Parking offers

I AM writing in response to your article in the Darlington and Stockton Times on Friday February 23 in which Hambleton District Council was again criticised for perceived parking issues as a result of North Yorkshire Police’s new headquarters.

I must firstly stress that the council has made two offers to North Yorkshire Police in respect of car parking.

It offered to lease a section of Crosby Road car park to North Yorkshire Police and for them to then provide parking to their staff. This offer was rejected by the Police and Crime Commissioner. Alternatively, their staff could access Hambleton District Council’s discounted pay monthly parking scheme which attracts a percentage discount on the daily ticket price.

Your article suggested that the council should reduce its daily charge further but this is not viable as it would not only impact on the council’s budget but we could not offer police officers and police staff parking rates which are preferential to those we charge other people working in Northallerton who currently pay for the monthly scheme.

Hambleton District Council is still working with North Yorkshire Police and the Police and Crime Commissioner to try to find a solution to their parking requirements.

Dr Justin Ives, chief executive, Hambleton District Council

No apology

CONSPICUOUS by their absence from your report about the latest meeting called by the police to discuss residents’ parking problems in the vicinity of the new police HQ (D&S Times, Feb 16,) were any hint of an apology for the chaos and any mention of the Police and Crime Commissioner responsible for this shambles. She should have attended the meeting to explain herself.

We were told there will be an “Environmental Visual Audit”, not an expression I came across in my more than thirty years in the local force - thank goodness!

The answer is not for the police to wander about “at different times on different days to identify any parking issues” – the parking issues are there to be seen every day.

The answer is for the police to act against drivers who have now been breaking the law for several months, whether they are police staff or not.

We were told well over two months ago (D&S Times, Dec 8) that talks were being held with Hambleton council to try to find a solution. We have not been told the outcome – if the talks ever took place.

I have mentioned in my several letters to you about illegal parking on footpaths that increasing numbers of your readers have contacted me in support.

It is clear from these contacts that there is a groundswell of dissatisfaction not only with the PCC vis-a-vis the aborted new HQ at South Kilvington, the sale of Newby Wiske Hall, the purchase of Allerton Court, falling standards generally, and much else besides, but also with local government at county and district levels, not only with parking in the vicinity of the police HQ but also about empty car parks, the prison site, and much else.

The common theme is failure to communicate at all levels, the PCC being a prime example – I am in charge, I am right and there is no need for me to explain or apologise and certainly no need for me to give financial information no matter how bad my mistakes.

I have been surprised to find so much antagonism and doubly surprised to find much of it emanating from contacts I assume to be Conservative party supporters.

The Conservative party chose the PCC – surely they should be giving some thought to reversing their disastrous choice and the sooner the better.

David Severs, Northallerton

Wrong thinking

UNFORTUNATELY the problem of motor vehicles being parked on footpaths, as mentioned in David Severs’ letter February 12, is not limited to Northallerton.

A year ago I moved from a local village with no pavements to Bedale and am horrified at the number of vehicles parked on pavements in the residential parts of the town.

Many people park on the pavements outside their own houses when their drive is empty, frequently obstructing more than half the footpath and sometimes blocking it completely.

Some offenders seem to think, wrongly, that it’s dangerous to park on the road lest other have to drive round them but surely what is actually dangerous is for pedestrians have to walk on the road.

A little consideration for others would go a long way.

Paqtricia Fairey, Bedale

Sedate times

REGARDING the continuing road traffic management discussion. Laws regarding road traffic were devised in more sedate times and inevitably their implementation has deteriorated to cope with the problems as they have grown. In the long run they will catch up with reality and I am sure that in the future footpaths, along with green verges and front gardens, will have to be compromised to cope with the problem.

In the meantime we will have to behave sensibly and put up with the situation as it is.

Bryan Butler, Spennithorne

Vigilance call

THE latest IPPR/Opinium poll shows more than 60 per cent of the public support tighter regulation on vehicle fuel emissions and more than 70 per cent want more renewable energy.

In Ryedale, there are even greater levels of support to stop fracking and avoid tens of thousands of HGV journeys along its country roads. And as the generating costs of offshore wind farms plummet, we neither want nor need the burning of even more fossil fuels.

Permission to begin fracking at Kirby Misperton near Malton is awaiting inspection of the fracking company Third Energy's overdue account. Meanwhile, their contractors have started removing equipment from the site.

Third Energy's parent company is a secretive tax-avoider based in the Cayman Islands and directed by a Conservative party peer and donor with a non-executive role in the UK Treasury.

