SIR - I was somewhat perturbed to read that Kettlewell is a "village divided on low cost homes" (Craven Herald, January 23).

This gives the impression of a community unpleasantly split down the middle.

As chairman of the parish council, I feel the situation should be clarified. It would seem that you have constructed the article from the planning application document prepared for the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority.

Twenty three points are listed, which were taken from nine letters of objection. Incidentally, only four of those nine letters were from full time residents.

Most of these points of objection are taken from a document headed 'Far Lane Residents' Association' which contains a high proportion of gross errors of fact.

The objections quoted by the Herald in inverted commas and in the following paragraph are among those gross errors. You missed out comment number 17: "if an exceptional local need is shown, an alternative site should be found". This smacks a little of 'nimbyism'.

In fact over 80 percent of these 23 points of objection are either untrue or irrelevant in planning terms.

Far from being a divided village, the majority of residents support the scheme as confirmed by the report of the public meeting which appeared in the Craven Herald on December 12 and by there being only nine letters of objection from a total of around 140 households actually in Kettlewell.

At the back end of last week, Sanctuary Housing submitted a revised application for two three bedroomed and three two bedroomed houses.

As this satisfies the last of its concerns, the parish council will be strongly supporting the application when it comes before the authority in February.

Ian Cuthbert,


Kettlewell Parish Council.

No retraction

SIR - Having read Mr Heseltine's comments in respect of the Boar's Head at Long Preston (Craven Herald letters January 23) it only reaffirms my original views in that it is the national park which is irrational, illogical and lacking in common sense in respect of its approach to the upvc windows at the hotel.

Why should the Boar's Head be singled out in respect of this type of window when there are numerous properties both old and new in Long Preston with upvc windows - not forgetting that the Boar's Head is a listed building.

Why didn't Mr Heseltine meet with the proprietor of the hotel and the many local people who frequent the Boar's Head - they don't think the windows are obtrusive or alien and they live in the village!

As I previously stated, the Yorkshire Dales National Park was quite happy to see the Boar's Head fall into dilapidation and become an 'eyesore' to the village. Is this a common sense approach? I don't think so!

Mr Heseltine, on reflection I do not retract any of my earlier comments but only reaffirm along with many of the local residents of Long Preston that it is your committee that lacks a common sense approach to the current situation relating to the upvc windows at the Boar's Head.

David Chambers,

Crickle Hall,

East Marton.

Exact reproductions

SIR - I read with some amazement Mr Heseltine's somewhat convoluted and largely spurious attempt to justify the Yorkshire Dales National Park's grossly unfair decision to disallow the totally unobtrusive replacement windows in the Boar's Head in Long Preston.

These windows are virtually exact reproductions and only the closest scrutiny would detect any difference from the originals.

Quite how the planning inspector could describe them as "alien and obtrusive" is difficult to understand.

The Boar's Head had, in recent years, become a rather seedy, run down shadow of its former self and it has been transformed into an attractive, welcoming, well maintained hostelry which is a credit to the village.

This has been achieved by the investment of a considerable amount of work and expense by the new owners. Their efforts deserve encouragement from the Yorkshire Dales National Park, which should be delighted with the results of their restoration.

Finally, I am surprised that Mr Heseltine sees fit to accuse Mr Chambers of being "lacking in common sense" because he does not understand the national park logic. Neither do I.

Barry Nuttall,

Sawley Street,


More professional

SIR - I'm writing to correct some inaccuracies in your report and editorial about Craven District Council's Renovation Grants Investigation so your readers can be clear on the actual points.

Firstly the leader of the council (Carl Lis) was not criticised by the auditor for failing to declare an interest. The criticism was of the chairman of the council (Ken Hart), who has made a full and unreserved apology.

Secondly, the auditor's report does not condemn the council in general, as your editorial implied.

The chief executive commissioned the auditors to do a full, open and independent review and they, quite rightly, criticised one section of the authority for its past practices. These failures have now been comprehensively addressed and disciplinary procedures followed where needed.

