We must protect the views the Brontës loved was the headline to an article which appeared in last Saturday’s (21 January) Telegraph Weekend. Well of course anyone who knows the area which gave such inspiration to that literary family would agree wholeheartedly. Apparently not Bradford Council which is including Haworth and its neighbouring Worth Valley villages in the plans to see 48,500 houses built within its boundaries by 2028.
Andrew McCarthy, director of the Brontë Parsonage Museum is quoted in the article as saying that the Brontës themselves lived on the dividing line between industry and untamed moorland and that the walk to enter another world is not very far.
The fear is that this world will disappear in stages. The Reverend Peter Mayo-Smith, vicar of the village’s St Michael and All Angels church, which has been the victim of criminals and vandals who have stripped lead from the roof three times in the last eighteen months, says he finds solace in walks on the moor. Even when the wind is strong and the rain lashing he describes these lonely expanses as wonderful.
Charlotte Brontë, after her sister’s death, wrote how Emily too loved the moors and found in the bleak solitude many and dear delights and not the least and best loved was liberty.
Just as the Brontës were always drawn back to the area for inspiration, those of us who follow in their footsteps hope that if there has to be future development it will be done sensibly and with respect.