Readers’ letters - April 7

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How to solve rocky issue of Gibraltar?

Is Britain now between 
the rock and a hard place 
(Chris Moncrieff, LP April 4)?

The British Brexit from the EU has now opened the problemof Gibraltar and its refusal to negotiate with Spain.

Without the co-operation of Spain, Gibraltar would face an isolated existence with serious consequences for its commercial future.

For many years, Gibraltar has wanted to have its 
cake and eat it by being a mini Britain on the edge of Spain.

However, this option is now untenable as it will now have to share a hard customs border with Spain.

If it wants to become completely independent from Spain, it could remove all its land contact with Spain and become a completely independent state supported by Britain.

It could attract business by becoming an offshore haven.

However, living on the Rock with access restricted to air and sea may not be attractive to all its residents, and this could see the population decline over time.

Reliving the past history of Gibraltar and its importance to Britain will not solve the problems they now face.

There is another small island in the Mediterranean which was also a key ally to Britain during the war.

This was Malta which is now an integral part of the EU.

John Fisher

Address supplied

development

Fighting for

the countryside

Well said, Mr Quarmby! You have comprehensively listed the very points that the Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE) is putting to the Government in response to yet another consultative document on housing (LP March 31).

The fact is that builders are allowed to ‘bank’ housing permissions.

If they do not build fast enough to enable the council to remain compliant with the Government’s five-year housing land supply rule, the council has to allocate more greenfield land for development to compensate in order to retain control of development.

If non-compliant with the five-year housing supply rule, the council cannot insist on development being in accordance with the Local Development Plan.

Yes, the Government does claim to protect the green belt, but CPRE has overwhelming evidence that Government inspectors at planning appeals are riding roughshod over residents’ objections and allowing more and more houses or commercial development on green belt.

In Whalley, large-scale development has impacted on the setting of the viaduct and the village – all because the council could not at the time demonstrate it was compliant with the five-year housing land supply rule and lacked a recent Local Plan.

As a result, the builders were able to go in and demand more agricultural land for housing.

Look also at land lost around Weeton, Longridge and Grimsargh – we all know where good land has been concreted over and where suitable brownfield land is still available in our urban areas.

Was this loss of good land for the affordable housing and new starter homes that residents did need?

No, it was generally for densely-packed four- and five-bedroom houses which generate high profit returns but desecrate our villages.

Mr Quarmby may not think people want terraced houses now, but beautifully-designed terraced houses in a vernacular style that echoes the architecture of our Lancashire villages and are affordable may be just what young people would go for at more reasonable prices.

Moreover, the Government’s Help to Buy Scheme does not bring a home any closer for most young people because of the inflated cost of housing – and it is reducing the amount of social housing available. Is the Government really on the side of democracy?

We all need to write to our Lancashire MPs and demand they protest against this iniquitous government policy!

I have been a member of CPRE for many years and we are still fighting on all fronts for you all.

Some gains have been made, but when the Government watered down the last set of planning policies to produce the National Planning Policy Framework, it became a builders’ charter!

CPRE Lancashire responds to members’ and non-members’ concerns whenever and wherever we can – but we need your support too.

Audrey M Dawson

CPRE Lancashire

finances

Mutuals, stick to the day job

This is the time of year when building societies are publishing their annual reports – and I have in mind particularly the ‘mutuals’, that is those with no shareholders and the business belongs to their members.

Reading their reports, I wonder what they think is their purpose in life.

One would think it was to offer the best possible mortgages and the best possible returns of interest to their members.

Yet almost all of them seem obsessed with the idea of doing charitable works in the community.

I accept that these charities are very worthy and if the societies encourage their staff to do activities which help them, that is good.

But it is not the job of the societies themselves to divert members’ monies in this direction.

Sometimes they offer to divert funds to charities in return for members casting their AGM votes (that’s members’ money).

Sometimes they ask you to forgo the pence element of your annual interest. “Never more than 99p”, they point out.

With some of the low interest rate accounts now in vogue, you need to maintain a balance of the best part of £1,000 to earn 99p interest!

There is a good case for telling the mutuals to “stick to the day job”.

Neil Inkley

Walton-le-Dale

search

Looking for my pal Jeanette

I am trying to find the new address of my friend Jeanette Moss of Preston.

Her last know address was Poulton Street in 2015/2016. I have lost her new address but know she is to be a nana this month.

Hope this may bring me some news.

Maureen Sharrocks

Rochdale

Ring the Post on 01772 554537 and we will pass your details on.