We must continue to be vigilant - the threat of fracking isn't over yet.

Peter Williams, Malton

Cancer lottery

I WAS alarmed to read a new report by the All Party Parliamentary Group on Breast Cancer, A Mixed Picture, which uncovered stark contrasts in the diagnosis, treatment and care of breast cancer patients across England.

This variation is unacceptable. Depending on where they live in England, some women are more than twice as likely to die from breast cancer under the age of 75.

Access to the best breast cancer services shouldn’t be dictated by where you live, so that’s why I have joined a new campaign by the charity Breast Cancer Now to end this postcode lottery.

I have emailed my local MP asking them to urgently contact our local Cancer Alliance to discuss how these issues can be addressed, to ensure that women throughout England receive the best possible treatment and care no matter where they live.

I would encourage others to join me and email their MP by visiting

Rita McMann, Stockton-on-Tees

Airport questions

DOES Durham Tees Valley Airport have a future? Am I right in thinking one of Flybe's Belfast flights' out of Newcastle also lands at the Isle of Man on the way? Do airlines in North America have a history of operating this way? Could we encourage other airlines to land flights at Durham Tees Valley Airport on the way to further places?

Flybe have an Aberdeen to City of London flight don't they? Could flights out of Cardiff, Dublin or Belfast going to Scandinavia or the Baltic states call at Durham Tees Valley on the way?

What public subsidies might this attract from the Welsh Assembly, the EU or the Northern Ireland Executive? Would it be proper for anyone at Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen's office to contact Flybe and ask for their advice?

Should flying from Durham Tees Valley to destinations like Newquay, City of London, City of Derry, Stansted, Gatwick, or Girona, all be explored if people cannot fly from Newcastle to these places?

Might Durham Tees Valley form partnerships with other smaller airports and tap into public subsidies to develop flights, calling at Durham Tees Valley to re-fuel as they go on their way further afield into Europe and back again using turbo prop planes? Would making Durham Tees Valley part of this tax-free port, that we hear so much about from Ben Houchen, help?

Nigel Boddy, Darlington

Airport cash

BEN Houchen is a light, shining through the Tees Valley fiscal gloom.

Ben has promised never to levy a council tax precept on his watch. And now, he’s prudently declared he will veto Labour’s plans to throw £500,000 of taxpayers’ money at the owners of Durham Tees Valley Airport, the Peel Group, a private major investment and property enterprise.

Ironically, Ben, a Conservative, plans to bring the airport back into public ownership, whilst the five Labour council leaders want to subsidise this private concern.

After what went on in Haringey, I wonder what Momentum and Jeremy Corbyn think about local Labour’s airport plans.

After all, didn’t the NEC recently instruct Haringey Council to ditch a proposed deal with a private property developer? Sounds familiar? Perhaps our local Tees Valley “socialist” leaders should check with HQ.

Durham Tees Valley has staggered from pillar to post for years. It is not grants of taxpayer’s money that will save it, but demand for its services.

Market forces will ultimately determine whether our airport takes off or is permanently grounded.

Cllr Steve Kay, Moorsholm

Second homes

Peter Annison tells us that there is a well-established precedent – shared equity – to enable young people to buy a property (D&S Times, Feb 23).

We know the affordable housing problem runs far beyond the Yorkshire Dales National Park: might he tell us whether the shared equity route is in wide spread use, and, if not, why?

Mervyn Wilmington, Harmby

Cancer challenge

I USED to be one of the four out of five women in the UK that can’t name bloating as a major symptom of ovarian cancer. Then my role model, the wonderful comedian Linda Smith, died from the disease.

Now as an Ambassador for Target Ovarian Cancer, I am calling for more awareness of the disease during Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month this March.

I want everyone to know the four symptoms – it could save lives: persistent bloating; feeling full; tummy pain; needing to wee more.

I’m asking your readers to join us to raise awareness and money to support Target Ovarian Cancer this March. Together we can make sure every woman knows the symptoms of ovarian cancer.

Join us at your workplace, school or community: Bake Some Noise with a cake sale or coffee morning, join us on March 9 for The Big Colour Clash by wearing your loudest outfit for a donation, or Challenge yourself to tell 50 people about the symptoms and raise £50.

We’ll send you everything you need for free – stickers, symptoms leaflets, badges and wristbands. Call 020 7923 5474 or visit

Susan Calman, Target Ovarian Cancer Ambassador