Estate of the future

THE National Park states so many houses have to be built a year, the district and county councils state so many have to be built a year and the Government says the same. Have any of these august bodies said in what year this building will finally stop. Of course not, as these people will eventually retire and won’t have to worry about attracting votes then.

Will it stop when we no longer have a national park but a national housing estate – a lovely sight for the tourists.

Will it end when the  signs on the roads around Skipton no longer say ‘Skipton – Gateway to the Dales’ but ‘Skipton - Gateway to the...housing estate’?

Or will it only grind to a halt when the adjectives green and pleasant can’t be used in the same sentence as England’s land.

No, this is not nimbyism just pure common sense.

The problem is not a lack of housing but a serious overpopulation of what is still just at the moment a green and pleasant land.

 PAUL MORLEY Ribblesdale Estate, Long Preston What a performance WHEN I was growing up I must have been rather dramatic as my mum used to say “What’s all the song and dance about?”

Well I would like to make a song and dance about the musical Oliver which was performed by the students at Settle College this week.

The teacher in charge, Mrs Powers, was rather emotional when she delivered her thank you speech at the end of the production – and quite right too. Everyone involved had done a fantastic job.

Bella who played the part of Oliver was purely delightful to watch and listen to. The Artful Dodger was inspiring to any future performer. My daughter, age seven, said Nancy was a princess with a beautiful voice. I hadn’t realized there was so much local, male singing talent – Fagin, Bill Sikes and the Knife Grinder blew me away by their performances.

As for the Bumble sisters, what can I say? they were tremendous. I could go on, they were all amazing. Even the local primary schools were involved – with only half a day’s rehearsal I thought they made a pretty fantastic job of singing and performing.

So I would like to say a very big thank Settle College for a fantastic evening.

Definitely something to make a song and dance about!

RACHEL WILSON Gill Garth, Selside.

Financial straitjacket WITHOUT any doubt whatsoever, the financing of local government is at crisis point. The government at Westminster has had local councils in a tight financial straitjacket for many years now and yet again this year, has tightened the laces even further.

Add to this the injustice of council tax rising year on year and much-needed crucial services that continue to decline or be abandoned, then value for money of our local taxes needs to be questioned.

The budget as presented by Craven District Council is not Craven District Council’s budget, it’s a budget directed by central government.

A budget allowed by the political masters of the administration at Craven directed by Westminster.

It is neither fair or equitable and certainly not sustainable politically or otherwise for council taxpayers to be forced to pay more for less and less services relentlessly, year after year.

The government and all local authorities must give serious thought on how the current fiscal policies are short changing families across England and rural North Yorkshire in particular.

All councils, irrespective of their political control, need to confront and challenge the government at Westminster on this unravelling disaster for local public services. North Yorkshire County Council has the unremitting responsibility of providing social care for our increasing elderly population.

The government has us between a rock and a hard place.

Something has to give.

Perhaps the government makes a start by recognising its moral duty?

ROBERT HESELTINE (COUNTY AND DISTRICT COUNCILLOR) Newmarket Street Skipton Hate crimes on rise NEWS broke this week that the West Yorkshire force was only one of three in England and Wales to record more than 1,000 hate crimes in the three months ending in September, up by a staggering 46% compared to April – June 2016.

Only the Metropolitan Police and Greater Manchester recorded more incidents.

These figures confirm the growing body of evidence that the Brexit vote has emboldened a tiny number of people for whom expressing these views is acceptable.

The figures also demonstrate the urgent need for Prime Minister Theresa May and her Brexit Government to end the uncertainty of the future for EU nationals living in the UK.  This would be a very strong signal.

We all know that the EU Referendum Campaign caused divisions, however, we must all now take urgent action to ensure that this worrying trend is stopped. Racism has no part in our society and this must be made clear.

KAMRAN HUSSAIN Yorkshire & Humber Liberal Democrats Brexit Spokesperson Poppy Appeal funds I AM delighted to report that the total to date for the 2016 Poppy Appeal is a magnificent £32,291, which is an increase of 21.78 per cent over the previous year and the highest total we have ever achieved in this area.

All credit and congratulations for this must go to Stephanie Parker, who volunteered to take on the role of Poppy Appeal organiser and with her team of helpers ( all volunteers – including Steph) has done a magnificent job.

