Ballet litter louts
LAST night two friends and I went to Skipton Cinema to see the live performance of The Sleeping Beauty from the Royal Ballet. It was wonderful, but the let down was that people seemed to have come with a picnic. It did not start until 7 o’clock so there was time to eat before. On leaving the cinema, it looked worse than the terraces at Leeds’ rugby ground. I feel sorry for the staff who would have to clean it. The floor was covered in empty cartons and popcorn was spilled everywhere. I know that the cinema sells food and drink but surely people can remove their rubbish and not leave it in this disgusting way. We are so lucky to be given the chance to see such an amazing event.
Applying the brakes
I ATTENDED Craven District Council Planning Committee on Monday for the planning application for 67 houses off Carleton Road, Skipton, as I wanted to hear the result. I have been heavily involved with working with residents including Tim Forman and NYCC Highways to get traffic calming measures put in with the 106 money from the Wyvern Park development. So I attended as I wanted to hear what happened, however as I am not the district councillor for the area, I had no provision to be able to speak on this application, as this was the responsibility of the ward councillor, Peter Madeley. I do have a very strong view on this though, and while much of it was echoed at the meeting by others, I would like to add my views.
I am pleased that we have deferred the application. There are already serious highways issues here, but it still doesn’t answer some very serious points about our approach to developments anyway and we need to make sure that other factors are still considered when it comes back to the committee. When are we going to put the brakes on developments in Skipton? At what point are we going to say “Hold on, lets see what inpact the current swathe of built or pending developments is going to have on this small, market town’s infrastructure”?
This application is the latest in a whole series of plans currently targeting Skipton West, on top of the developments that are coming or built all over the rest of Skipton. Already on Carleton Rd we have Wyvern Park on the way, we already have given permission for 40 houses from this developer, this will take the total to 100. This will create extra vehicle movements well up in the 1000s daily, adding to the traffic problems in the area which even at the current levels will be barely mitigated by the small works that North Yorkshire County Highways have planned. Plus while we smile and pat ourselves on the back for having Skipton Flood Defences nearly in place, we then plan to negate that by allowing these houses and a cycle track to be built on a flood plain.The cycle track itself has a questionable community benefit too. I myself am a cyclist, that is on record on this council, but I am also fully aware that a very similar facility over the border in Barrowford, is largely used by people from outside the locality using specialist bikes, which means they mainly transport their bikes in cars adding its own set of parking and traffic issues and problems in that community. The same will happen here, only that this time we may find that the track will be underwater for a good part of the year.
So, time to drop the anchor on this one, let’s make this application the one where we stop, think and assess the impact that these sequential and piecemeal schemes and the lack of a Local Plan are having on this small, market town with its antiquated infrastructure.
I am pleased that we have deferred it, but I think it was close to being stopped altogether
County Councillor Andy Solloway (Skipton West), Sunmoor Drive, Skipton
Academics lean Left
THE recent study ‘Lackademia’ Why do academics lean left?, published by the libertarian Adam Smith Institute finds that British academia is overrun by a single political perspective: that of the political Left.
The report into the state of ideological diversity on UK campuses found that the political leanings of academics are radically at odds with the populace as a whole. It found that barely one in ten held right of centre views when around 50 per cent of the general public supports right-wing or conservative parties, compared to less than 12 per cent of academics. In 1964, 35 per cent of academics supported the Conservative Party. Today, that figure is only 11 per cent.
It also claims that 90 per cent of 115 sampled universities censored speech in some form last year. Examples include banning speakers who they consider breach the universities social and cultural red lines. A separate poll of university staff last June showed that 88 per cent would vote Remain in the EU referendum.
Are left-wing academics just more intelligent than everybody else? Apparently not, by comparing the opinions of academics to another dataset, drawn from those with IQ in the top 5 per cent, the study shows that more intelligent people have similar political leanings to the population at large.
The report recognises that the left have long had a presence and exercised political influence in academia. George Orwell in England Your England (1941) remarked, ‘ It is a strange fact, but it is unquestionably true, that almost any English intellectual would feel more ashamed of standing to attention during ‘God save the King’ than of stealing from a poor box’.
The presence of the Left in academia is not the issue but the fact that higher education is increasingly turning into a stronghold colonised and monitored by Left leaning exponents of groupthink is anti-intellectual, intolerant and therefore bad for university students whose minds are being blinkered rather than challenged.
It is unacceptable that universities’ apply such strenuous efforts to promote every kind of diversity except diversity of thought – a culture shift is long overdue to arrest the decline of challenge and inquiry.
A J A Smith
Wainmans Close, Cowling