The leader of Selby District Council, Councillor Mark Crane, has been explaining why the Conservative group on the council now considers it necessary to lobby the regional assembly to increase the annual housing requirement for Selby after 2006 and, as a result, increase the amount of building on greenfield sites.

Apparently this is because he sees this as the way to address the need for "affordable" homes.

While Coun Crane tries to blame the Labour Party and MP John Grogan for his position on housing, I remind him of past Tory promises on housing.

In the 1999 District Elections the Conservative candidates in Sherburn stood on a platform of a new deal for the area.

This included the statement: "We oppose further large scale high density developments which are being forced on us by the Labour Party".

In 2003, the election message from six local Conservative candidates included the statement: "We will give weight to residents' views on new housing developments".

Not much weight, apparently. New developments at Church Fenton, South Milford and Monk Fryston, although opposed by local residents, have gone ahead under the Tories.

I don't recall any of the aforementioned councillors supporting the Sherburn residents, councillors or our MP in our successful fight to slow down new housing.

The local plan has been adopted despite local opposition, but at least the phasing proposals mean we live to fight another day.

The residents of Sherburn and South Milford will undoubtedly continue to oppose proposals for large developments in their villages when the forthcoming Local Development Framework is unveiled.

I have little doubt, however, thatwhatever the overall housing requirement, the Tories will still push for large scale development in Sherburn/South Milford. Other settlements are also under threat and residents should, if they are concerned, be organising their opposition now.

Bob Packham,

Selby District Councillor,

Sherburn in Elmet Ward,

Showfield Close,


Updated: 11:05 Friday, March 25, 2005