I REFER to the letter in the Gazette & Herald (August 17) from the un-named resident expressing concern about the lack of “townspeople” consultation.

If your correspondent had read the papers last year, he/she might have picked up the invitation to a public meeting organised by the Malton and Norton Area Partnership, when more than 200 residents attended and an extensive list of aspirations and projects was created.

Subsequently, the two town councils readdressed the neighbourhood plan process which will sound out every household in the two towns on the way forward for the community.

More than 60 resident volunteers, gathered from the original public meeting, came forward to form focus groups to discuss various areas – forward planning, the environment, heritage, leisure and the economic future have all been discussed and with the help of a consultant specialising in neighbourhood plans, there has been positive progress in producing a draft document which will form the central basis of a consultation with every resident during the late autumn.

When complete, a formal neighbourhood plan will be legalised through a referendum process and must be part of any developers guide as to what they may come up with and how it might be acceptable in reflecting the community needs within the legal plan.

Therefore, although your correspondent may have missed the boat as it set out on a fairly long and complicated community journey, there will be a major and very open opportunity to put his/her comments forward.

David Lloyd-Williams, town councillor, chairman of the Neighbourhood Plan Steering Group

Is this letter a joke?

YOUR leading letter on August 17 suggests, among other things, that the Estate and councils ask Malton’s residents what kind of shops they would like to open in Malton.

S/he then goes on to describe the town as a “joke”. I have the feeling that in fact this letter is a joke.

Firstly, how would s/he suggest that the residents’ wishes for specific shops are translated into reality? Does s/he believe that businesses are queueing up to be invited to open shops here? And that the Estate or council select from this long list only the businesses they feel are suitable? I don’t know, but I doubt it.

The comic effect is then heightened by the neat trick of a letter writer complaining about not being consulted and then apparently opting to remain anonymous. Most amusing.

In fact, all “genuine Malton people” are allowed, indeed welcome, to stand for the town and other councils, and to attend most if not all of the meetings.

The names of the members of the council are a matter of public record, and I’m sure that they would all welcome input from such people. Providing, of course, that they make themselves known.

David Hoggard, Malton

Scary gas spending

I RECENTLY read an article by Averil Macdonald OBE, emeritus professor at the University of Reading and chairman of UK Onshore Oil & Gas. It contained some interesting facts which people may like to consider.

For the UK to meet its climate targets by 2025, we need to erect one new wind turbine per hour for the next nine years just to keep the lights on. That would be 78,624 turbines, where do we fancy having those in the UK? And that’s not keeping us warm and fed. That’s why we need gas. Twenty-two million homes (84 per cent of us) are using gas central heating, while 63 per cent of us cook our dinner using gas. Lately, about 50 per cent of our power generation has been provided by gas.

We presently send £4.5bn every year – the equivalent of £500,000 every hour – overseas in payment for imported gas. In 2004 we were self-sufficient for gas.

The UK has an excellent gas infrastructure to provide heating to the vast majority of homes. Think of the expense to householders converting their homes to electric and the higher consumer charges for that power.

Electric is not as cheap as gas. Imagine the extra infrastructure required by the National Grid to be able to cope.

Scare stories abound but one thing is for sure, half a million pounds an hour going to foreign lands when the UK economy could be benefiting, now that is scary.

Lorraine Allanson, Allerston