Such is life in Ribblesdale. I’ve gone from taking pictures of golden sunsets and striking autumnal colours to those of misty, snowy almost black and white shots all within a fortnight. It was very similar last year – take a look back at my blog posts for late November and early December 2015 and you’ll see.
Hot news once again this week regarding the future of Hellifield Flashes. The stretch of Ribblesdale countryside separating Hellifield and Long Preston alongside the A65, known for flooding and a vital home for thousands of wintering birds, has been a prime target for profit-hungry developers for more than 15 years. Plans for a ‘leisure complex’ have once again been submitted along with improbable promises of jobs for up to 500 people. Perhaps there will be hundreds of jobs (not necessarily new ones) while the place is being constructed, but once up and running I wonder how much employment will remain? I can also see a few individuals, like the owners of the local pub, chip shop and village store understandably rubbing their hands at the prospect of attracting more customers, but what of the quality of life for the majority of residents, the wildlife and those viewing the area from the surrounding hills? The plans have been submitted by Halton Homes of Bingley. Look on their website and you’ll see it states the Hellifield development is ‘coming soon’ – do they know something we don’t? Take a look too at their other ‘leisure’ development down the road at Pendle Chase which it describes as a ‘premium investment opportunity’. Years after planning was controversially granted for the Salterforth enterprise the place is still undeveloped. Make your own mind up as to who really benefits from such speculation and land grabbing then send your objections to Craven Council. Also visit
While I’m on one … Like many other people who care about quality of life and Nature I was appalled to see even more of Sheffield Council’s draconian tree removal this week. They say they must remove trees from streets because they can’t afford to pick up the bill for mending damage to pavements caused by tree roots. They claim it costs £50k a year (a figure I don’t believe given the growth rate of most trees). They say nothing about the value of trees, such as how they cut down pollution, how they shield traffic noise for residents and how they provide food and nesting places for wildlife – or how they just look nice, making places more pleasant to live in. I’m so lucky to live in my Ribblesdale village where trees are appreciated. Sheffield council has now killed more than three thousand trees. It’s okay though, the government has come up with £370m to tart up Buckingham Palace… well, that’ll keep Sheffield residents happy. Oh, and there’s millions for fancy new bridges in London and don’t get me started on the unimaginable amount of money being wasted on an unnecessary new train line for businessfolk to get to their London meetings half an hour quicker.
Best not devote the whole blog to misery … it’s good news that steam trains may be back on the Settle-Carlisle line by summer 2017 and that work on fixing the section of collapsed line at Eden Brow is well underway. And more good news … in only five weeks Christmas will be over with.