You live in cloud cuckoo land ("We need to have more homes: so why aren't we building enough?", News). The Campaign to Protect Rural England here is vociferous in its support of more affordable housing. Property prices in Salcombe, bloated by absentee bankers' bonuses and where a shed on the quay sells for £100,000, have driven local people out to the extent that recruiting firemen and lifeboatmen is a critical problem.

Fifteen miles away near Plymouth we have been forced to have a massive new town. Originally, it was to be 50% affordable housing, but the developers pleaded poverty and got this down to 17%. Now the government states that if affordable housing provision holds back building houses then they can be omitted altogether. So who will buy these unaffordable houses? Chinese investors are already sniffing.

CPRE is also accused of being nimby about wind and solar energy. Not so. We fully endorse the NFU policy of encouraging us farmers to generate as much electricity as possible from wind, rain and sometimes sun and our muck. We do not support massive black blankets and white elephants that provide no local employment and do nothing to slow our blind acceleration towards the energy cliff. These are cash cows for opportunists that only add to fuel poverty. If you really wish to identify a nimby, ask a board member of Taylor Woodrow to build affordable housing at the bottom of his garden.

Bob Harvey

Chairman, Campaign to Protect Rural England, Plymouth and South Hams

Perhaps your feature could have considered what is happening in market towns across the country. Faringdon, Oxfordshire, where I live is one such example.

A recent new housing estate has put severe pressure on local services such as education and health. The drafts of the new local and neighbourhood plans propose another 350 homes using a greenfield site. It is widely accepted locally that this is inevitable, so we are talking neither nimbyism nor "rural romance" here.

Meanwhile, as these plans are at the draft stage and going through a consultation process, the town is being bombarded with additional speculative planning applications, which our local authority has said it cannot oppose due to changes in the planning law that came into effect last week.

It's developers, not local people or their elected representatives, who are dictating the future of our town and who are destroying our environment in the process.

Joanna Cave



I drive from Hertford to Cambridge, 34 miles up the A10. Leave Hertford, where new houses are being squeezed into every square metre of available space – brownfield sites having new houses built right up to the road boundaries, old houses being demolished to build two or more in the same space; the pressure on the infrastructure will cause parking problems, traffic jams and delays; there will be increased pressure on schools and other services.

I pass Ware – the story is much the same. Bypass Buntingford, where houses are being built to fill the space between the town and the bypass.Through Royston, new houses are coming out to the town limits, again filling land between the town and the main roads. Cambridge – the extent of new house building is incredible, reaching from the city centre out to the M11 motorway that skirts the city.

Based on my cursory observation, there is nothing but house building going on, so who is kidding whom? Are the media ill-informed, repeating the government's mantra?

Is the construction industry understating the number of new homes being built to gain financial concessions and incentives to build more? Are developers understating the numbers to put pressure on local authorities to pass their plans? Is the government understating the numbers to justify the relaxation of planning control? I really feel that we are not getting the full story here.

Alan Mansfield




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