WHEN I was a schoolboy more than 70 years ago, walking or cycling to school on Mondays and Thursdays was a hazard because we had to dodge herds of cattle and flocks of sheep being driven along Millfield Lane and Lawrence Street to the cattle market at Walmgate Bar.

These animals had been rested for a day or two at the 'corporation' farm at Osbaldwick because many had come by sea and rail from Ireland.

Now that this has stopped the council finds itself the happy owner of 53 acres of what it considers to be prime building land. If put on the open market this must be worth £25 million to private developers.

Are we ratepayers going to see the benefit of this windfall? Just think what could be done with it - reduce the Respark charges, get rid of the recently-installed parking meters and reduce parking charges in the city to reasonable amounts - for a start.

If the council is not to receive the current market value for the land, will we own houses to an equivalent value when the scheme, if it proceeds, is complete? If not, why not?

On June 8 you reported that Labour Party spokesman Coun Potter proposed that in future 50 per cent of private housing developments should be for social housing. The brief for the proposed development at Osbaldwick is for 35 per cent social housing. The Labour Party proposal is hypocritical. Why not 50 per cent for the Osbaldwick development or, for that matter, 100 per cent if there is a grave shortage of housing for low-income groups?

George Heppell,

Riseborough House,

Rawcliffe Lane, York.

Updated: 10:07 Friday, July 16, 2004