Dear Editor,

The issue of taxing second home owners is very complicated and has not been properly considered by Mr.Lis and Mr.Foster. They should consider the following consequences of their proposals;

• A single class of owner would become unfairly singled out for sweeping taxation at rates that are proposed to be a penalty.

• Local property prices will fall across the Park on all residential property as prices adjust downwards because of the new availability of present second homes to the general market. Their present ’premium’ is supporting the current values lower down the line.

• Without that support, some First home owners almost certainly will find they have ‘negative equity’. All owners will find their asset reduces and furthermore looses much attraction for increased growth.

• With the ‘steam’ taken from the Dales property market, Council Tax bandings will reduce and a higher precept upon all within the Park will be necessary, if existing service levels are to be maintained.

• As prices reduce, financial lenders will become coy. Having lent against the status quo, they will have less secure capital, marginal lending will become difficult, and they will also wonder about negative equity. They may prefer in the future to lend outside the Park.

• There will be an office and more bureaucrats required to police this situation.

• Legal challenges are certain and several options to negate the effects of the proposals immediately spring to my mind.

I assume that the intentions of the proposals are sincere, but they are certainly misguided and a less partisan approach will be required. I have a house outside the Park and will benefit from those who are proposed to be disgracefully displaced as they push up our local values.

John Pallister. Bolton by Bowland.

These properties do nothing for villages

SIR - The ownership of second homes in villages is definitely a problem.

The overall picture of the village is affected by neglected second homes.

Some owners do not seem able to keep the appearance to a reasonable standard when they are only visiting the property once a year.

Some properties have been inherited from family members and left empty.

The owners contribute nothing to village life.

I cannot see any other possible solution to the problem other than massively increasing the council tax.

Molly Preston, Austwick

Thanks to wonderful staff of the NHS

SIR - At a time when the NHS is dealing with a severe winter crisis, I feel I must write to congratulate the amazing staff on Ward 14 at Airedale Hospital.

I unfortunately had to add to the crisis within the NHS when I recently became unwell but thanks to the wonderful staff on Ward 14 I have now returned home.

The high level of care I received was delivered with great professionalism and the brilliant staff always did the little things that matter when one is unwell, to give a word of encouragement and a smile with such grace and style.

Many thanks to all the staff on Ward 14 and to all the wonderful people who work in our wonderful NHS.

Mr Howard Ambrose, Kirkgate, Settle

Castleberg provides a worthwhile service

SIR - As a long term Settle resident, I have always felt secure to know Castleberg Hospital is there.

My father-in-law died there - he was content there in his last days.

It was handy for his old friends to get in and see him, and he wasn’t a burden on his family to look after at home.

A lot of people do not want to be nursed at home, causing problems for their families.

We feel secure knowing Castleberg is there.

Castleberg works for local old people, it’s the correct order of things.

And Castleberg is very close to our doctors, who are not just doctors - they have known us and our families for generations, and are our neighbours, friends and family.

Name and Address Supplied

We must act together to beat litter scourge

SIR - There has been much recent media events highlighting the menace and real danger to our environment of litter.

According to TV programme Blue Planet II, recent newspaper articles on storm surge litter on UK beaches, even Theresa May and her Environment Secretary - this is a global phenomenon, but we can all help solve the problem.

Simply look at the bushes and hedges near your own home and you will see the problem has become endemic within society.

The Herald could lead a campaign for Craven that could be used on numerous beaches in the UK.

Encourage everyone to take just five or 10 minutes to remove as much littler as you can and the problem will start to diminish.

There are cans, coffee cups, bags, bottles thrown away indiscriminately every day - we can solve the problem at both ends if only we act now.

Help clean up our environment by stopping the plague of littering and fly-tipping and begin a Craven Clean-Up.

Roy Harvey, Westwood, Carleton

Use common sense in giving parking tickets

SIR - Just before christmas I stopped for six minutes outside Thomas the baker’s shop on the setts near the pelican crossing to go across the road to Timpson shoe shop, andwhen I returned I had a parking ticket.

This was 10am. I saw the parking officer and asked why, he just said ‘market day’ and he said ‘saw you park’.

Asked why did he not tell me not to, he just said ‘you can appeal’. I did but was told there are signs saying not to.

There is no set pattern, sometimes you are allowed and it seem other times no.

Market stall holders can sometimes park all day on the high street - all day, no offence

It should be all or nothing, they do not use common sence.

Kenneth Rainford, Brackenley Drive, Embsay

Thankyou so much for helping after my fall

SIR - On the morning of Friday, January 12, I fell awkwardly in Belmont Street, near the Magnet showroom.

A gentleman crossed the road to help me and a young family in a 4x4 stopped and kindly drove me to my destination.

Apart from being very shaken, I only suffered grazes and bruises.

Thank you all very much for your kindness.

Jo Shepherd, Airedale Mews, Skipton

Chance to air views on curriculum changes

SIR - Did you know that a consultation about the new Relationships and Sex Education (RSE) curriculum is now open?

It’s been 18 years since the guidelines first came out and this is our opportunity to make sure they reflect the world young people, like me, now live in.

As a 17-year-old, I feel let down by the syllabus and question how it can still be relevant, when it was created in the year I was born.

