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10:40am Friday 22nd June 2012 in Readers' Letters
Local opinion has been disregarded
Sir - Through your newspaper we wish to thank all those who, for more than two years, have supported our efforts to raise awareness of the impact on the town of the proposed development of 9 High Street and the town hall’s curtilage. Members of Skipton Civic Society’s executive have reviewed with interest the appeal decision by Harold Stephens following the inquiry in April. It is of great concern to us that the opinion of local experts, Skipton residents, visitors and retailers has been largely disregarded. It is our view the inspector’s opinion appears to rest only with the District Council and the appellants; little notice has been given to those who have the interests of the town at heart. Where are the Localism Act’s principals here?
We are, of course, very disappointed by the outcome and sympathetic to the town’s shopkeepers and market stallholders who will undoubtedly be adversely affected by the disruption during building works, loss of trade and opportunity to attract more visitors. Thankfully the inspector allows us to retain the current coach-parking provision.
We continue to have great concerns about a number of issues: the loss of the town hall boundary wall and railings on the Jerry Croft side; access restrictions for the museum and cafe rooms; and the impact of noise and vehicle pollution for those using the main hall theatre (while delivery lorries pass within inches of the corner of the building). Civic Society members will continue to support the formation of the Town Hall Trust although development potential at the rear has been greatly reduced, inevitably damaging the building’s viability.
With the future of Skipton’s most important public building, an historic cultural amenity, in mind, the Society strongly urges local councillors to act to secure the town’s best interests.
Susan Wrathmell, Dean Holdaway, Barry Rawson, Skipton Civic Society
Why are we ignored?
Sir - Can anybody explain to me why Skipton,and many other towns, bother to have councils, planning committees and civic societies that are ignored when it really comes to it?
The Elsey Croft, Green Lane in Glusburn and now Skipton’s 9 High Street developments were all rejected by our local bodies who have the interests of our towns and villages at heart in campaigns that have caused local people to form protests against these schemes. Then, some big cheese from government who doesn’t live in or understand local needs puts on his spectacles, reads the cases and goes against local opinion and government by passing these developments.
I presume, though I have to admit I don’t know, that the disgruntled constructional companies, write to the government immediately they think they have lost the cause.
It’s madness that local authorities can’t make local decisions without the government butting in and overturning their decisions.
Patricia Mason, Sackville Street, Skipton
Benefit our wildlife
Sir - My family entirely shares the view of Carol Oliver’s letter in last week’s Craven Herald regarding verges around Craven. Like Carol, we much prefer to see our natural wildflowers along the roadside rather than sterile, closely-cropped verges; yellowed by the sun or weedkiller. Recent studies have also shown that pollinating insects are now doing better in urban areas than in rural areas, which is really shocking.
We appreciate that some management of the verges is necessary to maintain visibility for traffic but it would be great if the council could demonstrate some vision and better manage these spaces to benefit our local wildlife.
Cressida Woodall, Carleton
An utter disgrace
Sir - Further to the letter last week from R Crossley, I also wish to air my views on this ‘torch’ – one of hundreds being lit on a journey, not even the same torch doing the job! Why did the organisers of the Olympic Torch, taken through Skipton, not check on other arrangements in the area over that weekend?
It is an utter disgrace that the Broughton Game Show has had to be cancelled. An annual event, giving pleasure to thousands of people, that has taken place for many years. The proceeds raised from the show are given to really needy charities, who will obviously suffer from lack of income from this event. Surely, the ‘torch’ could have, should have, been re-arranged to go through Skipton by one day, or better still, to have been taken through the showground at Broughton where far more people would see it.
Beryl A Dalton, Glusburn
DUKWing the question
Sir - Liz Hird’s ‘Letter from the Farm’ is one that I always look forward to as it covers so many interesting subjects and one in June 7’s edition got my instant attention and that was the London Duck (DUKW) Tour.
Not since 1944 have I heard the word mentioned and that was the last time I saw a DUKW.
After initial army training in 1942 our intake became a Tank Transporter Company in the RASC.
It was in this role that about eight weeks or so after D-Day we were sent to Gosport where DUKWs were loaded on to the trailers of our transporters which we then drove on to a landing craft which sailed into the Solent and waited for nightfall when we sailed for France, landing at daybreak and driving up the beach at Arromanche.
This was possible as our engines had been waterproofed and our training for this had been carried out at Troon in Scotland. Our first night in France was spent near Caen after which our DUKWs were off-loaded, never to be seen again by our company. From then on our loads consisted of either a Sherman or Churchill Tank being taken to or returned from the forward Tank Corps. Our bases varied constantly from France to Brussels, Eindhoven, Hannover and Hamburg from where I came home in 1946.
How appropriate after all these years for me, a Grassington lad, to have my wartime query solved by someone from a bit further up the Dales and read about in the Craven Herald – thanks Liz.
Jeff Willis, Glista Mill, Skipton
Sir - Unfortunately, Ms Gooch’s letter in last week’s paper includes several general misunderstandings about wind energy.
Firstly, she compares wind turbines and electricity pylons. Large commercial wind turbines, such as those proposed at Brightenber, are larger than pylons in both height and width and, of course, have massive moving blades which ‘catch’ the eye. Indeed, the top of those proposed will be as high as the top of Malham Cove and will be clearly seen, as massive industrial intrusions, for many miles around and from many significant beauty spots within the Dales National Park, Bowland AONB and many other areas. Additionally, pylons are most definitely NOT becoming redundant. Many, many more will be required locally and across the country to connect all the wind farms.
