LOCAL plans are important. If they are allowed to get adopted without being challenged, there is nothing anybody can do to stop unwanted development proposed in the plans. This particularly applies to the Joint Waste and Minerals Plan.

The policies of this plan would allow the development of 10 fracking pads per 38 square miles (100 square kilometres – p.92 para 5.137). If evenly spaced, this equates to a grid of production sites (each of about two hectares) approximately every three miles in every direction.

Each pad will generate noise by continuous drilling, be lit up like a Christmas tree at night, clog up our country lanes with huge HGVs, and probably cause considerable pollution. It will completely industrialise the Vale of Pickering and the Yorkshire Wolds.

This makes me very angry because I objected to another local plan – the Ryedale Plan – on the grounds that it imposed all new development onto the towns of Ryedale where there is insufficient infrastructure to support it, and left the villages (outside 10 service villages) and the open countryside untouched.

In July 2012, I attended the Examination in Public into the Ryedale Plan to make these points. However, the inspector was advised of the environmental considerations which had encouraged the council to direct so much new development to the towns, and the need to protect our beautiful countryside by making virtually the whole of Ryedale outside the AONB, the National Park and the towns, an area of high local amenity which required special protection.

The Ryedale Plan was adopted with the full knowledge and approval of county.

And now county planners are seeking to impose on the same countryside which they have tried so hard to protect from housing and employment development, a form of development which will industrialise it. This is outrageous.

Councillor Paul Andrews, Malton Ward RDC

MPs have a duty

I HAD hoped to avoid further comment on the increasingly bitter debate over Brexit, but D Loxley’s erroneous and misinformed attack on our judges and MP’s requires a response (Gazette & Herald, November 30).

Firstly, he quite wrongly castigates our legal system as a bureaucratic imposition which “destroys democracy”. In England and Wales the basis of the system is the Common Law, painfully evolved over a 1,000 years, and which underpins our rights and democracy. Judges interpret and uphold the law.

Secondly, his turgid cod-lecture on the British Constitution demonstrates a considerable level of misunderstanding, which a cursory reading of Bagehot would have avoided. MPs are not delegates, as he implies, required to unquestioningly follow the electorates wishes. They are fully entitled to vote according to their own conscience and judgement, as they did many years ago in abolishing the death penalty.

Thirdly, leave only won the referendum by a narrow majority, and allowing for those who chose not to vote, barely 37 per cent of the public voted to leave. Hardly overwhelming.

Furthermore, the terms on which they voted were unclear, especially as the leave campaign lied through its teeth about the consequences.

Some people are now beginning to realise they were misled, as has recently been demonstrated by the dramatic Liberal Democrat victory in Richmond, a campaign almost entirely focused on Brexit. Presumably Mr Loxley thinks this was also undemocratic.

MPs have, therefore, every reason, and indeed a duty, to assess critically the practical consequences of leaving the European Union and to ignore the threats of Mr Loxley that they “will be out of a job if they prevaricate beyond March 31, 2017”.

Michael Gwilliam, Norton

Thanks for support

I’D like to thank everyone who supported or came to our Small Business Saturday event, and launch of the #helmsangels Angel festival.

We have a long list of thank you letters to write to everyone who helped make the day a success; planning, volunteering, giving & entertaining, too many to name here individually.

We have had so much wonderful feedback from all around, which makes all the hard work worthwhile; about the event, the town lights and the angel displays. Helmsley’s community spirit and unique Christmas atmosphere shines bright.

Watch this space for exciting plans in the New Year, but for now we’d like to wish you a very Happy Christmas and thank you all for spending local and helping us to keep Helmsley a special place to live, work and visit.

Carolyn Frank, chairman, Helmsley in Business

Concert success

A WARM thank you to all the people who attended and organised the concert we gave for the refugee charities, Help Refugees, Rob Lawrie’s charity and Khora.

A special thanks to the headline act Sarah Jane Morris and Antonio Forcione. A total of £2,443.72 was raised.

Jill Wells, chairman of the Thirsk and Malton Labour Party