The mock castle has been covered in plastic ivy. Photo: Yorkshire Dales NPA

The mock castle has been covered in plastic ivy. Photo: Yorkshire Dales NPA

The owners of a mock mediaeval castle in the Yorkshire Dales face having to demolish the edifice after a planning inspector dismissed their appeal against enforcement action.

The three-storey pretend fortress was built without planning permission by Forbidden Corner on the Tupgill Park Estate near Coverham.

The Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority served an enforcement notice ordering the 10m-high building, which was completed in March this year, to be either demolished or reduced in height. The owners appealed against the notice but the planning inspectorate rejected the appeal.

The park authority said: “In a decision letter, the inspector agreed with the authority’s concerns about the impact on the historical landscape of lower Coverdale of a new three-storey high mock medieval castle.

“He said that the building is ‘obtrusive’ and ‘has a harmful and disruptive effect on the understanding and enjoyment of the landscape’.

“During its construction, the YDNPA issued an enforcement notice requiring that the building be demolished or reduced in height. The inspector dismissed attempts to cover up the building with fake ivy and screen it with planting as proof that the building is harmful to the ‘character, appearance and natural beauty of this part of Coverdale’.”

The inspector said the building was 'intrusive'. Photo: Yorkshire Dales NPA

The inspector said the building was 'obtrusive'. Photo: Yorkshire Dales NPA

The Yorkshire Dales authority’s member champion for development management Jim Munday said: “Throughout this process we have always made clear that we recognise and celebrate the success of the Forbidden Corner as a tourist attraction and an important employer within the national park.

“The enforcement action does not seek to harm the business, but to remedy a breach of planning control that significantly harms the cultural heritage and landscape quality of this part of the national park.

“The completed building is a large mock medieval castle which provides a commanding viewpoint over Coverdale and part of lower Wensleydale. It is located outside the walled folly garden of the Forbidden Corner, so it is not only separate from all the other follies, but is in open view.”

A spokesperson for Forbidden Corner said the owners were disappointed and saddened by the decision and expressed the hope a compromise could be reached with the park authority.

The attraction’s owner Colin Armstrong had a run-in with the national park authority in 2000 but a planning inspector allowed his appeal at the time against enforcement action to stop a walled garden being opened to members of the public.

Forbidden Corner 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.

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

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