SIR - Landowners and developers are saying that Hellifield does not need or deserve green space.

From all sides, they are attacking our open fields, recreational areas and quality of life.

From the south and south-west, Craven Cattle Marts want to fill up the field behind Gisburn Road and build houses and an industrial estate near to Townsons, adjacent to the 20-odd houses already granted planning permission.

From the east, CCM also would like to build on part of the Thorndale Street playing fields in return for a new pavilion.

From the south-east, the Gargrave Poor’s Lands Charity are objecting to the field beside the church being designated as Local Green Space as they want the option to build houses on part of it.

As for the devastation from the west, a 200 acre “leisure park” is the treat in store for us from Isle of Man company Ballan Ltd.

Naturally, Craven District Council’s designation of most of the area as being Local Green Space is being challenged by this off-shore developer.

What we get in return is 300 chalets, a hotel, leisure centre only open to park residents and car parks, booking-in booths and other facilities with an approximate planned population of 2,000 changing twice a week all year round. What a delight!

If you think there will be lots of jobs, think again. Holidaymakers there will have bars, shops and restaurants, so no need to venture off-site.

Developers also think that the two houses a year allocated to Hellifield over the next 15 years should be substantially increased.

No account is taken of the fact that the number of houses in the village has almost doubled in the recent past, nor the 38 houses granted planning permission, but waiting to be built or in progress, more proportionally than any other settlement in Craven.

As for the industrial estate, we already have two derelict but recently built industrial buildings sitting empty on the old sidings to the west of the station, and abandoned railway carriages currently presenting an eyesore and health hazard which could be tarted up as holiday chalets.

Where does this information come from? Look at the representations to the Planning Inspector from those wanting to change Craven District Council’s draft Local Plan.

Of the 477 pages, around 27 pages worth apply to Hellifield.

The whole of Craven outside the National Park is under siege from landowners and developers.

The link to the document is

What can the residents of places threatened by this do? Attend the public hearings.

We will not be allowed to say anything unless we have made a representation ourselves, but we can support those bodies, such as CPRE, who have submitted representations.

You may feel the need to silently protest, but beware that over-reaction could result in you being expelled.

Let’s hope that the Government’s Planning Inspector will see sense and rule out most of the adverse representations. Keep up-to-date with progress via CDC’s website.

David Gooch, Midland Terrace, Hellifield