PRINCE Charles is today reinforcing his long-standing support of the Yorkshire Dales with a day-long visit to speak to people involved in projects close to his heart.
The Prince, a regular visitor to the area, has often been ridiculed by the city-based national media for his ambition to promote small, rural-based projects – but today’s visit will be of great interest to Dales locals.
For a start, we will arrive by train at Skipton, a gesture of support for rail travel, and his first visit is to Skipton Auction Mart which, since the disaster of foot and mouth, has become a pioneering centre for new rural businesses and a skills training centre.
Then he goes to Kettlewell, not so much to see scenes where the Calendar Girls film was shot, but to talk to residents and officials about the problems of building affordable housing for local people – perhaps the biggest social problem facing the Dales at present.
Finally, he is off to Harrogate to add his backing to a plan which will encourage local schools to buy food for their meals from local producers – preferably organic food, another of the prince’s close interests.
One official who will be in the welcoming party commented: “The Prince often comes under attack for these interests, which seem a little bit eccentric to the national media, but in fact they are very close to the heart of our problems in the Dales. His support for these groups is most welcome.”