Thanks must also go to the people in our area who have contributed so generously to this very worthwhile cause.

Sadly, Stephanie is unable to continue as the Poppy Appeal organiser and I have agreed to take on this role, which covers Skipton and the majority of the Craven District.

I would be pleased to hear from anyone interested in offering their time and energy to help as we build up to 2018 when we mark the 100th Anniversary of the end of the First World War.

I can be contacted by phone on 07999344545 or by e-mail on JEAN PHILLIP Poppy Appeal Organiser, Skipton & Craven Help fund research EVERY year, heart and circulatory disease kills around 14,000 in Yorkshire and the Humber and currently, around 616,000 people in the region are living with its burden.

The need to find new ways to prevent, diagnose and treat these terrible conditions is urgent.

That’s why I’m calling on everyone in Yorkshire and the Humber to join me in signing up to the British Heart Foundation’s (BHF) DECHOX campaign to help fund lifesaving research.

You could be on a mission to show your charitable side or get that little bit healthier for 2017.

Or you could be a self-confessed chocoholic who’s looking to put your willpower to the test.

Whatever your motivation, join me and go chocolate-free this March –  you will be helping make a difference to millions across the UK.

It won’t be easy, but every pound you raise by ditching chocolate will be crucial in helping fund the cutting-edge breakthroughs we need to end the devastation which is caused by heart disease.

Last year, over 18,000 DECHOXERS took part, raising an incredible £860,000 for the BHF.

This year we’re determined to raise even more. So stand up and say no to chocolate this March and join DECHOX!  Sign up today at JAKE QUICKENDEN X-Factor and I’m a Celebrity star  Heart of the matter HEART disease is heartless.

Thousands of people in Yorkshire and the Humber are killed each year by these terrible conditions, so the need to find new, life saving treatments, is urgent.

Around 616,100 people across the region are living with these terrible conditions.

This month is national Heart Month, and the British Heart Foundation is calling on the local community to help us stop heart disease in its tracks.

We’re launching a calendar of over 80 incredible challenge events both in the UK and abroad, to inspire people to get active and help us accelerate the fight against heart disease.

From fun runs and marathons, walks and treks, to the BHF’s prestigious cycling series sponsored by Tesco and Jaffa, there’s no reason not to get involved this year.

We’ve got something for everyone, even life-changing adventures abroad for the thrillseekers among you, and we have everything you need to get you to the finish.

We are looking for champions to take on one of our legendary challenge events and help us power vital research that could make a difference to millions.

You can sign up to a BHF event today by visiting for a full list of events and ways to get involved.

SHONALI RODRIGUES, Head of Events at British Heart Foundation   Repairs are needed OVER a year ago, I wrote to your newspaper in the hope that whoever was responsible for the clock at Skipton bus station would actually take steps to ensure that it showed the correct time.

Strangely their immediate response to cure the problem was to authorise its permanent removal.

I now write in the hope that repairs may be made to the automatic doors on the shelters in order that they will actually open at the drivers’ request.

These have been faulty for several weeks, and at my last visit, there was only one working door to cover several stands.

Should this letter now result in the permanent removal of all the shelters, please accept my assurance that it was certainly not my intention.  ROBERT HALL, Thornton-in-Craven New use for school HOW insensitive was it to publish (February 20) a photo of Carl Les smiling, when the associated report announced rises in the precepts of most recipients in North Yorkshire County Council, which of course would cause a rise in everyone’s rates, and possible cuts needed to maintain services and keep the books balanced.

And this in the week the County Council agreed to the closure of Horton School, despite the outcry of most villagers and others (see Joe Dillon’s letter of February 16) and consequently the Hub which served well all villagers and folk in surrounding areas.   Not content with this, there is now the threat to close Rathmell School presumably for similar reasons.

It would be better if the council removed its blinkers to look for innovative alternatives for Horton School, such as to use the wonderful surroundings which could contribute to provide an excellent education for children with developmental issues such as autism, and of course ‘mainstream’ children too.   It has been reported in many places that an outdoor environment is very beneficial for such children, but is not provided in all special schools, nor in many mainstream schools.

