YP Letters: Sustainability is crucial in weighing up such a development

Hellifield is the backdrop to a new planning battle.Hellifield is the backdrop to a new planning battle.
Hellifield is the backdrop to a new planning battle.
From: Jules Marley, Chairman, CPRE North Yorkshire.

THE first thing an organisation such as the Campaign to Protect Rural England does, when presented with a major application for development, is to look for the positives and the good things about the proposal so that we can understand the principle of the idea or why.

We’re not trying to preserve or pickle the countryside, we work to protect and enhance and keep it alive and thriving. A major development more suitable to urban England than rural England is planned on green field in the open countryside, consisting of 300 lodge homes, 91 bedroom hotel, park and ride, two cinemas, swimming pool, roads, ancilliary buildings, lighting and bus drop off.

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It’s early days to make an in-depth comment, as there are 26 files on Craven District Council’s website. Each one needs to be carefully examined. We’re supposed to come out with technical comments on a planning application but when faced with a proposal such as this, it’s best to speak from the heart without political correctness.

This application was posted online the other day. Our phone rang all day with people asking for help and advice. Those people expressed disbelief, horror and anger. Many were distraught. Many have lived with the threat of a controversial development on the site of the Hellifield Flashes for over 25 years. We’re a charity, it’s our job to listen and offer help where we can.

Hellifield is a thriving village in the Yorkshire Dales. It’s alive with a great sense of community and spirit. The Flashes, as they’re known locally, are of great importance to villagers and they have been for generations. It’s special. People care, people matter.

The Hellifield Flashes sit next to and on the boundary of the Yorkshire Dales National Park, one of the big jewels in the county’s crown, we should be protecting and enhancing the setting of the Park, not degrading it. It’s also next to two conservation areas and three listed buildings, all of which would be adversely affected. Parking spaces alone would gobble up an area larger than the pitch at Wembley.

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This isn’t a brownfield site – it’s agricultural and farmed. The land is already working for people and the countryside. It is even easier to say planning and development should be about common sense – after all that’s what sustainability really means. It’s about making sure we look after what we have now so that the next generation can live successfully and thrive.