THE PROPOSAL to talk with the government on increasing council tax on second homes in the Dales has been “killed off” in the words of national park chairman Carl Lis.

Richmondshire District Council decided by one vote to reject the idea of approaching the Government to see if council tax could be increased on some homes in the Yorkshire Dales.

The closeness of the vote illustrates just how much the proposal divided opinion.

It was unpopular with many, including the Dales Homeowners Action Group, who claimed it was “social engineering” and counter-productive as they spent money in the local economy.

One thing is for certain; there are no winners. In fact, if the issue that prompted the drastic proposal in the first place isn’t addressed there will only be losers.

Businesses can’t rely on shipping people in from outside the dales to work in low paid jobs in pubs, restaurants, care homes and shops; there are plenty of minimum wage jobs outside the dales which don’t cost the earth in petrol to get to them.

Once you have lost the pubs, schools, restaurants and shops how easy will it be to attract holidaymakers, or persuade families to come?

The Dales is not some Shangri-La which can remain suspended in a time warp untouched by the outside world. It has always changed. It’s had industries from mining to milling come and go. It’s taken some hard work to make it so attractive. It’s not about booting people certain people out; it’s making sure we stay in control of its environment before market forces dictate the erosion of the many things which make it such a special, beautiful place.