I AM often amused by the people of Skipton and Craven who constantly criticise our councils with no thought for how little money our local authorities are having to work with these days.
During the past few weeks, I’ve read about criticism of litter, dog waste, cuts to community grants and facilities, disabled parking charges, etc, as if there was some magic, unlimited fund to fix the issue that matters to the complaining individual.
But the bald fact is councils don’t even have enough money to fund ‘core services’ anymore – things the Government insists they have to provide. You know, important things like child protection services.
Councils are being forced to cut back on other things and find new revenue streams by charging for non-essential services or raising existing charges.
Our councils are on their knees due to swingeing and often unnecessary cuts imposed by this Government.
After all, if this economy can cope with huge investment in London (£30 million of Government cash for a ‘garden bridge’, anyone?), ignoring billions of pounds owed to the country by rich bankers and corporations who don’t want to pay their fair share of tax, as well as various military exercises around the world, then it should be able to cope with providing decent services for our communities.
So, what really gets me is if you stop to ask these people who complain about ‘the council’ who they actually voted for in the last election (if they bothered at all), then the answer around here is very often ‘Conservative’. Those complaining loudest about poor council services are usually those who voted for the party that has made it impossible for councils to run even vital services properly.
With all the money wasted by the Government and its lack of interest in cracking down on tax evasion, it’s clear to me that austerity is an absolute con, designed to stop money being spread more fairly across our society. I appreciate nobody likes paying tax (particularly the ultra-wealthy), but good roads, good schools, clean and pleasant communities and a free NHS are surely worth paying for?
Keighley Road, Skipton

I AM writing about the converted ‘former pump house’ – 'Relief as family are spared from destroying home' (Craven Herald, February 18).
I have been regularly visiting the Hebden area of the Yorkshire Dales for more than 35 years. I walk on the footpath past the ‘pump house’ and, when I was there a couple of weeks ago, the only difference I noticed was that there were no doors open and nobody tinkering with a car.
In all the years of coming to Hebden, that place has been used as a garage to put the cars belonging to the families living there. The front of the house has doors that look exactly like they did in the days of the garage. It doesn’t look any bigger to me and the stone and the roof look as before.
As a regular visitor and ‘tourist’ to the area, I cannot see any way that this is causing a problem to anyone. It is really good to see local people housed in their own area.
Tourism may be an asset, but it must not interfere with local people wanting to live and work in the area where their families have lived and worked for many years.
I applaud councillors for their support of this young couple, and hope that the national park authority realise it is the local people who keep the area going.
I wish the young couple and their twin daughters all the best and hope the girls can grow up in this beautiful village.
Sedlescombe, East Sussex

THE announcement by the Secretary of State that he has rejected the appeal by Energie Kontor to erect a massive wind farm near Gargrave will be welcome news for not only the local residents, but everyone else who loves the Yorkshire Dales – 'Proposed wind farm plans are rejected' (Craven Herald, February 18).
We congratulate those residents who fought so hard, and at considerable personal financial cost, in fighting off the Craven landscape vandals and who kicked sand in the face of the local community.
We therefore, propose that the leaders of the Friends of Craven Landscape, Chris and Stephanie Emmett, be awarded the Freedom of Craven. Their leadership in the face of three appeals against planning inspectors’ decisions was nothing less than heroic.
The battle against the ‘on-shore’ wind farm subsidy junkies across the UK is now won. The Government listened to the storm of anger and has now changed the law so local communities now have the final say on whether to allow these “flailing bog brushes” (Sir Bernard Ingham) to be erected in our green and pleasant land.
The game’s up. Vox populi vox dei.
Chairman, Parishioners Against Chelker Turbines, Beamsley/Chairman, Save The Dales, Masham

ONCE again common sense has prevailed – 'Proposed wind farm plans are rejected' (Craven Herald, February 18) – but will that common sense now sink into the corporate mind of Energie Kontor, or will they come up with another variation on their theme?
When will they accept that their turbines are not wanted, be it five, four, three, two or one, or whatever height they may want to change the application to?
Had the application been approved, would the local community have been able to keep putting forward objections for five years to stop it? I think not!
Let’s hope this is the end of it and of all subsidised wind farms until the day they can prove beyond all doubt that they can provide for all our energy needs 24/7 without other forms of power backup, because until that day comes – if ever – there is no way they can be classed as green and renewable.
Long Preston

WE are now mid-way through remembering The Great War of a century ago.
The most striking feature of recent reflection is the lack of any real attempt to learn lessons from the past that can help us to understand better the working of processes in our own time, and in doing so to help build a better world.
Of course, the lack of respect for the lessons of history is by no means a new phenomenon, but where are the great minds to help place things in context? And to rise to the challenge of Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s concept of wisdom by identifying and illuminating the significance of the factual?
There is something very sad and depressing about a country that pays so little attention to its history other than the ritualistic and jingoistic acknowledgement of wars. The majority of the citizenry are now absorbed and utterly consumed by the moment.
A generation that is Facebook-focused and Twitter-tangled, utterly in thrall to the ephemeral and the instant. To this mix, one must add a mass media that has, as one respected commentator observed, become ‘a global village idiot, deeply ignorant and easily led’.
The defining feature of the new century is a world of continuous information hailed as wondrous beyond our dreams. Yet, strangely, knowledge is in short supply; and wisdom is nowhere to be found. A country of largely uninformed and misinformed citizens is not worthy of celebration.
We shall rue the day we stop sowing the seeds of an interest in history, for such neglect will mean we will fail to cultivate great minds for tomorrow. This will result in catastrophe and tragedy as the nation will then stumble in avoidable error.
Castle Road, Colne