It is unfounded and unfair to brand the whole council with this generalised criticism.

Since the strategic review, the recruitment of new staff and the training of staff in new systems and procedures, Craven District Council is getting itself on a footing far more professional than I can ever remember.

The most recent annual management letter to members (December 1997) from the auditors said of the authority:

"This year has been a demanding one as the authority has had to deal with the difficulties involved in a renovations grant review. In addition it continues to strive to provide higher quality services within tight financial constraints. My overall conclusion is that you have done well in meeting the demanding agenda you have set yourselves."

Finally, I hope your readers don't get the impression that only one of our councillors has been concerned with the renovation grants investigation on behalf of the council tax payers of Craven.

I believe all 34 councillors are equally concerned but most have followed the clear legal advice we've been given that public speculation in the absence of hard facts could be positively detrimental to Craven's financial position. I'm sure your readers would not want to think that even more public money could be jeopardised by inappropriate public comments.

I hope that your paper's report of the council meeting provides the balanced and fair view of the debate your readers should expect from a professional publication.

Coun Janet Gott,


Craven District Council,

Cavendish Street, Skipton.

Editor's note:Apart from the error of identification in our editorial column (for which we apologise elsewhere), Coun Gott does not list any other inaccuracy in our report, which quotes extensively from the external auditor's report, nor has there been any other claim of inaccuracy.

She does appear to take umbrage at our criticism of the council. We leave readers to judge for themselves whether Craven District Council deserves criticism or not for what the auditors summed up as "inadequate protection of the public purse".

Sponsor pulls out

SIR - I had decided not to enter into the discussion concerning the sold out Ken Dodd tickets at the Grassington Festival because the editor's note clarified the situation. To reiterate: the tickets were on sale initially to the Festival patrons and then to the general public before Christmas and their availability was advised in the Craven Herald.

However, because of the stupidity of the letter, there has been a huge misunderstanding leading to the loss of a valued sponsor which I am extremely unhappy about.

Ken Dodd is a highly paid star and if the ticket price of £20 had been included in the general purchasing of tickets in May, this would have detracted from the sale of tickets for other Festival performances.

It was decided to sell the tickets before Christmas to spread the cost and with the idea that they could be given as unusual Christmas presents.

The Festival committee took a huge calculated risk in booking such an expensive artist when we have so few seats and we had no idea it would be so overwhelmingly successful. However, it has set a precedent and the idea could well be repeated next year with another 'megastar' which would not normally be considered.

Mr Stork's reference to 'cliques' and 'riff-raff' do not warrant a reply but suffice to say that these are the only words some people will remember and they have done untold damage.

A Festival like ours does not happen by chance. Massive hard work goes on all year round. The Festival could not happen without excellent local sponsorship from more than 60 companies in the area. I am very upset to know that a letter in the Craven Herald has assisted in losing one of these companies. This is a personal letter and has been sent without prior consultation with the 21 member Festival committee.

Rowena Leder,

Artistic Director,

Grassington Festival,

Lythe Cottage, Grassington.


SIR - I could not agree with Mrs Jean Harrison more (Craven Herald letters, January 23, we do receive excellent services from all hospitals in the Airedale area and we do not want to lose any services whatsoever at our hospitals. I was not advocating any loss of services.

Unfortunately not all of my comments were printed and those which were have been misinterpreted.

The new white paper calls upon all those working within the National Health Service to co-operate and collaborate in order to enhance and deliver more services to people as close to their homes as possible.

That could mean for example that Airedale and Harrogate collaborate more to provide services in Airedale or Skipton which are not presently available. This applies vice-versa with the relationship to Bradford, Burnley and even the respective social services departments.

You do not need a merger for that. I can state quite categorically that I do not advocate any merger which results in the depletion of services for people as everybody would support.

It is unfortunate that my full message was not printed but I hope that this will assist you in understanding what my message really contained. I believe that people should be given the whole truth and not just items taken out of context.

