AS a parish councillor for Embsay with Eastby for the last five years I have followed the application to build 40 houses on Shires Lane closely. I was therefore very interested to read your report of the 'reserved matters' application in the Herald.

The original application was of course made by the Chatsworth Settlement with a view to creating a 'hostel' of houses to accommodate the 'hospitality' staff employed at the Devonshire Arms - with a direct route via Low Lane to bus them there and back. The planning officer responsible rejected the application under his own authority, it did not go to committee.

The scheme did have a density to rival the 'Pig field' development (Skipton), but it did also have a significant affordable housing requirement. However the 'Settlement' appealed the decision of the planning officer to the Planning Inspectorate- who then approved it in outline - with conditions.

In due course the affordable housing requirement was also reduced significantly by appeal to the Inspectorate. The Settlement then entered into partnership with Candelisa to develop the land. A detailed plan was submitted and the parish council sought consultation with the agent, as recommended by the National Planning Framework.

Clearly, because the planning inspector had granted the appeal the houses were going to be built come what may, regardless of the fact that this joint scheme differed significantly to that seen by the planning inspector . It was only in the detail (or the lack of it) that either the community or the parish council could object.

Consultation with the parish council was not taken up by the agent, and 'conditions' still remain outstanding to this day.

In particular plans for highway and junction alterations need to be submitted before development begins and the flood risk concerns need to be allayed.

The suggestion of the agent that because there had only been eight objections then most of the community support the scheme is 'stretching it' to say the least. It is in fact the equivalent of suggesting that all those who didn't vote in the Brexit Referendum would have voted for leaving the EU - or indeed would all have voted against leaving!

Councillor Vince Smith

Embsay with Eastby

A spokesperson for Candelisa responded: "Candelisa is delighted to see the Embsay scheme approved by the local councillors at the recent planning committee.

We are looking forward to working with Craven District Council and the local community to provide quality new homes for both open market sale and the full provision of on-site affordable housing in line with Craven's adopted Local Plan in this excellent location within Embsay.

We will initially be working with the planning department at Craven District Council to discharge all the pre-commencement conditions which will allow us to then start works on site with the first homes becoming available to prospective purchasers in Spring of next year."