Plans for historic Dales lane set to be rejected

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planners in the Yorkshire Dales are recommending the rejection of retrospective proposals to fill 
in an historic sunken lane 
thought to date back to medieval times.

Officers from the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority say Lickber Lane, in Melmerby, Richmondshire, is likely to have been a distinctive feature of the landscape for many hundreds of years. W N Avison & Son has applied for retrospective full planning permission for the infilling of the unclassified county road.

But officers from the park authority are concerned that infilling the road has taken away its traditional sunken appearance and are recommending permission is refused by members of the authority’s planning committee when it meets on Tuesday. Those who have raised concerns about the changes include the British Horse Society.

In a letter to the committee, it raises concerns saying: “..we feel that this application and the work already carried out have totally wrecked not only the unique landscape but an immensely important part of the riding network and local history”.

Thirteen members of the public have objected to the proposal as they say it is used for riding horses and as a right of way.

A report prepared for committee members says: “The archaeologist considers the route to be medieval in origin, providing access to the isolated chapel from Melmerby, as is suggested by information from the Victoria County History resource. St Simons Chapel was founded in 1328 and there is evidence of the use of the site in the 1500s by the public. Lickber Lane therefore has historical and cultural value and the ‘sunken’ feature (prior to the excavation works) is evidence of the how the landscape has developed over time through the use of the route by the public.”

The applicant refers to the lane as a “disused agricultural track” and others have claimed the route was not passable before the work but objectors say it was regularly used.