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8:40am Saturday 26th May 2012 in Readers' Letters
Skipton is not a sponge
Sir - Work has now started on the new car park on the Bailey in Skipton, and it is welcome that there should be some new parking capacity, but this car park, mainly for visitors, will not provide a solution to Skipton’s long stay commuter provision, and for the congestion in on-street parking.
At present car parks in the centre of town, although full to capacity at peak times, are empty at times when commuters arrive, but many do not use these car parks because they think the charges expensive; while on-street parking in much of the town is jammed and drivers circle constantly round residential streets looking for a space, creating congestion and nuisance.
It dismays me that Skipton may be about to lose some planned parking capacity. Currently, there is a proposal for a revised planning application for housing at pre-planning consultation stage for the vacant site at Belle Vue Mills (BVM) on Brewery Lane adjacent to the canal.
There is existing planning permission for this site which includes, as well as eight town houses and related parking, 29 new car parking spaces whose purpose is to supply parking for the BVM complex.
In the new plans presented at the pre-planning consultation this April, these car spaces for BVM have disappeared, and the site is now dedicated solely to 33 sheltered housing units and related parking. It would be inexcusable to lose the already approved 29 spaces, which were intended in the planning consent to provide much-needed off-street parking for BVM.
Skipton is not a sponge. It cannot currently absorb any more cars in either off- or on-street parking places. The lack of parking is now an absolute obstacle to sustainable development in the town. It is destroying the amenity of the town, and hence in the long term, its viability as a place to live and work. If there are approved plans for car parking spaces for users of the BVM complex, then please let’s keep them now.
>b>Jane Houlton, Granville Street, Skipton
Tourism too dominant
Sir - I am pleased to see that Steve Amphlett is trying “to help reinvigorate the local economy” and agree that tourism is a “vital local industry”. However his criticism of Coun Welch misses the point as much as he does.
Tourism locally provides many full time jobs but the difficulty with the argument is that, for many employees, that means remuneration at, or at a small premium to, the minimum wage.
That equates to say £250 a week gross for a 40- hour week. Steve needs to answer the question of how a family of two adults with two children can afford to buy a house locally with that kind of income.
Never mind run a car, have a holiday, pay for school trips as well as all their day-to-day expenses.
The problem for Settle and many other towns and villages in the Dales is that tourism is too dominant. We have what is effectively a low-wage economy. If Steve wishes to reinvigorate the local economy he needs to address where the jobs that pay several multiples of minimum wage levels are to come from.
Anthony Bradley, Long Preston
Protect our landscape
Sir - I write in reply to Richard Ednay (letters, May 17). I refute his comments entirely.
His home is not even near the proposed site, but what about those who do have to live and work in close proximity to the site. Wind turbines create noise and shadow flicker, so he is obviously quite happy to inflict this nuisance on others.
He previously chose to live in an industrial landscape but now, wishing to live in a quiet rural setting, he seems to want to bring it with him here to our sensitive landscape.
I am not opposed to renewable energy, including wind farms, but it has to be the right scheme in the right place, but this is not the case here in the midst of the Gargrave Drumlin Field and in full view of the Yorkshire Dales National Park.
Mr Ednay and his wife were present, as I was, at the Martons Both Parish Meeting on April 30 when this planning application was discussed at length, before eventually being put to a vote. The vote was overwhelmingly opposed to the scheme. Mr Ednay took the decision to abstain from the vote, so why did he not have the courage of his obvious convictions and vote accordingly? In fact no one present voted in support of the application. He now writes to the Craven Herald to express his views in support.
The Friends of Craven Landscape (FOCL) are just that - they exist to protect the landscape in which many people live and work and enjoy recreational activities. Surely there is a need to protect what already exists, now and for future generations? More landscape cannot be created and once it is blighted with industrial wind turbines, it is inevitable more will follow as landowners and energy companies seek to cash in on the huge subsidies available.
I would urge anybody who appreciates this Craven landscape to fully support FOCL in their attempt to persuade Craven District Council Planning Committee to reject the application for the development of a wind farm at Brightenber Hill once again.
Jennifer B Bryan, West Marton
Sir - The following is a copy of a letter sent to Craven District Council’s planning department in support of Brightenber wind farm: I am writing as a resident of East Marton, where I have lived for 15 years. I am also director of a company that has been based in the district for more than 20 years.
I am writing to support the planning application made by EnergieKontor for the construction of wind turbines at Brightenber.
