Letter: Housing - Opposition is overwhelming

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I am responding as chairman of Hampsthwaite Parish Council to the letter from Mr Stephen Hassell in the Advertiser of October 26.

Mr Hassell is of course entitled to object to the way in which parish council funds are used. However there is an implication in his letter that the parish council should not be using its funds to support the Hampsthwaite Action Group’s activities. For that reason I would like to say the following:

The action group was formed following an initiative from the parish council as a result of widespread opposition to the considerable housing threats facing the village. It is responsible to the parish council under precepts set up at its foundation.

A “Fighting Fund” was also begun out of which action group costs are met. The fund is under the control of the parish council which audits and approves all its expenditure. The bulk of the expenses to date have been the fees of planning consultants advising the parish council on the actual or potential housing schemes impacting the village.

Whilst the parish council set aside £2,000 of its own funds, more than double that amount has been received by way of private donations or support from village organisations.

Finally the purpose of a parish council is to respond to the community it represents and serves, and in seeking to improve the quality of life and the local environment. We do this by consulting and listening to the views of residents.

It is very clear to the parish council based on surveys, public meetings and responses to petitions there is overwhelming opposition to disproportionate and intensive housing development in the village. This strength of feeling is based on a desire to maintain the rural nature of the village and its wonderful setting in the Dales.

The parish council therefore are merely responding to the views of the vast majority of residents whilst accepting that there may be some who, for whatever reasons, are content to allow the urbanisation of Hampsthwaite.

David Collett,

Chairman, Hampsthwaite Council