Concerns have been raised over the high proportion of holiday cottages and second homes in the heart of the Yorkshire Dales after a family which bought a remote farm there unveiled a proposal to build a home and create self-catering holiday pods overlooking the Dales Way trail.

The issue of rising numbers of non-residential properties in the 841sq mile park has resurfaced just months after the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority’s member champion for natural environment called for local authorities to be given the ability to determine the volume of holiday properties in different areas.

As part of an ongoing drive to increase housing for local people in the protected area, Richard Foster said while holiday lets were useful to sustain local businesses such as pubs, limiting the number of holiday let properties would boost efforts to sustain communities.

Following an increase in holiday properties in the national park, some villages are now comprised of up to 60 per cent second homes and holiday cottages.

In a planning application lodged with the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority, agents for Malcolm and Helen Thomas said the couple and their son’s family wanted to live at a farm they had bought in Oughtershaw, near Buckden, but wanted to convert a series of buildings to meet their needs.

The proposal includes converting a barn and a traditional building to create a home, building a garage alongside the existing farmhouse, converting a barn for four self-catering holiday pods and using a room to provide rest stop facilities to walkers and wild campers.

The application states the proposal has potential “to create a lifestyle that facilitates good stewardship of the land with the prospect of ecological enhancement through conservation and rewilding, whilst retaining the traditional grazing of Galloway cattle and the provision of an income stream from tourism.

However, in an objection to the proposal, a resident has listed numerous holiday properties in the hamlet, before telling planners “I think you must agree that that is a lot of holiday places for such a small hamlet”.

He said the only a couple of properties in the hamlet had been kept for local people.

The objector wrote: “You have teachers – dentists – entrepreneurs and second

home owners – which, in my opinion, contributes nothing of any value to

the community.”

Nevertheless, the proposal has been welcomed by Buckden Parish Council, which said the scheme represents “an imaginative and environmentally sensitive approach” to the development of the farm into a financially viable business.

In a letter of support to the authority, a parish spokesman said the development would enhance the tourism offer in the area and provide employment opportunities.

The parish council wrote: “Attracting younger people and families to live in the dales is an important factor in delivering the national park’s sision of being ‘Home to strong, self-reliant and balanced communities….’.

In a letter of support, Ian Brand, president of Wharfedale Naturalists Society, underlined “the need to provide both employment and accommodation if we want people to live and work in the Dales we love”.

Another supporter, the Yorkshire Peat Partnership, said converting the buildings “so that three generations of the family can live together, will mean

that the stewardship of the farm in a nature-led way for many years to come and will ensure the continued sustainable farming practice on the blanket bog”.