TENSIONS between residents and cyclists flocking to a national park to ride resurfaced as a scheme to harness the boom in the sport by converting an “eyesore” former equestrian centre into a hub for riders was approved.

The North York Moors National Park Authority’s planning committee unanimously passed a proposal to convert and extend stables to create a cycle hire shop and café and two holiday lets at Dikes Lane, Great Ayton.

The decision was taken despite concerns over the increasing number of cyclists visiting the park.

One member told how cyclists often rode in front of his car for three or four miles in the middle of narrow lanes without giving way.

He said: “They do seem to think they have the road to themselves. It does create great friction. Horse owners pull into gateways and let you through. Cyclists most certainly don’t.”

The meeting heard riders visiting the Yorkshire Cycle Hub in Great Fryup Dale were creating friction as well.

The authority’s director of planning Chris France said cycling was potentially an activity that can conflict with other users and traditional conservation management of the land”.

He said: “Other than that it is great idea, it’s what the national park is promoting. It’s got great economic benefit and great health and wellbeing benefit. There’s a wider message that these hubs and connections and the marketing of this national park for road and off-road cycling - I think we need to put resources into managing those conflicts through our ranger and recreation teams.”

Applicant Mark Pearson told the committee it was the best possible use for the previously developed land and redundant building, would help conserve the national park and provide an excellent access location to park for North-East residents.

He said the stables were originally built as part of an equestrian tourist attraction, which became no longer viable due to modern welfare standards.

Mr Pearson said: “By forging links with clubs, schools and youth groups we intend to give people the chance to experience, enjoy and understand the area that would normally not have the chance.”

Objectors told the meeting the number of journeys to the enterprise had been underestimated and that there was insufficient car parking in the area, leading to people parking on verges and creating road hazards.

Mr Pearson said: “I too have to live off the road and do not wish to have negative impact. I believe the independent traffic survey has proved that it won’t. Lots of people already use this road as a gateway to the park. I simply seek to provide a service for them.”

Before approving the application, members enthused about the plan.

Patrick James said: “This is a really good use of a brownfield site. It’s a horrible looking building at the moment and it’s going to have a new use. I really admire the applicant for putting in so much effort and work to bring this together.”