Coun Peter Putwain,


Airedale Community Health Council

Cow Close Lane,

Kirkby Malham.

Editor's note: Airedale NHS Trust wrote their letter refuting Mr Putwain's "out of context" comments after seeing the full version of his speech.


SIR - There is a rapidly increasing proliferation of telecommunication masts dominating hills in the Craven, Pendle and Ribble Valley districts and probably elsewhere in is country.

I view these intrusive monstrosities with great distaste.

Consequently I was appalled to find last weekend that two such masts have been erected within the Yorkshire Dales National Park.

One above Sedbergh Town and the other up the Rawthey valley, both in the Howgills and in the heart of the national park.

There may also be others I have not yet seen.

Is it the park authority's intention to allow these masts to be erected willy nilly in the national park without any opportunity being given for objections to be made as is the case with normal planning applications.

Michael Leigh,

Castle View,



SIR - This year the NHS celebrates its 50th anniversary. In order to mark this milestone, I should like to hear from anybody with an interesting story, or perhaps an amusing anecdote, concerning their personal experience with the NHS.

All contributions would be welcome including those from readers whose memories go back to pre-NHS days.

I hope to make a collection of the best stories freely available throughout North Yorkshire in time for NHS day on July 5.

Please send your contributions to me at the address shown. All contributions will be acknowledged.

Marck Cockerton,

7 Grovers Terrace,

Pool-in-Wharfedale, Otley.

Good compromise

SIR - Having studied the latest plan of the proposed supermarket and school site and read the article which goes with it (Craven Herald, January 23), I think this is an excellent compromise of land, losing very little playing field and minimising loss of industrial land.

Not only do we get the supermarket and school, which I feel Settle needs, but also extra parking for the town. And we also get a new children's playground which would mean up-to-date playing facilities which would probably mean safer ones.

Mrs R Capstick,

Craven Cottages, Settle.

European cousins

SIR - The letters critical of Mr Curry reflect just why so many people can't support the Conservative party these days.

Why, there was almost the phrase "we beat the Germans in two World Wars and we don't want to surrender to them now" in there!

For young people the Germans, French, Belgians, Italians etc are our cousins. We travel abroad, experience their customs, share their hopes. The Empire was broken up long before many of our voters were born.

The thought of the pound standing alone taking on the mighty dollar, the Euro and far Eastern currencies is simply laughable.

Mr Curry appears to me to be attempting to provoke a serious debate. The bull-headed, jingoistic, romantic notions of those who criticise him alienate many uncommitted, young voters.

I hear silly comments about not supporting a currency which does not bear the Queen's head; this from people who used to rush out of the cinemas to avoid standing for the national anthem.

S Dobson,

Keighley Road,


Cross plea pays off

SIR - I refer to my plea for help which was published in the Craven Herald of January 2 concerning my search for an ancient stone cross from the Swinden Hall estate at Colne.

As a result, the post brought me a photograph of the actual stone cross, sent to me by an anonymous donor and through your columns I would like to express my heartfelt gratitude and thanks to the sender - and to the Craven Herald for publishing my plea.

I am researching the history of Christianity coming to this part of our country and the location of the numerous 'Pictish, eighth century boss style' carved stone crosses to be found hereabouts, which were forerunners of our early church at Colne, originally dedicated to St Magdalen.

Mr H Hindle,

Crabtree Street, Colne.

Late celebration

SIR - May we please give Pat (our hostess) and her staff at the Swadford Centre our sincere thanks for the marvellous Christmas party she gave for about 90 pensioners last Thursday.

The meal was home made meat and potato pie followed by a lovely chocolate gateau.

Many thanks again Pat,

Mr and Mrs Atkinson,

Overdale Court, Skipton.

l We have been asked to point out that H Tomlinson, one of several signatories to a letter in last week's Herald which was critical of plans to extend Bentham Golf Club, is a different person to Helen Tomlinson, of Lakeber Avenue, Bentham.

Converted for the new archive on 30 June 2000. Some images and formatting may have been lost in the conversion.