WITH reference to 'time to build houses in Craven that are actually needed,' by Cllr Andy Brown (Craven Herald letters).

We’re not sure there is much that divides us and Cllr Brown in terms of our ambitions for housing for Craven.

The new housing being proposed in the national park - 50 dwellings per year across an area bigger than many English counties - is essential to support the ambitions of North Yorkshire Council in building a strong local economy and resilient communities.

Rather than increasing the strain on local services, if we cannot retain and at the same time attract new working age people to move into the national park, we won’t preserve the services we have now, not least our primary schools, where four have already closed over the last decade and roll numbers are still falling.

We agree with Cllr Brown that we also need to make better use of the existing housing stock.

The national park authority has previously lobbied hard for measures to tackle the impact of ‘under-occupied’ properties, particularly second homes. And we are supporting the efforts of the new unitary authorities in North Yorkshire and Westmorland and Furness to address the issue.

As well as requiring high levels of affordable housing as a part of new development, something that is only viable on sites of more than 10 houses, the national park authority’s emerging Local Plan includes proposals for all new housing to be subject to principal residency requirements, ensuring new housing is not lost to second homes or more Air B&Bs.

Finally, we welcome Government proposals for alterations to the planning classes which will allow decisions on the conversion of housing to holiday lets to be taken by the relevant local authority.


Cllr Richard Foster

North Yorkshire Council Wharfedale, Member Champion for Sustainable Development, Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority.

Cllr Simon Myers

North Yorkshire Council. Mid Craven and Executive Member, portfolio holder for Culture, the Arts and Housing.