Planners to rule on 'intrusive' buildings next to airstrip
By Martin Paul - Senior Reporter
THE sudden appearance of a hanger-like structure and a runway at an isolated spot in the dale is to be considered by a county planning committee.
The Campaign for the Protection of Rural England (CPRE) has welcomed the move after a retrospective planning application was submitted for the structure on High Moor, near Lartington.
However, landowner Peter Harle’s agent, Nicola Allan, says no permission was needed because it is an agricultural building used by a tenant farmer.
The CPRE first raised concerns about the building in February after it was spotted by walkers along the Pennine Way.
Work began on the structure in October last year and it was completed in May. The retrospective planning application was validated by county planners in November.
The structure is alongside a landing strip.
Richard Cowen, chairman of CPRE Durham, said: “It is important that this matter is dealt with speedily and in the public arena.
“It is intrusive on the landscape and it does not need to be there – this is bogland and sheep grazing and grouse shooting and a building this size is not needed.
“A retrospective application has now been made but that doesn’t alter the fact that this is a most inappropriate place for a building and airstrip of this nature and we’ll be pointing that out.”
Ms Allan said in the application that prior notification was granted for the building in September 2019, and under this the building should be granted permission.
She said: “The building is solely in agricultural use, there being no other land use on the moor. It is used to store agricultural equipment including quads bikes and trailers, animal feed and medicines. The apron will be used for the penning of sheep for routine management.”
The application also seeks approval for works done to access routes where timber and stone has been used.
Ms Allan said: “The reason is to make the existing tracks safe for use by 4x4 vehicles throughout the year. The only land use on the moor is agriculture with occasional drive grouse shooting.
She added that the airstrip would only be used by the owner for about 28 days of the year and would not create disruption.
A resident from Bowes has written to the council asking for more plans to be submitted including for the erection of a windsock and a spur off the main runway.
It is not known when the matter will appear before a planning committee.
Mr Cowen said: "The building is visible for about a mile along the Pennine Way and is a blot on an otherwise unspoilt landscape near areas of outstanding natural beauty.
“I would hope to see it refused permission.”