Chairman’s Report

John Asher
 North Craven 
 Heritage Trust 

The objectives of NCHT at its formation in 1968 as the ‘Settle and District Civic Society’ remain the same today: to help safeguard the distinctive beauty, history and character of North Craven. So as well as the familiar lectures and events, our remit is to encourage high standards of architecture and town planning, while promoting the preservation and sympathetic development of the area’s special historic features. Planning remains my chief anxiety for North Craven. ‘Local Plans’, covering a 15-year timeframe, are supposed to provide an approved framework within which development can take place with confidence. The Yorkshire Dales National Park’s plan was adopted at the end of 2016 and we support it. Craven District Council continues with efforts to finalise its plan: we have submitted comments on two of the drafts. The delay in producing an agreed, definitive plan has encouraged some developers to try to beat the adoption of the plan and seek prior approval for inappropriate major projects in Settle and Hellifield. We are monitoring the situation closely, and raising objections to unsuitable schemes. Developers have the staff and money to press their case. Government policy is lowering planning barriers. CDC, as is the case for all local councils, is short of staff and money and cannot afford protracted legal battles. The planning process needs all the scrutiny and focus we can give it. If members are exercised by some of the particularly egregious proposals, please volunteer for our planning group. Contact me for details. The rest of our activities tell a happy and positive story. Membership numbers are being maintained. Talks and events, both our own and those run jointly with other societies, are well-supported. The move to an afternoon timing for the winter talks is popular. We continue to give grants for restoring historic features and for research, as documented for you in ‘Patterns of bequest among the ‘Middling Sort’ in the parish of Giggleswick: 1600-1750’ by Claudia Minett (Lancaster University) in this Journal. Thanks are due to our researchers, editors, advertisers and distributors - and to you, our members, for your continued support.