CONCERNS surrounding the conversion of historic barns into homes in a national park have resurfaced with a plan to create a four-bedroom home out of an 18th century structure with just two walls left standing. 

The Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority’s planning committee will reconsider the proposal to build an almost completely new property out of the barn’s ruins after officers said it would contravene a key rule in preserving the park – that open market homes should not be built in open countryside.

The recommendation to refuse the plan in Killington, near Sedbergh follows controversy overshadowing several plans to convert barns in December, as some members argued creating more homes in the Dales was vital for the survival of communities.

The Killington scheme was previously approved in 2014, but most of the barn collapsed in “extreme weather” in 2017 and officers said it was “not logical to give weight to the mere fact of the earlier permission if the benefit it provided can no longer be realised”.

At a meeting of the planning committee in March, members said they were minded to approve the application, contrary to officer recommendation, saying clearing the “eyesore” would have a beneficial impact on the landscape.

Members added the scheme should be approved as the barn collapse was due to extreme weather conditions and not a deliberate act by the owner and that it had previously been granted planning permission.

However, officers will tell members that the circumstances that existed in 2014 when the conversion of the barn was permitted had become void due to the barn’s collapse.

In a report to the meeting officers said “the untidy appearance of the land is not a reason, in itself, to permit a development that is contrary to policy, as a means of improving the appearance of the land”.

They added the park authority’s policies restrict new residential development to existing settlements, except for affordable housing and rural workers’ homes.