A READER has written to us in support of objections to plans for a 30-home development submitted to Richmondshire District Council which she believes would be a blot on the picturesque landscape.

Richmond, the gateway to the Dales, is a jewel in Yorkshire’s crown. Frequently voted amongst the best places to live in the country, and one of the prettiest towns, those who live here are in no doubt how privileged they are.

Tourists and day-trippers, on whom the town relies, are in awe of its Georgian architecture and the natural beauty of its landscapes. Though, as everywhere, it is not beyond being devastated by new housing developments.

In fact, it is particularly vulnerable. Many people would like to move here from the South of England and right across the country. Housing demand could never be satiated in this town. But it is a small town with a small infrastructure and it has to both recognise its limits and its greatest assets.

Westfields, the lane adjacent to the town’s medieval pasture, is a quintessential English lane.

Unchanged in almost a century - with an avenue of ancient trees and hedgerows, verges of wild flowers, of elderberries and honeysuckle, of stone walls - it hosts our pollinators and amphibians, field mice, bats and barn owls, in its own delicate ecosystem.

It is where Richmond town ends and undulates seamlessly into the Yorkshire Dales.

This is where developers wish to site a new and intrusive modern housing estate. What's more, it lies outside of the town's current building limits, so if it falls, so will other green spaces surrounding the town.

Westfields is walked by people from across the town as they come to find peace and enjoyment, and solace, in the timelessness of this special English lane.

Our visitors on the Coast-to- Coast are intoxicated by the views, by the charm of this entry into our town. It has been filmed and photographed many times over, enhancing Richmond as a tourist destination.

In the evening, people come to sit and watch the sun setting over Swaledale with bats swooping overhead and the owls hooting. It is a timeless paradise.

Directly opposite where people sit, and where walkers begin to make their descent into Richmond, will be the massive water tank of the proposed new development.

Instead of darkening skies as the sun sets, the sky will be illuminated by streetlighting. It will be visible from the top of the castle, from Round Howe, from the entirety of the Swale Valley and beyond.

The scale and density of the proposed development is breath-taking in its disregard for the environment in which it would be situated and in its disregard for the people whose own lives would be so much less without it.

While we all accept that the country needs more houses, the solution should be to create new towns and villages with proper planning and infrastructure.

The solution isn’t to choke the life out of existing ones, encircling them with ever more development. I believe that as the Norman Castle and the Georgian architecture are preserved, so should this special place be preserved, spared from development, that future generations might enjoy it as we enjoy it today.

Isobel Davies, Richmond