COLIN Campbell is alarmed at housing built on farmland stating that UK home grown food production has fallen to 68 per cent (Letters, July 7).

We need to be smarter regarding housing and food. For instance, York’s 90-acre teardrop development could be converted to parks, woodland and meadows. The equivalent area of greenbelt used for bubbles of attractive eco housing with local communities self-sustaining in energy and resources.

If we look to our heritage this was not an unfamiliar scenario with small farms and orchards (most apples now imported) adjacent to housing.

Not building hundreds of houses and offices within the city boundary avoids new risks from flooding and congestion. New housing spread around the green belt could absorb extra traffic avoiding further city centre congestion, flooding and housing conurbations.

York could breathe easier, diffusing heat and reducing city-centre pollution with much funding from EU and national government green grants.

Cities can benefit from the greening of brownfield sites that reverse the decline in aesthetic and environmental standards.

Councillor Tracey Simpson-Laing’s concerns over expensive housing and rents in York are well founded. Which emphasises why high prime areas in the city centre and expensive ground clearance of brownfield sites for housing should be avoided.

Tom Scaife, Manor Drive, York.