Residents in a Yorkshire Dales village have reacted angrily after plans for a 15th-century church tower to be rendered in white cladding - with some calling it a "proposed eyesore". 

The tower of St Oswald’s Church in Askrigg has suffered from damp problems over the last few years - which has led developers, the Anglican Diocese of Leeds, and the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority (YDNPA) to propose limewashing the structure of the building.

The authorities, along with Historic England, say this is the most appropriate process to protect the Grade I listed building from the elements and prevent further dampness.

The Northern Echo: The tower of St Oswald’s church in Askrigg has suffered from damp problems over the last few yearsThe tower of St Oswald’s church in Askrigg has suffered from damp problems over the last few years (Image: S HARRINGTON)

However, not everyone is happy with the proposals put forward - with villagers said to be "up in arms" over the changes to the church that stands in the village made famous by the James Herriot BBC TV series All Creatures Great and Small.

Alongside the complaints, images of how the proposed church tower will look have been put forward - which show the 'imposing' structure from various angles in the village. 

The wash will cover the tower’s natural stonework with a bright white layer and angry villager Val Halton has said: "Our church tower is damp and needs substantial work to make it watertight. There have been several remedies proposed and a lot of discussions between the church and experts, the public have been excluded.

The Northern Echo: The white cladding proposed for St Oswald'sThe white cladding proposed for St Oswald's (Image: S HARRINGTON)

"A public meeting was held around three weeks ago to tell the local community what was going to happen – it was a done deal.

"There was no public consultation – our church tower was going to be rendered white. The experts admitted the rendering was a ‘first’ and no one could say if it would work. Builders had proposed other options, but these were ignored.

The Northern Echo: A proposal of what the church will look likeA proposal of what the church will look like (Image: S HARRINGTON)

Many people will have visited the area for holidays and we are sure they will be as horrified as we are. It will look an eyesore.

"The scaffolding has already gone up. The village is distraught."

In response, a spokesperson for the Anglican Diocese of Leeds responsible for the church said the proposed work has been through the rigorous processes of consultation required for a Grade I listed building.

This includes a 28-day public consultation which took place in September to October 2019, with the Diocese saying that the permission remains valid from that time.  

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A spokesperson for the Anglican Diocese said: “Changes which affect the appearance of a Grade I listed church are not permitted easily, so the case for the need to protect the building from water ingress and damage resulting from its exposed position was very carefully weighed before permission was given.

“External rendering is a traditional process appropriate to an historic building, as confirmed by various local and national specialist conservation experts consulted.

“Information regarding the historic development of this specific church was also taken into account, specifically the physical and documentary evidence suggesting that the tower would have been rendered prior to the 19th century.”