THE group responsible for building decisions in a national park has dismissed calls to prevent a barn that was destroyed in a storm from being rebuilt as a family home.

Members of the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority’s planning committee rejected their officers’ recommendation to stop a four-bedroom home from being built on a site at Killington, near Sedbergh, where extreme weather had left just two barn walls standing.

If properties are reduced to a non-habitable state, planning permission lapses.

Officers told the meeting while members had backed the scheme on the basis it would improve the landscape, improvements to the environment were a prerequisite of any development, so it should not be considered a planning gain to approve the application.

They said approval of the scheme would be “a reward for allowing a site to deteriorate and result in harm to landscape”.

Officers added while members had expressed sympathy for the owners of the barn, the circumstances surrounding its collapse were not a planning consideration. They said it would contravene a key rule in conserving the park – that open market homes should not be built in open countryside.

However, the meeting was told the scheme had been approved in 2014, and the decision appeared to hinge on “an act of misfortune”.

Member Richard Welch questioned whether the scheme would have been recommended for approval if the 18th century structure had not collapsed.