ONE of the biggest concerns from those opposed to proposed large-scale housing developments is the impact on schools and doctors surgeries.

During recent discussions on plans to build new homes on 'Pig Field' on the outskirts of Skipton, the issue of school places and GP appointments was high on the list of worries, along with increased traffic and the loss of land perceived as 'public open space'.

Craven is justifiably proud of its primary and secondary schools, and none of us want to see those standards lapse, so it comes as no surprise a bid to increase the annual house building target has once again thrown up the issue of school places.

On Monday, Craven councillors reluctantly agreed to push ahead with a revised house building target in the emerging Craven Local Plan, which could see more than 5,000 new homes being built in the next 17 years.

A large proportion of those new homes are proposed for Skipton, and so it emerged that discussions are under way to provide additional school places, with the possible option of a new school. Developers of large-scale housing sites have in the past contributed sums towards extra classrooms, but clearly there is a limit to how much existing buildings can be extended.

In Skipton, there are some primary schools that are over-subscribed and some less so, but try telling a parent they will have to go to the least favoured school. Craven Council is right to properly tackle the issue of school places with an entirely new building, if that is what eventually happens. It has been told to build more houses to address its falling working population and to prevent people commuting in, rather than out. So, a school will be needed.

And it might just stop people from having to drive out of town to the school of their choice, too.