ALTHOUGH I think it is good that the mile markers are being restored as they bring history and culture to the canal – 'Project to restore canal’s mile markers launched' (Craven Herald, February 18) – don’t you think The Canal and River Trust )TCRT) has its priorities wrong?
The canal is a path used by many, yet – as the point has been made numerous times – there are still no lights to guide us home. Surely, health and safety holds priority over historical context.
The appeal, which was launched by TCRT, for the mile markers to be restored, has been granted with £36,600. Let’s put this into context. A solar-powered street light costs about £2,000 each, so that’s about £28,000 for the 14 that line the canal path between town and Aireville Bridge.
That leaves £8,600 for installation and minor maintenance, if required. They will require very little, if any, maintenance and electricity once installed. So, the real question is which is more important? The health and safety of us all walking along the crippled canal path in the dark – now with new obstacles – or the mile markers, which we would be able to see all the time if we had lights!
Check out our FB page Young Greens Skipton or Skipt-ON Canal Lights, Twitter @YGreensSkipton or e-mail younggreensskipton @hotmail.co.uk.

THE British Element Trieste Force Association was formed in 2004 for those ex-servicemen who served in the Free Territory of Trieste from 1945 and 1954.
Although our average age is now 85, we are still hoping to recruit new members!
There are opportunities to contact old colleagues through the quarterly magazine and association website. Regional meetings are held in various parts of the country.
Annual reunions take place at different locations, the next being near Lichfield in March 2016. A visit to the National Memorial Arboretum is planned to coincide with the eighth anniversary of re-forming the association.
If you are interested in knowing more, please get in touch by phone on 01665 589289, by e-mail at dagriggs@btinternet.com or write to Suilven, Ellingham, Chathill, Northumberland NE67 5HA.
We also welcome associate members, for example people whose relatives served there or who, as children, attended the military school.
Membership secretary

I WRITE as a Southerner with a lifelong connection with and love of West Riding and North Yorkshire, in response to Ian Kenworthy’s letter – 'Funds for Bridge' (Craven Herald, February 18).
How right he was about it being different ‘down south’. When Somerset and Thames Valley suffered serious flooding, Government responses were tardy, poorly co-ordinated and inadequate and left households without funds.
That these things are now better is in no small measure due to the unsung efforts of my (Surrey) MP who, in addition to being Foreign Secretary, chaired the group that has brought about considerable improvements in each of those aspects, including restoration grants for those affected.
It’s disappointing and downright embarrassing to hear a Yorkshireman whinge, especially without good cause. It’s unworthy and an activity best left to those from farther north still, where it has always seemed a national pastime.
Ottershaw, Surrey

I CAN’T believe that Giggleswick School wants planning permission to place such a large and unattractive building in the middle of our lovely village – 'Residents condemn school’s biomass bid' (Craven Herald, February 11).
How unsightly. Surely, they have sufficient land to ‘hide it away’ elsewhere?
I understand large articulated lorries will be manoeuvring and reversing in the Style car park. Can our small village roads cope with such big vehicles, and what about the safety of the pupils who use these roads all the time to go to their rooms and to the playing fields? It is an accident waiting to happen.
Come on, Giggleswick School. You can do better than this. The school buildings, the chapel and the grounds are beautifully cared for. Why spoil it with this monstrosity?

I, LIKE Mrs W Duce, believe Craven District Council to be verging on being incompetent or plainly stupid – 'Collection service cut' (Letters, February 18).
But, on this occasion, I must point out that when the collection service for 2015 runs to March 31 and the new licence for 2016 begins on April 1, there is no break in service.
She could have mentioned that the leader of the council is happy to invite refugees to Skipton with the claim we have housing capacity, and later in the Craven Herald we are advised we need more housing capacity to meet the present Government’s housing targets.
Ah, well! Such is life.
Greenacres, Skipton

I WRITE with regard to the recent water issues in Long Preston – 'Villagers berate council over ‘delays’ in issuing boil-water advisory' (Craven Herald, February 11).
The quote from Craven District Council “... a number of residents have declined this offer (text and e-mail notifications)” needs clarifying, as strictly speaking, it is incorrect and gives a misleading impression these residents have declined to be informed of water issues.
They have not. They have not accepted the offer of text and e-mail – a small but important difference. As Judith Mason points out, these people still need notifying, perhaps more so, as they are likely to be vulnerable to water issues.
My parents in their 90s are unlikely to be taking up any offer of e-mail.

AS A piano accompanist over quite a few years at the annual Glusburn Pantomime, I felt quite privileged to be there at the last performance of this year’s show, Alice In Wonderland.
What a delightful show from all members of the cast; the singing and dancing was superb. In fact, the whole performance was a delight, enjoyed by an enthusiastic audience.
May I, on behalf of many people, offer my congratulations to the whole crew, both on and off the stage, for a wonderful evening.
Hazel Grove, Sutton-in-Craven