Developers have been given the green light to create a large-scale tourism destination in open countryside in the Yorkshire Dales National Park for a second time, despite concerns it could undermine the “suffering” holiday cottage industry the area depends on.

A strong majority of members of the park authority’s planning committee approved a revised proposal for Linton Camp, some six years after a scheme to redevelop the derelict site north of Skipton was unveiled and more than three years after a plan for a five-star hotel which would have seen 154 staff  taken on was approved.

A meeting of the planning committee heard the approved scheme had proved impossible to staff, so latest plan retained many of the features from the hotel that was approved for the five-hectare site, but the main building had been changed to an aparthotel and less than 50 staff would now be employed.

The revised scheme also features 24 self-contained serviced holiday units over two floors, with a spa, gym, a 24-seat cinema, two-lane bowling alley and a bar and restaurant, nine self-contained holiday lodges and a 76-space underground car park.

The meeting was told the site had not been used for years, with developments there dating to 1939 when it was used as a camp for schoolchildren, and then for evacuees in the Second World War, before being used for youngsters with behavioural difficulties.

Alongside creating an economic use for the site, the development would include a range of sustainability features, such as “high level construction techniques”, solar panels and ground and air source heat pumps, members were told.

In addition, the committee heard, the Linton Regeneration Company had agreed to cut dozens of wood burning stoves the scheme to lessen its landscape impact and make it more environmentally-friendly.

However, questioning the scheme’s benefits, parish councils representative Allen Kirkbride said many holiday cottages in the Dales were now “suffering”.

Former Craven District Council leader Richard Foster added the whole point of allocating the site in the Local Plan and approving the previous application had been that Upper Wharfedale area was short of a hotel.

He said: “This isn’t a hotel. It is upmarket, slightly different, but it’s holiday cottages. They will compete with those holiday cottages that we have in the Dales now.

“They’re not doing well. There’s quite a few struggling. The boom of where we were post-pandemic has now subsided.”

He added a proposal to create holiday cottages in open countryside would not be approved in the park and businesses in the Dales had relied on the holiday cottage businesses for a long time.

Mr Foster told the committee approving the plan would also mean “dumping this right on the doorstep of a very small village” which would not cope with it.

Another member, Robert Heseltine, described it as “an opportunity missed” to provide affordable housing on the site.

Officers then said they disagreed that the proposal represented holiday cottages, saying the aparthotel would feature a range of services for guests.

Nevertheless, the authority’s development management member champion Jim Munday welcomed the broader range of accommodation it would bring to the park.

He said: “After 40 years of dereliction it’s about time we did something constructive with this site.”

Member Graham Simpkins told the meeting although the proposal could be seen as a compromise, it was in fact a “win-win situation” and many families could not afford hotels and wanted their own segregated spaces.

He added: “If you want families to come out and enjoy the Dales this is perfect.”