I am not aware of anybody opposing Brightenber who has supported the Hellifield development Ms Gooch refers to and obviously, understandably, feels bitter about. However, the noise and disruption from the wind turbine development will be, I am sure, significantly more disruptive than that from the leisure complex. (It has been proven that considerable health problems can be caused by the low frequency noise generated). As for money making, that made by the leisure company will, no doubt, be a pittance compared to the gains made by the wind farm operator and the land owner – that is where money is really talking, right across the country at the great expense of all electricity users, contributing in no small way to the increasing numbers in fuel poverty. I am also sure that the leisure complex will provide more ongoing local jobs than the turbine development, if it takes place.
It is interesting that Ms Gooch mentions how we all panic at the loss of our electricity supply but this is something we will all have to get used to if the policy of relying on wind power is continued. Maybe some people hadn’t noticed, but the wind doesn’t blow all the time! When it doesn’t, power has to come from elsewhere. (In other words we need enough conventionally produced power to meet all our needs without wind power – hence wind is a total additional cost). The problem is, many of our current power stations are nearing the end of their lives and need replacing very soon but that is not happening.
It should also be remembered that further applications for that area are waiting in the sidelines and will come forward should this one be approved (just as is happening outside Harrogate). Please, those who do not wish their local area to be spoilt by the march of these massive industrial machines, formally object to the planning authority before it is too late.
Terry Goodison, Lothersdale
Sir - In her letter Ms Gooch misses an important point. Electricity pylons are there to support power lines which carry electricity produced in power stations. That is their only function and they do it admirably. The sole purpose of a wind farm is to produce electricity. Unfortunately they rarely fulfil their intended purpose.
A pylon is there three hundred and sixty-five days a year and fulfils its purpose constantly. On average a wind farm fulfils its purpose less than twenty percent of the time. Sadly it too is there all the time as well. Yes, they can both be classed as a blot on our beautiful Dales landscape but the pylon at least does what it is intended to do. If wind farms can be made to perform at one hundred per cent capacity as do fossil-fuelled and nuclear power stations, and without any health related detriment to nearby residents, I am sure more people would look favourably upon them.
However, most people see them for what they are, a vastly subsidised white elephant which substantially increases everyone’s fuel bills with no discernible benefit to the population. Wind farms will never be able to operate without fossil fuelled/nuclear power being created all the time in the background as back-up, where's the ecological soundness in that?
The final irony of all this is that when wind farms don’t produce electricity, either due to no wind or too much wind, the companies behind them are paid millions of pounds of Government money (which is actually our money) for NOT producing electricity –the very job they are there to do! Surely, if they cannot produce power one hundred per cent of the time then they are not fit for purpose and any money changing hands should be going from the wind farm owners back to us, not the other way round.
Paul Morley, Long Preston
Sir - I write to draw your attention to an error in the article in this week’s Herald regarding the Chelker Wind Farm. The second paragraph should have read 1400kwh per month, and not for the whole seven-month period. Chelker residents have no desire to join Kelda/Yorkshire Water in their “administrative errors”.
The point however will not be lost on those of your readers who take an interest in such matters. This wind farm is “bust” by any stretch of the imagination and we now await Craven District Council’s legal officer’s research as to the precise legal meaning of “ceased working”, and then we can hopefully get this industrial graveyard cleaned up and returned to its original and peaceful agricultural purpose.
Peter Rigby, chairman, Parishioners Against Chelker Turbines (PACT)
Sir - At last someone in authority has seen the potential of the existing railway line between Hellifield and Clitheroe, and beyond (Blackburn, Burnley, Bolton, Preston, Manchester).
But what have our representatives been doing? I have a letter from our previous MP about Hellifield Station and what he was doing, dated 2001. I also have one from our recently-departed district councillor full of waffle about confidentiality, dated 2002.
Some of us can remember upwards of £300,000 of taxpayers’ money being spent on this station 12 to15 years ago with a lot of hoo-ha from various sources.
Our present MP has put his name to the walkers and talkers of SELRAP who don’t know the Lancy line between Hellifield and Clitheroe exists (being an ofcumden he can be excused).
Some of us know it’s been there about 130 years.
If this line was opened on a regular basis, people from Lancashire could go up the Settle-Carlisle or change at Hellifield for Leeds or Lancaster. It would lead to a few jobs at the station and increase in demand for property around here. Do our local representatives realise this?
Seems not, will they now spring into action? Some of us have heard about loss of industrial sites, this station was an industrial site. Good luck to Mr Levet and his friends.
Bryan Capstick, Hellifield
Sir - In the 1950s my parents and I travelled frequently by rail from Hellifield to Glusburn, plus once in a while Nelson and Blackpool via Blackburn, until Beeching made his cuts.
My father Kenneth Walker, ex driver at Hellifield (24h) made many journeys over this line into East Lancashire, to Darwen, Lostock Hall etc plus many trips north to Hawes Junction/Garsdale, Horton quarry and beyond with freight and passenger traffic.
As an ex Hellifield boy I try to visit Hellifield, Settle and the Dales every two to three years, coupled with visits to Dalton in Furness where my son resides for the next few years. Should the Friends of the Settle Carlisle Line and others be successful in their quest to reintroduce a passenger service over this line with reasonably priced fares, nothing would please me more than to incorporate the journey along the ‘Old Lanky’ to Hellifield.
I wish all concerned with this campaign every success.
Hugh Walker Tregoney Hill, Mevagissey