CRAVEN District Council has made the wise decision to extend the informal consultation into its draft local plan to the end of the month.

The plan - for anyone who does not know - is the planning blueprint for Craven, outside the Yorkshire Dales National Park, up until 2032. It is the council's vision of how Craven should look at the end of the lifespan of the 20-year plan and takes into account economic, environmental and social aspirations.

It will also form the basis of all planning decisions made over the next 16 years and beyond. Probably most controversially of all, it also plans for the building of 5,120 new homes, or 256 per year, and suggests where they should be built.

According to the plan, the majority of new homes should be built close to 'principal town' of Skipton, or 'key service centres' of Settle and Bentham, with Gargrave, Glusburn and Cross Hills, and Ingleton, next in the hierarchy, followed by villages with basic services, such as Cowling, Hellifield and Rathmell. Villages such as Long Preston, Giggleswick and Bolton Abbey have the least development planned as they dissect the national park.

The plan, which has taken many years to get to this point, is now nearing the end of the effective point where people can make any difference. After the end of May, it will move into formal consultation, where only legal issues of soundness can be challenged.

Council leader, Cllr Richard Foster, who is keen as anyone to get the plan completed, wants to give everyone the chance to comment and raise any issues of concern. And following criticism from both councillors and residents, that chance to comment has been given another two weeks.

Additional information events have also been arranged and all the documents are available on the council website. There really is plenty of opportunity for people to make their feelings known - the council can do no more.