National Park urges people to have their say on 'destructive' Government proposals

22 September 2023

The North York Moors National Park Authority is urging members of its local communities, along with all those who value the beauty and tranquility of England’s protected landscapes, to have their say on the biggest weakening of planning controls in decades.

The open consultation on permitted development rights closes at midnight on Monday 25 September.
Through current planning policies, National Park Authorities can protect rural landscapes, guard against the loss of essential local services and make sure that new homes are safeguarded for local residents, rather than becoming second homes. England’s National Parks therefore stand together in opposing plans that would allow barns and other rural buildings to be replaced by up ten homes in the open countryside, without the need for planning permission. Shops, offices and cafes could also be converted into open market housing, leading to a loss of facilities that support local people and local jobs.

The changes would leave people unable to have any say on development proposals in their communities, which may directly affect them. Although individual homeowners will still require planning permission for minor projects such as a small porch or extension, those who have larger buildings will be able to develop up to ten houses in the open countryside without people being asked for views.

The National Park Authority strongly feel that this will undermine the public’s confidence in a planning system that is meant to work in everybody’s interest.

Chris France, Director of Planning at the North York Moors National Park Authority, said:

“National Parks attract millions of visitors every year who come to enjoy the iconic landscapes and breathtaking views.

“These proposals could irreversibly damage the special qualities of National Parks whilst financially benefitting only those who happen to have buildings to convert. What’s more, we could no longer protect shops, offices and cafes from changing to residential use, nor can we make sure that new homes go to local people in need, rather than ending up as second homes.”

Beyond the concerns regarding the developments themselves, the National Park Authority is also worried that over time, a spate of building conversions will lead to the introduction of more suburban features, including overhead lines, access roads and light pollution, potentially in some of the most scenic and remotest areas.

The proposals have been slammed by England’s National Parks, including by the Chief Executive of the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority, who described them in the Guardian newspaper as ‘the most bonkers example of environmental destruction’.

The National Park’s response to the consultation was shared at its Planning Committee on 7 September.

The Government’s proposed changes to permitted development rights can be viewed on the Department of Levelling Up, Housing and Communities website, where you can also have your say.
Alternatively, members of the public can let their local MP know that they support the view of England’s National Parks.

Permitted development rights - GOV.UK (

The deadline for responses is 25 September.

Media contact

Nina Beadle, Communications Officer, North York Moors National Park Authority.
Tel: 01439 772577

The North York Moors National Park

The North York Moors is a beautiful landscape of stunning moorland, ancient woodland and historic sites. Created on 28 November 1952, it became Britain’s sixth national park. Covering an area of 554 square miles (1,436 square kilometres) the National Park has 26 miles of coastline, two national nature reserves, 840 Scheduled Monuments and over 3,000 listed buildings, attracting an estimated 8.4 million visitors a year.

The National Park has two visitor centres, Danby Lodge National Park Centre and Sutton Bank National Park Centre, providing opportunities for cycling, walking, eating, picnicking, shopping, crafts and wildlife-watching. The centre in Danby also houses the Inspired by… gallery, which features regularly changing exhibitions by artists who draw their inspiration from the North York Moors.

The North York Moors National Park Authority works with a wide variety of people to care for this beautiful corner of Yorkshire, providing apprenticeships and volunteering opportunities with nearly 14% of staff being apprentices from local families.

To view other press releases and for further information about the North York Moors National Park, visit

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