What RSE should be doing is helping us feel empowered and know our rights – not just focusing on the biological or physical elements of reproduction, which can often be unapproachable for young people.

It is therefore imperative that it explores topics such as consent and healthy relationships, which will enable young people to make more informed, and hence empowered, choices.

As a member of Plan International UK’s Youth For Change project, I feel strongly that young people need to be learning about gender-based violence.

If more people were aware of Female Genital Mutilation and Child, Early and Forced Marriage, then the risk of them happening would be reduced. This is a public consultation on the government website and I urge all of you to have your say, because this is our chance to get it right.

Caitlin, 17, a member of Plan International UK’s Youth For Change Project

Power of words and Holocaust Memorial

SIR - This year’s theme for Holocaust Memorial Day on Saturday 27th January is ‘The power of words’.

This Saturday, at around 8,000 events across the country, hundreds of thousands of people will gather to reflect on the power of words, and how they were used in the Holocaust and subsequent genocides, in propaganda to incite hatred, in slogans written in resistance, and in memoirs to record survivors’ experiences.

Holocaust Memorial Day is about remembering the atrocities of the Holocaust and subsequent genocides in Cambodia, Rwanda, Bosnia and Darfur, but also about finding ways to make sure they can never happen again. Recognising the power our words have is an important first step.

On Holocaust Memorial Day I ask you to choose to use your words for good.

For more information on how you can get involved with this year’s events, go to

Olivia Marks-Woldman, Chief Executive of the Holocaust Memorial Day Trust, PO Box 61074, London SE1P 5BX

Speed limits are there for very good reason

SIR - I write with reference to the letters a few months ago regarding the composers of the letters getting fines for travelling at 35mph in 30mph speed limits – it makes my blood boil!

Quite a few years ago my stepdaughter was knocked down in Long Preston at the pelican crossing. The car that hit her was going at less than 30mph, yet she was laid in the road, the A65, for about one hour awaiting an ambulance, all this time the road was effectively closed.

On arrival at Airedale Hospital she was found to have sustained a cracked vertebrae and damage to her leg. Following a short stay in hospital she returned home with her leg in plaster and was laid up for around six weeks while she recovered, all this time a teacher was having to visit her home so she could continue with her schooling.

All this by a vehicle that was travelling less than 30mph – think what the consequences would have been if it had been travelling at 35mph.

The following facts are from ROSPA.

In 2015 222 people were killed in crashes involving someone exceeding the speed limit.

Around two-thirds of crashes in which people are killed or injured occur on roads with a speed limit of 30mph or less.

At 30mph vehicles are travelling at 44 feet each second (about 3 car lengths) each second, the difference in stopping distance between 30mph and 35mph is an extra 21 feet, more than two car lengths.

The risk of a pedestrian who is hit by a car being killed increases slowly until impact speeds of around 30mph. Above this speed, the risk increases rapidly, so that a pedestrian who is hit by a car travelling at between 30mph and 40mph is between 3.5 and 5.5 times more likely to be killed than if hit by a car travelling at below 30mph.

I ask the question: Is it alright to drive when just over the drink-drive limit or to use a mobile phone when driving just for a few seconds? A big no, both actions can cause accidents resulting in serious injury or death, the same goes for speeding.

Speed limits are there for a reason - stick to them.

District Councillor Chris Moorby

Not sure the Swiss are the UK’s saviours here

Sir - I note with interest that Ms Trueman has had enough of the Brexit debate on the Letters page (‘Gentlemen should agree to disagree’, January 18).

I also note that in the same week there were letters covering seven other subjects or eight counting Ms Trueman. Surely letters are only afforded the privilege of publication thanks to the good grace of the Editor.

My beef with Mr AJA Smith is not personal but I could not avoid a chuckle at his latest missive.

After espousing the glorious qualities of the UK democratic system, he now suggests that we follow the Swiss model. Perhaps he agrees with their signing of the Schengen Agreement, the free movement of people from the EU and a financial contribution to the EU budget?

Given there are serious allegations around money laundering via Swiss banks which could be a function of being “ of the least regulated countries in the world...”, I am not sure it is a good model for the UK.

I also think in a game of top trumps Churchill beats Gorbachev!

Anthony Bradley, Long Preston

Government will no doubt clean up mess

SIR - There is a connection between the PFI (private finance initiative) and plastic; that is to say, between the debacle of Carillion’s collapse and environmental pollution.

Both are the result of corporations taking the easiest route to profits without regard for the human costs, aided and abetted by the government.

The oil business, which ultimately produces plastic (as well as supermarkets and retailers, who package as if there is no tomorrow), and Carillion know full well that their waste will be tidied up by the government, whether it be pollution or the loss of services, jobs, and dependent businesses.

Carillon’s bosses know that their business model - to make as much money as quickly as possible - is unsustainable.

They also know, as do politicians who care to look honestly at privatization underwritten by the government, that ultimately (as with the banks in 2008) the government will bail them out.

They win even when they fail (and no one goes to jail for ruining the livelihoods of tens of thousands).

Since our taxes are used to clean up after the mess, if not catastrophes, created by the petrochemical business or scams such as Carillion, it is up to us to vote in governments who regulate and, if necessary, punish private corporations who disregard the human and environmental costs of their profiteering.

Bruce McLeod, Otterburn