Isolation not so splendid for
Dales barns

From: Andy Singleton, Co-author, ‘Barns of the Yorkshire Dales’ , Eaton Road, Ilkley.

THE Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority is the only national park to challenge the Government on the conversion of Dales barns into commercial premises. Only in the UK could this possibly come to pass.

It seems to me that too much effort is being put into trying to hang on to planning policy which has ensured dereliction of the built environment in the national park. By their own estimation, 40 per cent of field barns are now derelict. The crusade of avoiding at all cost the appearance of any kind if human activity around the remote field barns of the Dales has become a self-defeating waste of time.

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The relatively recent dereliction of these buildings which has come about due to the mechanisation of farming which left them alone in the landscape. That remote and lonely state where the barn in the field has nothing happening around it has now become by default the only “acceptabl”’ condition in the eyes of the YDNPA , but it was never that way when they were in use.

Old photographs show that barns in use for agriculture had all manner of paraphernalia around them, but now their isolation in the landscape is considered the only true picture which must be protected at all costs. Like a sanitised chocolate box view.

Anyone attempting to use one of these buildings is now considered a potential vandal who has to be controlled at all costs. I, like many others, have been involved in dozens of restoration and reuse proposals in and around the national park for decades, all of which enhance rather than spoil the Dales. Conversion and reuse does not mean ruination, far from it. But oh my Lord, how hard is it to get planning permission?

After a three-year battle, we proved it in Coverdale. After considerable resistance a remote barn became the home of a gamekeeper. Had the owner not had the resources and determination to keep going, the gamekeeper would not have stood a chance.

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The barn was converted and he now has a home near his work and the landscape wasn’t spoilt. My point is, why does it have to be so hard? It all comes down to your interpretation of the word “appropriate”. My view is that there is nothing more inappropriate than planning policy which ensures dereliction.

Brazen words
over budget

From: Coun Daren Hale (Lab), Deputy Leader, Hull City Council.

BRAZEN hypocrisy is the phrase that comes to mind every time I read something that Councillor Mike Ross has said about Hull’s finances (Opposition rubbishes Labour’s budget, Yorkshire Post, February 21).

It comes down to a lack of both self respect and respect for others, including the electorate. This is a man whose party in Hull openly welcomed Government cuts to the budget of Hull City Council in 2010 and 2011 and went on to march over 1,000 people out of the door in the space of one month.

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His party, when in power, decimated the grounds maintenance budget and then when in opposition attacked Labour because some areas were not maintained to the standard they once were.

Thank you for

From: David March, Springhill Court, Tadcaster.

COULD I, through your paper, thank the group of enthusiastic volunteers who turned out on Saturday on the first litter pick by the Tadcaster Litter Collectors group?

It was very heartening to have so many of Tadcaster’s young people getting involved and shows we have many young people here willing to give up their time to help improve the town. A dozen of us spent two hours clearing the river bank and collected 14 bin bags of plastic bottles, tin cans and various other pieces of rubbish... an indication of the need to carry out these cleans as plastic causes so many problems in the environment.

This was our first organised clean and we hope that when the people see the difference that can be made, then they will want to be part of our group.

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If anyone reading this would like to join us, then please get in contact through our Facebook page or contact me at [email protected]

Smoke out the
bad drivers

From: David F Chambers, Sladeburn Drive, Northallerton.

THERE are two good reasons for not smoking in the car, whatever your views on passive smoking.

Firstly, if you make a habit of smoking on car journeys your pride and joy, in the eyes of the dealer, becomes a “smoker’s car” and its resale value goes through the floor.

Second, it is not unknown for your lighted cigarette to inadvertently drop on to the seat just between your legs. This may be wildly entertaining to the kids in the back, but research has shown that the driver’s attention, in whole or in part, tends to be diverted from the road.

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Any driver who can maintain full control whilst passengers are jumping up and down and scrabbling desperately in his nether regions has to be a pretty cool dude.

Stay silent on
fans’ tribute

From: Paul J Firth, Linville Avenue, Blundellsands, Liverpool.

MY guess is that Neil McNicholas (Yorkshire Post, February 21) has never been to a football match at Valley Parade. At the very least, he can’t have been to the last home game of any of the 28 seasons since the 1985 fire claimed the lives of 56 supporters of Bradford City and Lincoln City.

If he had been to any of those games, he would have known that thousands of football fans, supporters of home and away teams, have no difficulty in keeping silent for a minute.

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His suggestion that the minute’s applause is merely to cover up ‘noise’ is in the face of that evidence. During our time of reflection, it has never been necessary to invoke the aid of a steward and I am confident that, were he to be at Valley Parade for the last home game of this season, he would witness another respectful silence.