A HISTORIC inn which has become “one of the biggest eyesores” in a national park could be reopened for the isolated communities surrounding it, despite the objections of highways bosses.

Several members of the North York Moors National Park Authority’s planning committee voiced frustration after hearing the part of a scheme to reopen and extend the Hambleton Inn, at Sutton Bank, that had been set to benefit local residents had been lost.

The meeting was told North Yorkshire County Council’s highways department had said while there would the 33 parking spaces for the planned 18-bedroom hotel, bar and country pursuits shops, would only be sufficient if the pub was not opened to the public rather than just hotel guests.

In a reversal of the vast majority of planning applications, the meeting saw committee members and senior planning officers repeatedly state they believed there would be more parking spaces than necessary.

They questioned why more than a total of 33 parking spaces would be needed to reopen a community pub at the site at Hambleton, which is known as ‘Home of Thoroughbred’ following several hundred years of links to horseracing.

The meeting heard concerns had been raised by the owners of nearby horseracing stables over potential conflicts between access to their yards and parking outside the hotel and highways bosses had raised similar concerns.

The authority’s chairman Jim Bailey said it was “a real shame” the community facility element of the tourism business was being lost and suggested the authority “could fight back a bit” against the highways objections. Other members said the authority should be doing everything it could to ensure the viability of the proposed business, and opening the pub to the public would increase its business out of tourism season.

Fellow member David Jeffels added: “It is going to remove one of the worst eyesores in the national park, which is in a very prominent position at the top of Sutton Bank.”

The committee agreed to delegate approval of the scheme to the officers subject to resolving issues over public access to the bar, acoustic fencing, windows and a further consultation exercise.