SIR - Bad national planning laws have made it increasingly hard to protect valuable local green spaces. Instead of allowing those with local knowledge who care about what happens in their community to control where development happens the current “Local” Plan process puts too much power in the hands of national inspectors who can accept or reject that plan.

In the case of the Craven Local Plan two major heritage assets are at threat because of decisions made by the inspector. He will not allow the local council to designate the whole of Hellifield Flashes as a 'Green Space' and will also not allow it to designate the Park Hill area behind the castle.

Both these areas of land are precious assets that the vast majority of people from all political persuasions want to see preserved. Neither is secure because of a flawed national planning process.

This puts local people and their councillors in an impossible position. I therefore quite genuinely respect councillors from all political persuasions have been trying to preserve these important places, including Cllr Chris Moorby. (Craven Herald letters, February 7).

I do, however, remain immensely critical of the Conservative Party for introducing a new planning process that favours developers over ordinary citizens. For over 60 years there was a consensus on all sides of the political debate that we needed to protect communities from inappropriate development and preserve important green spaces.

That consensus has been lost and, as a consequence, decisions made by a remote planning inspector following his own particular interpretation of very bad laws is now placing Hellifield Flashes and Park Hill at serious risk.

Cllr Andy Brown

Main Street