HAMBLETON council’s decision to allow Newby Wiske Hall to be converted into a children’s holiday centre has been quashed following successful High Court action by Newby Wiske Hall Action Group.

The huge sums of time and money needed for a High Court battle suggests the plans for the school trip facility tapped into a huge well of strong feeling among villagers.

It’s worth trying to consider where this strength of feeling came from.

Newby Wiske Hall is in the heart of a very quiet village. What happens there impacts on the lives of everyone around it.

But was it the way the decision to sell the former police HQ to outdoor education specialists PGL that sparked such Herculean opposition from local people? Was it a feeling that their voices were being ignored, that they had no control over something which would affect them that profoundly?

Newby Wiske lies a few miles from three different areas of North Yorkshire where Petroleum Exploration and Development Licences (PEDL) have so far been issued for fracking exploration.

The outskirts of PEDL area 208 – covering areas including Oulston, Carlton and Kilburn – lies just 12 miles from the village.

PEDL area 284, covering areas including Kirkbymoorside and Helmsley lies approximately 20 miles from the village. A third PEDL area stretching down to Great Ayton is approximately 20 miles away.

While the science of the threat to health posed by fracking is a complicated one that requires many, many hours of investigative research to verify - and then possibly very expensive newspaper lawyers to defend - the fact that hydraulic fracturing sites bring with them major construction equipment, daily tanker deliveries, protests, drilling and other disruptions must be pretty disturbing for local populations.

Communities in Ryedale which tried to oppose the recent well site at Kirby Misperton frequently voiced frustration that their concerns were not listened to.

If fracking does go ahead in these beautiful, rural communities, they may end up feeling envious of Newby Wiske's problems.