Several of the points made by the Gaston family in their letter of September 6, (We are farmers not developers), made in response to local resident David Ainsley’s comments (Published on August 24), need to be challenged.
First, by focussing solely on their long-standing farming experience, the Gastons neatly divert attention from the equally important arguments over the development of the land into a farm complex which necessarily required the construction of extensive buildings.
Their claim may be relevant to the on-going specific concern over calf rearing, but it side-steps the equally important concern about the ruination of an outstanding view. If the buildings are allowed to be constructed to the same industrial estate metal shed design as the existing construction, then I shudder to think what the finished structures will look like.
Second, the Gastons recognise and accept that the area is an Area of Oustanding Natural Beauty, yet they wish to proceed with the construction of the farm regardless.
They recognise it is a beautiful area, but do not appear to value this as a priority.
The house they intend to build at Dunstan Steads may well enjoy outstanding views, but I doubt this benefit will be shared by those having to live alongside the development, or to pass by it.
Third, the letter gives the impression that they have displayed constraint and generosity and a concern for the landscape by not building in a more prominent position closer to Dunstanburgh Castle.
However, the ‘discreet area’ they say they have chosen instead is still a beautiful location in the area, and needs to be retained as a vital part of the overall landscape.
Fourth, (and something which is obvious to most people involved in this controversy), it is inevitable that to create an efficient farming enterprise proposed by the Gastons you have to construct large-scale farm buildings and this of course is still property development.
This is an aspect the family conveniently choose not to mention in their letter.