Yorkshire Dales engineering business 'unsure of next steps' after being refused permission for new office building that would have provided jobs

Custodians of the Yorkshire Dales National Park have raised concerns that conserving the environment “trumps” the wellbeing of its residents as a planning application that would have created jobs was rejected.

The barn at Catchall that the firm wanted to convert
The barn at Catchall that the firm wanted to convert

Numerous members of the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority expressed sympathy for marine engineering firm Diving, Survey and Marine Contracting’s proposal to build a 36m x 25m building and convert a barn at Catchall, despite the site between Cracoe and Linton being “highly visible”.

After the meeting, its managing director Charlie Bayston, who had warned a refusal could force the firm to relocate, said he was uncertain about which direction the business would take.

He said: “We’re very disappointed with the decision, but we completely respect that it was made with the best of intentions for the National Park as a whole.

“We are so desperate for the space to be able to employ more people and let the business continue to grow. It’s just trying to do that and keep in balance with the area we’re living in.”

The meeting heard claims the development was suited to an industrial estate and would be incongruous in the National Park.

Ian McPherson, the member champion for natural environment, said: “The building itself is huge. It’s going to be highly visible and dwarf everything that surrounds it.

“I do have great sympathy with the applicants, it’s the right building in the sense that it’s a very sustainable building. It’s one on the whole that would be acceptable except that it’s the wrong place to put it.”

The authority’s chairman Neil Heseltine added he had “every sympathy” for the firm’s owners.

He added there were lots of employment and environmental merits to it, but they did not outweigh the potential impact on the distinctive landscape character.

Member Richard Foster, who is also the leader of Craven District Council, said it would be “a crying shame” if the business was lost from the area as it would help broaden the economy, creating jobs that were not either in agriculture or tourism.

He said: “There is no alternative for this business within the dale at the moment. I really do think we should consider this business at this moment.”

Member Cosima Towneley added: “The Local Plan is God in this case. I think sometimes landscapes trumps the actual wellbeing of people in the park.”