A CONTROVERSIAL plan to convert a church at the heart of one of the most visited towns in a national park has been rejected.

The Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority planning committee heard the scheme to transform Hawes Methodist Church and Sunday School to three apartments and two cottages for holiday let accommodation was “a step too far”.

The meeting was told numerous accusations had surrounded the planning application, including accusations directed at the parish council, but the complaints had been unsubstantiated.

After members of the committee approved the scheme, parish council chairman Councillor John Blackie said concerns over parking provision had been key to the decision to refuse the application.

He said it was clear a new use for the church building was needed and a better use could be made of the building than had been proposed with the holiday lets.