PLANNING permission for alterations to a Yorkshire Dales community pub has been withdrawn following the threat of a judicial review.
The Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority has quashed approval for the work at the Foresters Arms, in Carlton, near Leyburn.
The move comes after a neighbour complained about the addition of a large black flue running up the outside.
Carlton resident John Hall wrote to the park authority questioning the validity of the decision to grant retrospective planning permission for the flue and extractor fan.
Mr Hall, a solicitor, threatened to take the authority to a High Court judicial review.
After taking legal advice, officers have decided the original decision by members would be susceptible to challenge – and have had the planning permission withdrawn.
Mr Hall said he had contacted the park authority because he believed there was an option to run the flue internally, rather than outside the property.
He added: “I’m a member of the pub and my family businesses spent a solid month doing legal work for the pub, but they turned around and said ‘You’re the only ones who will see the flue and you will have to live with it’.
“If the flue had to run outside, then we would live with it, but the flue used to run inside and I’m sure it can again.”
Raymond Brown, chairman of Coverdale Community Pub Management Committee, described the issue as a “storm in a teacup”, adding: “I would advise anyone to come up to the Foresters, have a beer and see for themselves what it’s all about.
“It’s disappointing that Mr Hall has taken this stance.
Originally he was one of the people who supported turning the pub into houses.”
Mr Brown said that by running the flue outside the pub, it caused minimal damage to a listed building.
Upper Dales councillor and national park planning committee member John Blackie this week criticised the national park authority for quashing the decision to award planning permission which was taken by members.
He said: “Until the matter is resolved, the Sword of Damocles hangs over this excellent community venture and there are worries rightly abounding throughout the length and breadth of Coverdale and beyond.
“It seems the national park authority crumbled at the first sight of a rearguard action from a near neighbour who happens to be a solicitor.”
Richard Graham, the park’s head of development management, said the authority had agreed a mistake was made in the way decisions on the planning application were reached.
He added: “The authority has, therefore, agreed to the request for the court to overrule the decisions.
“I should stress that this does not necessarily mean that the decisions themselves were wrong. We will now consider the applications again, as soon as legally and practically possible.
“Meanwhile, the flue can remain in place and the pub can operate as normal.”