There have been significant changes very recently that radically change the economics and the benefit that this project will bring to the community and the district. I estimate that this project will bring £3,250,000 of economic benefit to Craven District over the lifetime of the project. I think that the planning committee should consider these developments very carefully in assessing this planning application. Details are given in this letter of a number of recent developments that mean that this proposal should be treated with a fresh and open mind, as the situation now is very different to when the previous planning application for five turbines was made.
I have studied the new planning application carefully and I am very impressed with the meticulous detail that has gone into the application and the amount of effort that is being made to minimise disruption and inconvenience to the community during the construction phase of the project.
I support the proposal for a number of reasons. First is that it represents the best opportunity for Craven District Council to make some meaningful progress towards meeting its targets for renewable electricity generation in the District, in line with regional and legally binding Government targets. I believe that this should be the primary issue on which this planning application should be considered.
Secondly, I am a strong believer in ‘sustainable communities’, not just from a renewable energy perspective but also from the perspective of the economic viability of a community. I believe that there will be significant economic benefits to the community if this project goes ahead, both in terms of the local and regional spend during the construction phase of the project, the retention of business rates from the project and also in the long term community fund associated with the project.
Moreover I am compelled to support the application in order to balance the campaign of disinformation that is being orchestrated by the “Friends of Craven Landscape”.
Quite frankly, I have been sickened by their propaganda campaign and appalled at the most obnoxious cases of ‘NIMBYism’ that I have ever encountered. I am concerned that the council’s deliberations on this planning application may be unduly biased by the effect of a vociferous minority who have the money, time and resource to distort local public opinion on this matter. It is, of course, always difficult to obtain the view of the ‘silent majority’, but a new Ipsos MORI opinion poll reveals that 68 per cent of people who live in a rural environment support wind farms. I would expect that the true picture in Craven District would be closer to this national figure, if it were possible to hold a balanced and rational debate on the issue.
Richard Ednay, East Marton
Sir - I was really pleased to see that the Cavendish Pavilion had been updated and so on Sunday, May 6, my husband and I took a trip down to Bolton Abbey.
After paying £6 for the privilege of parking we took a walk along by the Strid. We then walked back to the Pavilion and found that it was absolute chaos. No trays; no side plates; no large coffee cups and tables uncleared. This was at about 12.30pm. The flow of customers was hampered by a display and absolutely no-one seemed to know what they were doing.
The roast beef left on several plates on the uncleared table looked as a dry as dust and had obviously been left for this reason. The toilet paper in the ladies toilet had run out and the tiny designer basins splashed water all over the place when you washed your hands. I fully appreciate that it was a Bank Holiday but surely it is just such events that such places are geared up to cater for - this was certainly not the case on Sunday I dare say that hundreds and thousands of pounds had been spent on the refurbishment and not a little of this would have gone to a designer; however I don't think that anyone had thought about the customer experience because it was dreadful.
I am sure that if the Duke and Duchess of Devonshire, or the new Pavilion's designer, had stopped for a meal they would have been as disappointed as we were. Needless to say we will not go back.
Peggy Turpin, Burnside Avenue, Skipton
Sincere thank you
Sir - On behalf of the respective charities, may I convey a most sincere thank you to all who kindly contributed to my recent bucket collections around local pubs and hostelries.
Also, thank you to the mine hosts and managements concerned – as of previous charity efforts in numerous cases over the years – for allowing me once again to collect on their premises.
Both my latest rounds were in essence part of a bigger picture.
Sam Boatwright, as many will have hopefully read of his ‘journey’ thus far, is endeavouring to run around Britain in fifty days on behalf of ‘Help for the Heroes’. Sam therefore asked me if I could gather in a bit towards that charity, and you wonderful folk concerned have kindly contributed a splendid total of £1,228.66 towards the ‘Help for Heroes’ cause.
In similar fashion, another local sportsman, Lee Duxbury, who is now assistant manager at Oldham Athletic - together with some of his team mates - have performed a charity bike ride and parachute descent on behalf of The Christie, a specialist radiography unit at the Royal Oldham Hospital, and also an orphanage in Malawi, which looks after the well-being of 400 children.
Lee too asked me if I could help, and I thus performed a quick blitz around pubs on the far West fringes of Craven and out towards Oldham on that ‘round’ and coined in another £509.23 for that cause, with sincere thanks again to all where applicable.
No doubt the grand totals of both overall efforts will be announced in due course, and I notify of my own interim collection figures purely on the strength of the ongoing principle of me having been granted permission to collect on public premises, hence simply to inform all concerned of the amounts contributed.
Roger Ingham, Aldersley Avenue, Skipton