Seaside villagers battle Marquess of Normanby’s estate over car park changes

Residents of a picturesque seaside village have accused the Marquess of Normanby’s estate of trying to undermine efforts to protect their quality of life and improve the environment.

Runswick Bay residents have urged the North York Moors National Park Authority to uphold conditions it imposed on the Mulgrave Estate when approving a proposal for a controversial new car park beside Bank Top Lane and Cleveland Way last year.

The scheme saw the estate argue its 42-space car park would end visitors parking in unsuitable places on exceptionally busy days while residents claimed there were already ample spaces in the village.

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Nevertheless, the proposal was granted after plans to launch a cafe on the site were dropped, on condition that the estate accepted it would enhance the site’s appearance by removing “eyesore buildings” and protect residents against the impact of “the increased likelihood of a refreshment van being sited there”.

The coastal rock armour protection at Runswick Bay. By Carl GavaghanThe coastal rock armour protection at Runswick Bay. By Carl Gavaghan
The coastal rock armour protection at Runswick Bay. By Carl Gavaghan

Ahead of a meeting of the authority’s planning committee on Thursday, agents for the estate have challenged some of the development restrictions imposed, pointing towards government guidance which states conditions restricting the future use of the site “may not pass the test of reasonableness or necessity”.

In applications to the authority to drop the conditions, the agents add their scope needs to be precisely defined by the authority, so that it is clear exactly which rights have been limited or withdrawn, alongside clear and precise reasons for imposing every condition.

The agents for the 15,000-acre estate have claimed as the authority’s reasons for the conditions were not clear the mobile refreshment van condition should be removed.

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In addition, the agents said while the buildings “are not in the best state of repair”, it wants to retain them “for storage connected to the operation of the car park and compliance with other conditions relating to wastemanagement on site, street furniture and landscaping”.

Removal of the conditions would allow the estate to site of a refreshment van on the car park for up to 28 days a year.

However, numerous residents have objected to the conditions being lifted.

One complaint over the easing of the development restrictions states: “Mulgrave Estate is now in the process of attempting to systematically remove the planning restrictions that were imposed on this development.”

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Objectors have highlighted how Runswick Bay is already served by two pubs, a tea room, a small artisan bakery, and a café by the beach, and have claimed allowing a takeaway van would lead to more noise near homes, extra litter and an increase in “wild toileting” as there are no toilets.

In a letter to the authority, one resident wrote: “We want to encourage families to want to live in and remain in Runswick, and plans such as this will only discourage people to want to live in the village permanently and therefore decimate the community.”

In a report to the meeting, planning officers concluded there was insufficient justification to remove permitted development rights, such as being allowed to site a refreshments van, in relation to the permission for a car park.

Planning officers said they did not believe the conditions were necessary to make the proposal acceptable and therefore would be unlikely to be upheld at appeal.