A ‘monstrous’ cattle and muck shed has been given the go-ahead at a Lake District farm.

National park planners admitted they were between ‘the devil and the deep blue sea’ over allowing the 114ft long by 44ft tall building.

It will go at Rydal Farm, Rydal Road, west of the A591, which is accessed from a track leading to the Crow How Hotel.

To blend in, the building will be built opposite an existing farm building but will feature concrete panel walls, timber frames and a dark-coloured sheet roof.

The matter was put before the national park planning committee because the applicant and farmer Chris Hodgson is married to an LDNPA employee.

In addition, Lakes Parish Council wanted the ‘inappropriate big shed’ to be refused – contrary to the park officer’s recommendation that it be allowed.

A meeting of the national park planning committee heard from member Louise Waterhouse, of Troutbeck. She regarded it as over-development and proposed it be refused.

Mrs Waterhouse said: “It’s a very sensitive area because it’s very prominent from many of the fells surrounding it, which are very popular. It doesn’t sit very well with the traditional buildings and is going to be such a huge building. Are we going to keep on replacing traditional buildings with these large sheds because of ease for the farmer? It’s difficult for me to say farmers can’t have what they want but I do think it’s in such a sensitive area that I would recommend refusal.”

Area planner Catherine Campbell said two large buildings at the farm were no longer suitable for modern agriculture and the site was the best available.

The Environment Agency had told the farmer they had concerns about ‘uncovered muck stores’ at the farm, which the new building planned to address, she said.

Panel member Peter Allen MBE supported the application. He said: “I do believe they have quite a considerable cattle herd on that farm which requires a building of this size.”

National park chairman Mike McKinley called the building’ monstrous’ and that it left the park authority with a ‘devil and the deep blue’ decision which flew in the face of its role as custodians of the park and the World Heritage Site.

Mr McKinley said: “How far do we go in support of our very important farmers while at the same realising there are substantial adverse impacts on the landscape? It’s one of those questions that is very difficult to solve.”
He suggested the committee defer and ask the applicant to come up with something more acceptable.
Panel member Mark Kidd suggested it be allowed and was backed by Cllr Vicky Hughes. 

Cllr Hughes said: “It’s a large holding and they need a large barn to be able to store their animals. I don’t think it would have that much harm to the landscape as it would look in-keeping with a farm.”
Chairman Geoff Davies said he too found it “very difficult” but rather ‘reluctantly’ agreed with the officer’s recommendation.

The 10-member committee passed the plan six votes to four.