Eco-friendly home is a brilliant proposal

SIR - Following on from last week’s story in the Craven Herald (‘Controversial home wins the go-ahead’), I wholeheartedly applaud Jacqui Doidge’s plans to erect a modern-style, eco-friendly home in Embsay and wish more individuals had her vision.

Such innovative properties should be embraced or we would all be living in the same identical ‘boxes’.

Ms Doidge plans to adopt eco-friendly technology and this is to be commended when our politicians are encouraging us to minimise our carbon footprint.

The sedum roof is a fantastic idea. Not only would this be an attractive feature, but would also be a valuable asset for our threatened insect and bird populations.

The surrounding houses do not appear to be of significant historical or aesthetic interest so such a house would only enhance the area by adding a focal point.

These modest infill sites make ideal plots for young family homes.

If houses like this were used as a template and the many suitable small infill sites that exist in our towns and villages were identified, it would help prevent the huge sprawling estates that are now covering acres of our green field sites.

So come on councillors, start thinking outside the box.

Jacqui has given you a vision for the future. Grasp it, develop it.

Enhance the environment and push back against the sprawling new developments.

Well done Jacqui Doidge!

Julie Terry, Mill Hill Lane, Giggleswick

What does the future hold at beauty spot?

SIR - Sixty years ago, when my Leeds-born boyfriend first brought me to Yorkshire, we walked along the Wharfe from Grassington to Hebden, enjoying the stately riverside horse chestnut trees mirrored in the river and the majestic lime trees to the left of the path.

Forty years later, after a career in the Midlands and the South, and then in Hong Kong, and visits to beauty spots and remote places world-wide, we retired gratefully to Grassington. I was happy to settle in the Dales.

The walk to Hebden remained a favourite for my husband and our offspring, as it clearly is for locals and ‘offcumdens’ and the tourists on whom the local economy depends.

But, as we aged, so have those beautiful trees.

Recently, I was saddened to see how many of the chestnuts and limes have lost limbs in this winter’s gales.

They are no more immortal than we are.

I wondered who had the vision and resources to plant and nurture them, long before the national park was established.

Did he - probably a he - live long enough to enjoy their maturing?

Planting them and protecting them from hungry predators - stock and wild creatures - must have been a costly business. And who owns them now?

What are the prospects for this path? Have the owner(s) or the national park or North Yorkshire County Council any vision, plans or resources for this popular area?

If the financial restraints currently bedevilling local authorities are the problem, would publicity and crowd funding to back a well thought out, national parks forestry department, scheme, provide a happy long term solution, a hopeful investment for future joy?

Anne Marsden, Grassington

Could Skipton be a greener community?

SIR - Having seen a lot of coverage in the media recently about waste plastic in the seas, I wondered whether Skipton could be more proactive.

A simple drinking fountain on the High Street for both two and four legged visitors may help.

An extra font could be added to refill water bottles.

Reusable bottles made from recycled plastic could be sold from local newsagents/supermarkets/pubs etc to help offset lack of sales of prepackaged drinks. Just a thought.

Ian Reid

Speak up with any health service fears

SIR - One in four adults will experience a mental health problem each year yet often mental health care falls below the standards we should expect.

Last week we revealed that some of our most vulnerable patients, many of whom have complex mental health conditions, are being badly let down by the NHS, causing them needless suffering and distress.

In our report Maintaining momentum: driving improvements in mental health care, we found that some patients are not being treated with dignity and respect of their human rights and this is further compounded by poor complaint handling.

Our investigations shine a light on severe failings but this is not done to attribute blame.

We aim to ensure that the organisations complained about make changes to prevent the mistakes happening to others.

In this instance, this is to ensure that mental health patients get access to the treatment and support they need.

This is only possible due to patients and their families taking the important step of complaining when things go wrong.

The vast majority of complaints are resolved locally.

However if you are not satisfied, you have the right to bring it to us – the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman - for an independent and impartial view.

Rob Behrens, Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman

Raising awareness of arthritis support

SIR - More than 10 million people like me, live with the daily pain and fatigue of arthritis in the UK.

This can make simple activities like getting dressed, household chores or even picking up cutlery difficult.

I myself have severe osteoarthritis in my hands, my back and my knees. I’m in excruciating pain on a daily basis and I feel that I’m becoming increasingly dependent on others.

This is extremely frustrating, because just last year I was working in a job I loved as a special needs teacher.

As well as having a lot of surgery over the years, I’ve lost so much in my day to day life that most people take for granted.

I can’t drive, I can’t cook, people have to cut up my meals for me and I can’t wear anything with zips or laces. They may seem like little things that I can’t do, but this has a huge impact on my life.

I am sure many people with arthritis like me, will know the all too familiar experience of googling symptoms, asking questions on social media and trawling through forums and patient websites for answers about your own or a loved one’s condition, and how to manage the symptoms.

Naturally, I found this daunting, as it’s hard to decipher what information you can trust, what information is based on scientific evidence and what is based on old wives’ tales. Indeed, if you google the phrase ‘arthritis information’ around 2,480,000 results appear.

That’s why I wanted to tell you about the charity Arthritis Research UK.

The leading experts in the field, its latest campaign ‘Ask us your question,’ calls for those living with arthritis to pose their questions for help finding trusted answers.

I’ve used their helpline several times since it launched last year to ask about pain management and medication.

I would recommend it as you can trust the charity’s information is based on years of knowledge and research, as well as the experiences of thousands of people like me.

So, whatever your question is - be it about diet, exercise or pain management, check out the website, which has all the details of their helpline, as well as a wealth of online condition information - or call 0800 5200 520.

Sue Patey

Help is available to cut dangers at home

SIR - Everyone deserves a home in which they can feel comfortable and secure.

Unfortunately, more accidents happen in the home than anywhere else, and people over the age of 65 are most at risk of severe injury.

In response, Independent Age, the older people’s charity, has launched a new, free advice guide to help older people and their families identify and reduce some of the most common safety risks in their homes.

The free guide, called ‘Home safety: How to spot risks and prevent accidents’, is suitable for people who either own or rent their home, and offers advice about simple and effective ways to tackle some of the most common potential safety risks encountered by older people at home.

It provides practical information on safety across a range of domestic areas such as fire, electricity, fuel, food and water.

Most serious accidents at home involving older people usually happen on the stairs or in the kitchen, and almost three-quarters of falls among people aged 65 and over result in arm, leg and shoulder injuries.

‘Home safety’ provides advice and information on minimising the likelihood of having a fall, including the installation of grab rails, and activities which help to improve strength, balance and flexibility.

‘Home safety’ is free to order and download from or can be ordered for free by calling 0800 319 6789.

To make a donation or find out more about how you can support the work of Independent Age and help older people stay independent, please visit

Lucy Harmer, Director of Services, Independent Age