Reader’s letters - Wednesday, September 9

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Rural plan won’t work

Regarding the New Rural Productivity Plan that was announced by George Osbourne on August 20, the Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE) welcomes the Government’s recognition that rural areas can play an important role in generating economic growth, and that they need good quality housing and services in order to achieve this.

We are concerned, however, that the Rural Productivity Plan suggests that growth and development in the countryside will override the protections of our beautiful English countryside.

The proportion of development on greenfield sites is currently at its highest since 1999 and the proposals for further planning deregulation risk putting villages and landscapes at additional risk of inappropriate developments.

We recognise that providing the right houses in the right places that meet local need is a vital part of ensuring that our villages remain vibrant and sustainable.

However, the proposals set out in the Rural Productivity Plan risk alienating local communities and reducing the amount of affordable housing in rural areas.

The Government’s suggestion that young families will be able to afford houses at even 20 per cent discount will not ring true in many low-waged rural economies.

Rural housing should be provided to meet identified local need.

Without a recognition of the distinctive needs of rural areas, the Government’s drive to encourage Starter Homes will significantly undermine this principle and could turn villages against new development, as Starter Homes will be available to anyone and it’s likely that commuters will be able to outbid local families.

And the 20 per cent discount which the purchaser of the property will benefit from will not remain in perpetuity.

The result will be that there is no incentive for local people to support this type of development.

The proposed extension to the Right to Buy to include housing association properties will also add to this problem.

Rural areas should be exempted from the extension 
to Right to Buy in order to protect the already dwindling stock of affordable homes available.

Jackie Copley, Planning manager,

Lancashire Branch of the Campaign to Protect Rural England 
(CPRE)

Assisted dying not the answer

I, like Mr Tilley (LEP letters August 31), am very concerned regarding the effect that Rob Marris’ Assisted Suicide Bill will have on the care for the elderly and vulnerable.

Marris’ Bill will place unfair pressure on the elderly and sick to end their lives for fear of being a financial, emotional or care burden on others. This Suicide Bill will affect the disabled, elderly, sick or depressed.

“Assisted Dying” is not the answer to pain but a quick fix, cash-saving measure, and will be the thin end of the wedge, leading to thousands pressured into a premature death.

For most people, this Bill will not represent any enhancement of personal autonomy but the reverse. Attempted suicide was always regarded as a cry for help. Any development into state-assisted suicide must be resisted.

We must all express our objections to this Bill to our MP as soon as possible.

Tony Mullett, Preston

Pheasant’s in the line of fire

Regarding the story about the water supply and a pheasant (LEP September 5), the pheasant wasn’t in the firing line, the pheasant’s in the line of fire– always is come the first of October!

Kit Rogers, Kendal

Corbyn victory may be disaster

I am writing to voice my concern over the Labour leadership contest and the dire consequences, for the region which your paper represents, if Jeremy Corbyn wins the leadership contest.

Jeremy Corbyn says he wishes not to keep Trident, the UK’s nuclear deterrent, and he wants the UK to leave NATO.

This will have disastrous consequences for the economy of the region as tens of thousands of workers are employed by BAE Systems, and the multitude of smaller businesses which support BAE Systems will have their jobs and the welfare of their families placed in jeopardy.

The region would become an economic wasteland, similar to the mining communities of the 1980s, but ironically and sadly it will be a Labour Party that will do this and that would be unbelievable.

Labour holds several seats within 20 to 30 miles of major BAE systems production sites at Samlesbury, Warton and Barrow in Furness.

I hope the LEP interviews these MPs and their cons-tituency parties to find out which Labour leader they want to represent the party, to see if they are willing to send tens of thousand of workers down the river to economic oblivion if the worst happens, and set that potential disaster in motion by voting for Mr Corbyn.

I have worked and lived in this area all of my life and have been a moderate trade union member for over 30 years in NALGO, BIFU and Unite, representing workers in the workplace.

John Bryan, Lea, Preston