Letter of the week The kindness of strangers
WHEN my son left the Army some 15 years ago, he took up its offer of a three-month training course in journalism. One project was to approach three high-profile people (unaided by personal acquaintance) and request an interview. He duly approached Jilly Cooper (Interview, September 7), who generously agreed to meet him at her home. After a very amusing and wideranging talk, he was able to put within his opening paragraph ‘and this is the woman who left the entire draft of a book on a train to London’. She said that, when starting out in her journalism career, some established writers and publishers had been kind to her, hence her granting this favour, but what a lovely thing to do. Janie Day, Suffolk
AS a rural planning consultant, I felt that the article ‘Stop going round the housing crisis’ (Athena, August 17) appeared to place the blame at the developers’ door, but resistance to small development by planners is rather more to blame. Perhaps understandably, they like large developments that help to meet the local housing target, involve little more work than a small scheme and usually meet the planner’s Holy Grail of ‘sustainable development’.
Thousands of small villages could accommodate 6–10 extra homes and many builders would love to put them up using local labour and local materials, however, getting permission for such development is now virtually impossible. Nigel Cant, Devon
The writer of the letter of the week will win a bottle of Pol Roger Brut Réserve Champagne