The castle folly at the Forbidden Corner. Photo: Yorkshire Dales NPA

The castle folly at the Forbidden Corner. Photo: Yorkshire Dales NPA

National park bosses in the Yorkshire Dales are to order the demolition of a mock castle that was built without permission.

The park authority is to serve an enforcement notice on the owner of the Forbidden Corner near Middleham, which has built the folly without planning permission.

Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority planning committee members approved the action, after receiving a report from officers that said that the nearly 10m-high folly had introduced an unacceptable element of pastiche development into Coverdale.

Robert Heseltine, the authority’s member champion for development management, said: “The Forbidden Corner is a very welcome success story, which makes a significant positive contribution to the local economy.

“But it cannot be right to build a large castle folly, visible for miles around, in a historic and culturally important landscape, without even bothering to seek planning permission.”

The Dales authority was told about the new folly, which lies within the Forbidden Corner gardens at Tupgill Park, in March this year. Building work ceased with the gatehouse part of the folly at a height of about 7m above the surface of a wall-fronted walkway, a total of 9.5m above the deer park.

A retrospective application for planning permission was submitted on 1 June. It was withdrawn on 28 July, following a decision by national park officers to recommend that planning committee refuse permission. Officers said the folly would introduce an inauthentic, pastiche building of significant scale and prominence into a nationally important, protected landscape.

The enforcement notice, once served, will require the demolition and removal of the castle folly and the restoration of the site to its previous condition within three months.

The Forbidden Corner’s owner Colin Armstrong said he would appeal against the enforcement notice and described the new folly as ‘harmonious’.

In 2000, Mr Armstrong won a run-in with the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority when a planning inspector allowed an appeal against enforcement action to stop the walled-garden folly being opened up to members of the public.

It was originally planned as a private folly on the 600-acre estate but Mr Armstrong, who ran a petrochemical business in South America, decided to open up the attraction to the public.

Forbidden Corner said it received more than 2,000 letters of support for its appeal to keep the folly open.

The inspector stipulated that visitor numbers be restricted to a maximum of 120 per hour, via a pre-booking system.

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