forward, the National Park Authority must be pragmatic. If the area is to evolve, it has to come to terms with the issue of affordable housing – or many more services in quaint villages, and market towns, will become so unsustainable that these areas no longer appeal to those tourists whose visits here help to underpin the rural economy.