Villages like Spofforth should be heard over planning and housing – Yorkshire Post Letters

From: June Geddes, Vice Chairman, Spofforth Parish Council.

Is the planning system still skewed too heavily in favour of developers?
Is the planning system still skewed too heavily in favour of developers?

REGARDING the battle lines hardening over housing plans across the Harrogate district, it is disappointing that planning officers do not have sufficient local knowledge about each submission in the first place.

If local advice was sought before outline permission was granted, then developers grasping opportunities would be nipped in the bud.

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Such a case is the planning proposal for Spofforth which is still on the table. This would inflict 72 identikit affordable houses in a village dating back more than 1,500 years, increasing the housing stock by 15 per cent with no benefit to the village.

Is the planning system still skewed too heavily in favour of developers?

These houses have no green credentials, little parking and an outlandish suggestion that access to the heart of the village could be by a footpath to the far end of the village through the playground and wetlands area.

There is no continuous footpath along Harrogate Road where the development is planned and no means to put one – the road was designed 1,500 years ago for horse and cart.

We all know the option people will take – risking the lives of young and old. Add to this the fact the site floods every year and one has to wonder why this planning was ever considered in the first place.

It was only the sanity of councillors in the autumn of 2020 who spoke out about our heritage and refused to support the planning proposal that the
voice of the village was heard.

Is the planning system still skewed too heavily in favour of developers?

An appeal is now on the cards and we sit on tenterhooks waiting for the result of an appeal that could change forever the vision for this historic yet progressive village.

From: Bill Rigby, Knaresborough.

I’VE been reading George Orwell on power, politics and propaganda.

This is the chap, writing over 80 years ago, who wrote Animal Farm, now a standard text in our secondary schools, and 1984, a message of warning at a time of post-war euphoria.

It appears 1984 is now no longer a warning but an instruction manual to our politicians and policy-makers.

Orwell showed how corporate money dominates our lives. One example of this that we all see locally is the same all over the country: too much unsustainable house building on greenfield sites by enormous construction corporations.

This has nothing to do with need. The need is for small, affordable units.

It is about profit for those corporations: the very organisations that put money into the ruling party’s coffers.

The motivation for HS2, new roads and many kinds of construction is coming from this source. Land and sea is being ransacked for gravel, sand, stone, clay, you name it.

So we are all losing out – our land is being built on unnecessarily and our environment is being stolen to create their profit.

We need to reflect on the implications of the sell-off of everything – even our NHS – to the corporate world, as current political thinking is built on that principle.

And the mainstream media does not call it out due to its being owned by those very interests.

This “business model” is sustained by borrowing from the future – our very own children and grandchildren – and we have no means of paying back this debt.

This must stop before we lose everything which matters to us – our legacy to the next generation.

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