As one of Francis Maude's constituents, like most in Horsham District I oppose greenfield housebuilding on a scale that would completely swamp villages such as Billingshurst ("Conservative minister scorns opposition to planning reforms", 2 October). In reply to letters of objection seeking his support, Mr Maude has sent only standard responses. The draft National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) is not as restrictive as Mr Maude claims; on the contrary, it would allow developers' plans to proceed unchecked as the local council would be unlikely to prove that "the adverse impacts of allowing development would significantly and demonstrably outweigh the benefits".
The irony is that by facilitating large-scale "executive" housing development in Horsham District's countryside, the NPPF will encourage middle-class migration from Crawley, making this key marginal constituency unwinnable by Conservatives – a pattern likely to be repeated across England. The NPPF could actually amount to electoral suicide for the Tories.
Southwater, West Sussex
Do our political leaders believe that Britain consists solely of families ("Osborne will change course, says Alistair Darling", 2 October)? Astonishingly, they seem unaware that throughout Britain there are a multitude of couples and people living on their own, of all age groups. By apparently ignoring the existence of these groups, the implication is that non-family households are second class. Couples and singles also have mortgages, run businesses, and graft to hold down difficult and worthwhile jobs. Until this peculiar failing is rectified, I for one will not be voting for anyone in the next election.
While I share Janet Street-Porter's admiration for Songs of Praise, I wonder whether her views of the Church of England are more backward than the institution she berates. I'm a Church of England priest, working my socks off as a prison chaplain. Like many colleagues in prisons, schools, hospitals and yes, churches, across the country, we're busy "taking belief out of the buildings and into the lives or ordinary people in canteens, offices and schools" every day (and most evenings) of our working lives. Perhaps the very fact that we're moving out of our often listed and crumbling buildings is the reason that fewer are attending "traditional" services: they're too busy talking about spirituality and faith with ministers in pubs, prison cells and parks.
Rev Sharon Grenham-Toze
My grandmother, Kathleen Bruce, was Captain Scott's wife ("Captain Scott – romantic, wrong, but a winner in the end", 2 October). Winning the so-called race was not the Scott party's prime purpose. Scott didn't know Amundsen was going south until both were halfway there. Rather, he was on a scientific expedition, collecting geological and other material. The science, far from being a waste of time, was properly done and of lasting value.
As one of the 2011 Foyle Young Poets of the Year, I did not expect to receive the "you're addicted to Facebook" lecture from The Independent on Sunday. Had you read my poem, you would have noticed the classical ballad structure – the word Ballad in the title might also have helped – a form that dates back to the 13th century, and the last line of the fourth stanza cites "La Belle Dame sans Merci", Keats's 1884 masterpiece. Yes, teenagers use social networking sites. Some of us write poetry too.
At the Labour conference, the then shadow Business Secretary John Denham admitted that the South-west regional development agency structure set up by his party had failed. It is too big to be local and too small to be strategic. This region conforms to the EU's idea of what a region should be: a population of about five million. The South Country with a population of nearer 18 million does not fit that model. All the South is calling for an assembly for the South-west, South-east and East Anglia to be divided into city regions.
All the South Party
Vanessa Feltz encourages women to make fools of themselves ("Mutton dressed as lamb..." 2 October). I do not recall Sophia Loren or Catherine Deneuve parading in fishnets with stilettos or sequinned boob tubes. Discreet, dignified, stylish and elegant, their qualities are not shared by everyone because not everyone has taste, maturity – or money, which is essential for looking attractive as you age.
Apparently the only basis on which we women are judged is our clothes, look and age. Oh dear. Clare Elizabeth Freeman
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