This could be a provision which Horton School could develop, and be proud of.   The catchment area could be offered to other Education Authorities who could maybe contribute some finance from their own budgets, while increasing the roll to a sustainable number.

It could add a few ‘points’ for the next Ofsted report, and put Horton on the map.

LORETTA GOOCH, Midland Terrace, Hellifield   No place for a dip I AM all for wild swimming and have done it in various lochs, rivers, seas and mountain lakes around the world, but the suggestion from Fiona Lines in the article on Cowdance that we should try a wild swim in Malham Tarn could cause trouble.

To whit, it’s not allowed.

One reason is that this protected nature reserve is the habitat of fragile things like the native crayfish.

F MANBY Gargrave Tours for war veterans  I AM Head of Travel for the travel arm of the Royal British Legion, Remembrance Travel, and I’m currently on a mission to find every single surviving D-Day veteran.

The Treasury is enabling a series of free-of-charge tours for D-Day veterans to return to Normandy and pay their respects to their fallen comrades.

The tours are being funded by the Treasury from LIBOR fines, and will enable a D-Day veteran to return with a family member and carer on a six-night tour.  The 2017 tours will take place in March, April, May and September and will give Normandy veterans – now mostly in their 90s – the chance to revisit the Normandy beaches, cemeteries and memorials.

The tours will be accompanied by a medic and a guide from the Royal British Legion.

The tours will depart from London and will include Eurotunnel from Dover to Calais, accommodation, visits to Pegasus Bridge, Juno, Sword, Gold beaches, Arromanches, and war memorials, plus visits to personally specified cemeteries too.

 Sadly, there is no database of D-Day veterans, so we’re calling on the goodwill of the media and general public to spread the word.

So, if you do know a D-Day veteran, please do let them know about our free tours.

 Normandy veterans wishing to benefit from this tour need to apply to our tour operator, Arena Travel on 01473 660800, or visit

  NICHOLA ROWLANDS Head of Travel, Remembrance Travel, 199 Borough High Street, London SE1 1AA Volunteering benefits WE’RE marking Student Volunteering Week. With hate crime and intolerance on the rise, I’d like to tell your readers how in our experience young people are leading the way when it comes to tolerance and diversity.

We recently conducted a study of our student volunteers and found evidence of some amazing development, both personally and professionally.  95 per cent of students we asked said that their volunteering experience made them more tolerant towards others, with 96 per cent saying it made them become more aware of diversity issues.    And that’s not all. It’s clear that volunteering very often inspires greater participation in wider society.

79 per cent of our student volunteers said volunteering inspired them to play a more active part in their communities.

What’s more, previous research revealed that over half of our volunteers believed their volunteering experience had improved their prospects of getting paid work.

I work for Revitalise, an incredible charity that provides respite holidays for disabled people and their carers at our three accessible holiday centres across the UK.

We are proud to operate the largest residential volunteering programme of any UK charity.

In the last year alone our residential volunteers donated in excess of 3,000 weeks of their time, the vast majority of whom were aged 16 to 25.

We have plenty of inspirational volunteering opportunities waiting for you.

To find out more about our charity or to become a part of our family of vibrant volunteers, visit or call0303 303 0145.   STEPHANIE STONE, Revitalise      Cancer on increase  THE 2015 cancer incidence data for England and Wales has been published, showing that more people are being diagnosed with cancer than ever before.

Behind these vast statistics are around 320,000 individuals in England and Wales having an incredibly tough time.

These figures highlight the vital need for services to support people living with cancer. Everyone who faces cancer experiences a personal struggle, whether that is coping with depression, the long-term consequences of treatment, or the often unexpected financial impact that a diagnosis can bring.

With more people being treated for cancer than ever before, NHS professionals are telling us that workloads have never been greater and they worry that this pressure may ultimately affect patient care.

The fact that cancer waiting time targets are regularly missed is another warning sign of services struggling to cope.

Macmillan will continue to work closely with local NHS partners to support people affected by cancer during and after treatment.

However, action is required at all levels of our health and social care services to ensure we are able to deliver the care that people with cancer need and deserve.

  LYNDA THOMAS Chief Executive, Macmillan Cancer Support,  Macmillan Cancer Support 89 Albert Embankment, London SE1 7UQ