Homes on flood plain could
leave buyers up the creek
SIR, - Whatever the arguments for and against the proposed new development of 850 new homes on land to the east and north of the Cambridge Estate in Otley, one thing is certain.
Potential buyers of these homes should ask the builders to provide boat moorings as well as car parking because much of this area is identified on the Envireonment Agency website as a `flood warning area' with a `significant' risk of flooding.
`Significant' is the highest of the three Environment Agency flood risk warnings, and so the website also warns that in these areas `insurers may decline to offer a quote for your custom'.
As lenders will not provide a mortgage to purchase an uninsurable property, as soon as insurers `decline to offer a quote for your sutom', the property effectively becomes worthless.
Even if the new houses are sold with an initial insurance package, this can be withdrawn by the insurers at a later date, the most likely date being shortly after the first major flooding.
Existing houses on the Cambridge Estate may also be affected because drainage in this area must inevitably be impeded by the new development.
It could be quite difficult selling these new houses, particularly if those involved in the sale are legally obliged to point out these potentially catastrophoc problems to purchasers in the forthcoming home sellers' packs.
SIR, - I notice with much glee, KSP Consulting's planning conundrum, plus Leeds City Council's inactivity surrounding the construction of a set of dog kennels built illegally within Otley town centre, much to the chargin of last week's correspondent (name and address withheld).
I myself have experienced a run-in with Leeds City Council's Planning Department and have been ignored. To the rear of my property, a single-storey warehouse extension was constructed without consultation, depriving my home of access to natural daylight.
Planning officers stated that notices had been posted outside my property However, this had failed to materialise.
Therefore, construction went ahead without my, or my neighbour's, prior knowledge. Aside from the fact that the first I knew was when the builders moved in, work regularly started in the summer months prior to the industry standard 8am embargo.
It would appear to me that Leeds City Council does not have any hard and fast rules, certainly concerning the outlying areas such as Otley. Personally I have no qualm with KSP's new frontage, it is far more attractive than the pile of rubble across the road from them. Let's not forget this is the same city council department that at some stage approved the BT building in Nelson Street and I could mention others such as who really knows what is happening with the Civic Centre and, don't get me started on this ridiculous idea of 850 new homes on the flood plain which in recent years has already seen significant flooding.
SIR, - .Godfrey Bloom will likely want us to believe that the EU has 'steam-rollered' measures to ban tobacconists from doing business via the web, but the reality is that this is part of a Europewide move to improve public health.
I sympathise with tobacconist James Barber's financial predicament but he and Mr Bloom have to admit that the UK Government could also have objected to the measure but chose not to.
It's not the EU, for example, that has forced the Irish to ban smoking in pubs and restaurants or that is making our Government introduce similar if more limited measures.
Nor did the EU have anything whatsoever to do with the decision to prohibit foxhunting. However trade and commerce, with the internet by definition needing to be policed internationally, does come under EU jurisdiction as determined by the sovereign member states.
Of course, Bloom's interest in taking this on will be to further his political agenda which is to isolate this country from its major Euroepan trading partners. Bloom and his UKIP gang snipe on the sidelines of the European Parliament while making no contribution whatsoever to ensuring either that the interests of his electors are defended or that Europe makes a contribution to peace on a wider scale.
Hence over Christmas, while the garrulous Godfrey was doubtlessly enjoying his turkey, a European Parliamentary delegation was in Ukraine monitoring the re-run of the second round of the presidential election and thus helping to ensure development of democracy there.
This month a delegation of MEPs led by our local man Edward McMillan-Scott has been observing the election of the President of the Palestinian Authority on January 9, a vital stage in the building of a lasting peace.
MEPs can agree to differ on issues such as the EU constitutional treaty or the euro or, more generally, on the desirable degree of European integration.
However, apart from the UKIP isolationists, all agree that it is important for people in Yorkshire to see MEPs who are contributing to the development of Europe on issues where it is vital that nation states work together. The European Movement is at the forefront of a cross party campaign to ensure that Britain remains fully committed to the project and rejects the blind alley isolationism of Bloom and his ilk.
Those wanting to know more are welcome to attend our next 'open forum' on Euroepan issues at Guiseley Theatre at 12.30pm pm on Saturday, January 29, and may contact me for further information at firstname.lastname@example.org
SIR, - As the death toll from the Indonesian tsunami approaches 150,000 and more than five million people urgently need basic life saving essentials, our Government's initial response was a disgrace and embarrassed into increasing aid from £15m to £50m.
Even at this level it will only scratch the surface. Billions are required, not millions. As the fourth richest nation in the world we sent just one plane but squadrons bomb civilians in Iraq. What is more important? Saving life or killing people, protecting hierarchical class structures and political power? And whilst people suffer and die, America squabbles over control, using this disaster to extend its world domination.
Compare New Labour's response to this disaster with the £160 million of arms sales they recently authorised for an Indonesia totalitarian regime and the £16m paid to secure this deal.
They also see this disaster as an opportunity to be exploited for political advantage and mask its last eight years of sleazy administration. Sentiment is a powerful political weapon when properly manipulated by propaganda.
The next time Blair, or any other New Labour politician uses `humanitarianism' as an excuse for war, please remember their hypocrisy and the way they responded to this disaster. When it comes to seismic shifts in socialist principles, Blair and New Labour are more dangerous than the tsunami.
21 Grange View,
SIR, - My wife and I read in your paper, with considerable irritation, that the potential developer of the Silver Cross site is seeking to try to persuade Leeds councillors to ignore the fact that its proposal is a serious over-development with inadequate car parking - by handing out free Metro cards to the purchasers of the apartments.
We feel strongly that if any such free passes are to be given out they should go to the long suffering, established inhabitants of Guiseley.
We have seen our quality of life seriously eroded by the over-development that has already taken place and are desperately worried by Silver Cross and other, future developments.