UNAUTHORISED changes made to a Georgian stable block linked to the birth of modern horseracing should stay, planning officers have concluded.

Residents had raised fears that changes to the quadrangular 1741 stables at Marke Hall, near Richmond, into holiday lets could lead to it becoming "a party house".

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But the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority's planning officers said the revisions would not harm the special architectural interest or setting of the listed building.

The recommendation to the authority's planning committee follows Marske and New Forest Parish Council complaining to the authority last year over potential planning breaches at the grade II listed stables.

The stables were the birthplace of 18th Century stallion Marske, whose descendants include thoroughbred champions such as Kauto Star and Desert Orchid.

The complaint came after the developer Heritage Property Group's plan to transform the nearby hall into an exclusive wedding venue and aparthotel was rejected last February over its long-term impact on the listed buildings and the village’s tranquillity.

However, officers found there had been no breaches of approved plans to convert the stables into holiday accommodation, although two oil tanks had been installed and a stone wall raised without consent.

In documents submitted with the revised plans, an agent for the developer states the latest proposal would provide more than sufficient parking at the site to ensure highway safety in the village.

The agent added: "The oil tanks are effectively screened from view and have been provided in a suitable location adjacent to the refuse area."

While the revisions have attracted numerous letters of objection from residents, with claims the changes are a precursor to more intensive development, some of the concerns appear to have been allayed by the developer reducing the number of car parking spaces at the site.

The parish council said it was disappointed that important features of the scheme, such as heating, had initially been overlooked.

Park authority planning officers said it was "unfortunate" that the developer chose to undertake works without planning and listed consent, however, it was appreciated the building benefitted from planning and listed building consent to convert it into ten flats.

An officers' report to the meeting concludes: "The building requires a heating source; and it is considered that the proposed oil tanks can be sufficiently screened due to the works to the wall and new timber fence so that they do not significantly harm the setting of the listed building.

"The proposed car parking provides enough spaces for the development to function whilst also maintaining access in and around the site.

"Therefore, it is considered that the proposal will not harm the special architectural or historic interest or setting of the listed building."

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