YP Letters: Opening up Yorkshire Dales homes tax debate

Should there be a council tax surcharge on second homes in the Yorkshire Dales?
Should there be a council tax surcharge on second homes in the Yorkshire Dales?
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From: Lindsay Leonard, Fremington, Swaledale.

THE chief executive of the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority, David Butterworth, says “it isn’t acceptable for some people to try and close down the discussion” on proposed five-fold council tax hikes for second home owners (The Yorkshire Post, February 10).

Far from “closing down” the debate, the dissenters have opened it up, exposing the paucity of evidence underpinning the proposal. And by opening up the debate, driven on by quality journalism, we have heard some common sense and proper facts from those with a genuine working knowledge of the Dales.

I’d rather take my lead from Mr and Mrs Porter of Gunnerside, and the pub landlords featured in The Yorkshire Post’s comprehensive coverage of the issue on Saturday, than a politically-motivated quango that is guilty of rearranging the facts to suit their argument.

From: Mr MJ Thompson, Goodison Boulevard, Cantley, Doncaster.

IN respect of the lack of affordable housing in rural areas like the Yorkshire Dales, why not put a 10 per cent surcharge on all properties that are used as second homes or holiday lets every time they change hands?

If the average house price is £253,000, then anybody who can afford this can surely afford another 10 per cent? Then these monies can be put into a fund to help subsidise affordable housing for the local residents.

After all, that £253k is disposable income as they already have a permanent home.

From: Anthony Silson, Whotecote Gardens, Bramley, Leeds.

USUALLY, I enjoy Chris Berry’s articles in Country Week as they are interesting and accurate. Unfortunately, his article on rhubarb (The Yorkshire Post, February 10) was marred by some errors.

Forced rhubarb did not begin to be grown in Yorkshire until 1877. In Leeds, forced rhubarb was being grown in sheds by at least 1869. Forced rhubarb grown by other methods was even earlier.

Frost is not a major factor in growing rhubarb. Rather, it is the cumulative daily total of temperatures below 10.

From: P Armstrong, Hall Bank Drive, Bingley.

WE’VE been watching Michael Portillo’s trip across the USA by train and marvelling at the work carried with picks, shovels and dynamite.

He said the mountains on the west coast were crossed in three years.

I wonder how long it will take to link Skipton to Colne if the line is re-opened, or am I being cynical?

Pensioners count pennies

From: Chris Ball, Finkil Street, Hove Edge, Brighouse.

PETER Brooke expresses his excitement (The Yorkshire Post, February 9) at the increase to his pension of 25p per week now that he has reached 80. May I moderate his pleasure by pointing out that if he pays tax he will only receive 20p.

However, he will still have a coin of sufficient value so that once a week he can gain admission to those public toilets which now make a charge for this privilege.

Live the life, Peter.

From: Judith Hubbard, Totley Rise, Sheffield.

I CAN’T understand how anyone reaching the age of 80 can be so unaware of this ‘gift’ of largesse, because it has been awarded since 1971 by the government of the day.

I understand it was given to buy little extras, for example, 25p would buy a bag of coal or tobacco. Gradually, over 46 years, people have thought it to be an insult but nothing has been done. Perhaps, at the 50th anniversary, it will be doubled to 50p – but it still wouldn’t buy a second class stamp.

Fracking film puts the facts

From: Christopher Pickles, Gilling East, York.

IN reply to your correspondent Gerry Vickers (‘We need fracking – and reliable facts on risks’, The Yorkshire Post, February 10), there already exists a film made by a Ryedale couple on a research visit to Pennsylvania to find out about the fracking industry.

The film’s title, ‘We wanted to be reassured: What people in Pennsylvania told a Ryedale couple about their experiences of fracking’, speaks for itself. It will be shown, with a Q&A session, at the Baptist Hall, Wells Lane, Malton, on February 22 at 7pm.

From: Sid Pearson, Scarborough

I WONDER how many of the Kirby Misperton anti-fracking protesters go home at the weekend to a gas-fired centrally heated house.

Water firm slow to act

From: Alan Shipman, Pudsey.

HAVE any other readers come to the conclusion that Yorkshire Water is not the easiest organisation with which to deal?

In recent years, I have had to approach the regulatory body, Ofwat, to obtain a credit refund.

It took YW 10 weeks from it first being reported to repair a leak of grey, foul-smelling water on a nearby residential street.

Calls are rarely returned, and letters take weeks to receive a reply.

Barbaric slaughter

From: Julie Hey, Halifax.

I WAS appalled to read that the heinous practice of killing animals without being stunned has doubled in the last six years (The Yorkshire Post, February 8).

In farming, we pride ourselves on having some of the highest animal welfare standards – only to send over 11 million animals to face a diabolical death.

This barbarism surely has no place in Britain in the 21st century.