CARL Lis, the Chairman of the Yorkshire Dales Park Authority, is making a wilful attempt to misrepresent and trivialise the thoughtful discussions which took place at the Richmondshire Council meeting regarding increasing council tax for second home owners (The Yorkshire Post, March 1).
I attended as a member of the public and found the debate very informative. It became clear that the issues are extremely complex with no simple solution. There was considerable input from many members of the community including permanent residents, second home owners, local tradesmen and publicans all of whom spoke out against the proposal and cited evidence to support their views, unlike Coun Lis who appears to rely on assumptions and prejudice.
It was very noticeable that the three councillors who spoke in support of raising council tax for second home owners were unable to put forward a coherent argument to support their views.
It is untrue of Coun Lis to assert that the Dales Home Owners Group, in the two months since it was formed, has not put forward positive ideas which might make the National Park a more attractive place for young families to settle.
It should instead be pointed out that the National Park Authority led by David Butterworth and Coun Lis, and indeed Richmondshire Council itself, have had many years to make or promote the changes which most people agree are necessary – high speed broadband, improved mobile phone coverage, better public transport and promotion of the area as a welcoming place to set up in business could all make a huge difference.
I am afraid that the National Park Authority has a reputation for being more interested in enforcing stringent planning controls to preserve the visual appearance of the area.
From: Lindsay Leonard, Fremington, Swaledale.
WHAT a pity that some members of the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority have chosen to ignore an overwhelming body of evidence in their response to the defeated second homes council tax proposal.
Eloquent submissions from Dales tradesmen, licensees, full time residents, five Dales parish councils, legal experts, learned academics... I could go on.
Yet still the YDNPA lash out at second home owners as the convenient whipping boys for inevitable social change and years of neglect in the National Park.