A SCHEME to create a car park to offset a charity’s controversial commercialisation of a village for disabled people has been approved, despite a large volume of objections.

The North York Moors National Park Authority’s planning committee heard the Camphill Village Trust claim there was an “immediate and pressing need” for 20 extra car parking spaces at an entrance to Botton due to a rise in visitors.

Wayne Mason, Botton’s general manager, told members: “Currently the situation significantly increases concerns for some of our elderly and vulnerable residents.”

He said there had been significant support for the scheme from residents of the village. However, the meeting was told it had attracted many objections, including claims it would be a “visual intrusion” at the entrance to the village and that there were already 105 car parking spaces within 300 yards of the proposed site.

Campaigners have claimed the scheme further illustrated how the trust was moving away from the founding principles of the village.

An officers’ report to the meeting stated that Botton’s longstanding co-worker extended family residential care model had been challenged on safeguarding, tax and employment law grounds, resulting in more commercial arrangements being introduced in the village, leading to more vehicles at the site.

Botton, in Danby Dale, was established in 1955 following the donation of land and buildings by Macmillan publishing family, enabling the community of more than 150 people, including 90 adults with learning disabilities, to live and work together with a close harmony with nature.

Despite this, members of the planning committee agreed that the impact of the scheme on the outstanding landscape had been minimised and was in principle acceptable.

Member Heather Moorhouse said: “The safety of residents and visitors should be paramount and if this takes vehicles out of the centre of the village I can’t see why we shouldn’t support this.”

Numerous members of the committee questioned what the trust’s long-term intentions were for the village and said it was disappointing that the car park planning application had not been set out in the context of a masterplan.