THE Planning White Paper, “Planning For the future” published by the government proposes to sweep away the discretion of local councils and impose house building numbers determined by a new algorithm.

Areas with a large gap between incomes and house prices will have large increases in house building forced on them. In the most extreme case a tripling of the building volume currently allowed. At the same time the government proposes to eliminate the requirement for affordable homes on all schemes with less than 40 new dwellings.

It is widely recognised there is an acute shortage of affordable housing for local people in Ryedale, Scarborough and Hambleton; the result of a wide gap between incomes and house prices. Many feel that house building has already been excessive around towns like Malton and Thirsk, but the new government proposals will almost double the number of new homes to be built, according to Lichfields Planning Consultancy.

So, a lot more houses but fewer affordable ones for local people. It is reported that up to 70 Tory MPs, horrified at the impact on their constituencies, are known to be lobbying for a rethink and threatening to vote against the white paper in its current form.

As Local Government Association spokesperson, Tory Cllr David Renard, said: “Algorithms and formulas can never be a substitute for local knowledge and decision-making by councils and communities who know their areas best.”

It would be nice to know that Mr Hollinrake will also be standing up for the local communities he represents but to date it is not clear that he is. After the distress caused to so many A-level students by the government’s blind faith in an algorithm it is baffling that they now propose to plan housing development using the same principle.

Mick Johnston, Ebberston

Historic injustice

RESPONDING to the furore over free school meals in holidays, I would hope to remind our MP that the state has a historic legal duty to ensure people of all ages without the means of self-sufficiency have access to enough food to live healthily.

This is because it the state that through laws and the influence of major landowners, including wealth from slavery and colonies, enabled the enclosures of previous centuries, where vast tracts of land, including whole villages, were cleared of their populations for sheep farming and hunting estates for the exclusive interests of the rich and powerful.

Thus many people no longer have the option of self-sufficiency using common land for growing crops, pasture, or hunting. Therefore, until this injustice is overturned and all formerly common land restored to the people, the state owes all dispossessed people a minimum income that covers the basic needs that working that now confiscated land would have met. This applies whether or not a pandemic and the necessary rules to limit its spread robs people of the means to keep the wolf from the door.

The universal basic income proposed by Green, Liberal Democrat and Labour could begin to tackle this historic injustice, if paid for by taxing the wealth of property. In the meantime, who is still standing against the state’s moral duty to feed children of low income families?

Ian Conlan, Malton

Support all Ryedale

I READ with interest your article “Pull Together” (November 4) with interest highlighting the areas of Malton and Norton.

Whilst I support the plea and wish them all the best, Pickering is still part of Ryedale and it is an equalling worrying time for small businesses in Pickering as it is for Helmsley and the surrounding villages in Ryedale, who equally rely on visitors and customers and who barely survived the first lockdown and are now having to face another for a month.

In order to survive lots of essential shops ie, butchers, vegetable shops, garden centres, bakers, farm shops, pubs offered home delivery or take outs and it looks like many will do the same during this lockdown.

So yes, we should all “pull together” not only for Malton and Norton but all the towns and villages in Ryedale many of whom will not survive this lockdown.

Ann Searle, Pickering