Custodians of a national park have been told radical changes in key policies designed to conserve the unique landscape, such as introducing a ban on new holiday lets, may be needed to deliver the amount of affordable housing needed by its communities.

A full meeting of the North York Moors National Park Authority was told two years into its five-year target of giving consent to 100 affordable homes in the 1,436sq km highly protected area between Scarborough, Thirsk and Teesside, the authority was yet to approve a single one.

The potential changes come just weeks after North Yorkshire Council ratified a move to charge second home owners a 100 per cent extra council tax levy from April next year as part of move to free up properties and generate funds to build affordable housing.

Underlining the severity of the challenge facing the national park authority, member Heather Moorhouse, who represents residents in the north of the park, said alongside finding affordable land for affordable housing, the park authority was facing issues over the number of holiday lets.

She told the meeting: “We don’t want the North Yorkshire [sic] Moors National Park to be a holiday park, we want it to be a living park.”

The meeting was told that while the delivery of 20 affordable houses a year was among the authority’s leading priorities, local authority housing performance had “gone off a cliff” nationally, for reasons that were beyond the national park authority’s control.

Finding funding for the affordable housing was not a barrier, members heard, as Homes England was happy to fund schemes.

The biggest issue remained finding suitable land to develop, for which the authority was reliant on the park’s communities to come forward with sites.

While farmers were putting forward redundant farm buildings for conversion into living accommodation, most were opting for the premises to become holiday lets.

Chris France, the authority’s director of planning, said while its target was 20 permissions for affordable houses a year, he was optimistic many of the targeted 100 affordable homes would go through towards the end of the five-year period.

The meeting was told the authority was putting in a “tremendous” amount of work to get affordable housing schemes coming forward, had some 12 projects in the pipeline and had forged an informal partnership agreement with the largest housing provider, Broadacres.

Moreover, the park authority was working with the Rural Housing Enabler to identify sites, members heard.

Mr France added: “We’re two years in and we haven’t done one. We’re looking really hard at what those constraints and what those barriers are.”

He said the authority was set to start reviewing its Local Plan development blueprint and members may need to consider some “very different policies”, such as allocating land in villages and conversions in the open countryside.

The authority’s Local Plan, which it adopted less than four years ago, states to maintain the landscapes, housing development in open countryside will only be permitted in circumstances such as “essential need” to support farming.

In order to maintain the tranquil rural character of smaller villages, the existing Local Plan states affordable housing will only be permitted on small sites within the main built up area of the village.

Mr France said a yet more radical consideration to examine would be whether the national park should “say no to holiday lets” so that properties could only be converted to affordable housing or homes for local residents.

He said: “Yes, it’s a challenge, but we are up for it and we know what we have to do. ”

The meeting heard the government’s move to limit short-term holiday lets was likely to boost housing supply.