YP Letters: Row over Dales second homes tax plan leaves a sour taste

From: Dr Richard Drayson, Bardsey.

Plans to impose a council tax surcharge on second homes in the Yorkshire Dales have been dropped.
Plans to impose a council tax surcharge on second homes in the Yorkshire Dales have been dropped.

AS a second home owner, I am glad that the proposal to increase my council tax five-fold has been defeated, but on the other hand I realise that there are also many complex problems within the Dales that need addressing.

This has left a bad taste in my mouth. There is a nagging thought that there may be resentment towards me and my family from some members of the established community.

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I feel that an apology is forthcoming from David Butterworth and Carl Lis (CEO and chairman) of the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority, whose proposal to penalise a small section of the community appears to have been based more on opinion than solid evidence.

In your article, Mr Butterworth stated “it has been difficult to have a grown-up debate” and goes on to accuse his opponents of being deliberately misleading. How condescending is this to all those well-informed and intelligent people who have expressed real concern about the potential negative impact of this untested social engineering experiment on the countryside.

Surely it is Messrs Butterworth and Lis who should be accused of misleading the public, by making unsubstantiated claims about the impact of second homes on rural communities?

From: Paul Ashfield, Harrogate.

ACCORDING to North Yorkshire County Council, to put North Yorkshire’s roads into good condition would cost £400m. The annual budget is £35m for road repairs.

To make good existing repairs would take nearly 12 years, but during this time new repairs would be needed. The chances of getting well repaired roads in the next decade(s) is nil.

Due to the mismatch between money available and money required, the conclusion must be that unless more money is found the roads will get much worse.

Presumably many roads will be abandoned and become cart tracks. Once a road surface is broken, water seeps under the surface and then frost and the hydraulic action of traffic accelerate deterioration.

From: Henry Cobden, Ilkley.

ONE section of society just got on with it during last week’s snow – Yorkshire’s farmers. We should applaud their resilience and look at what more can be done by Government, and consumers, to support them. Any such ideas are likely to be far more productive than a punitive tax on second homes.