SO it’s official. As reported elsewhere in today’s Darlington and Stockton Times, Hambleton has been recognised as one of the best places to live in the country.

That will come as no surprise to those who already make their home in the district’s green and pleasant land - and soon there will be even more of them.

Work is finally getting underway on the much-trumpeted North Northallerton scheme, which will eventually create around 1,000 new homes, and progress is well advanced on the Sowerby Gateway project, which is providing a similar number in the Thirsk area.

On top of those huge schemes there are also several major projects on the cards for the Stokesley and Leeming areas.

All are laudably providing much-needed homes for local people and incomers as well as work for the district, Spectator is sure, but one has to hope that the character of our towns and villages aren’t adversely affected by the building bonanza. Only time will tell.

Spectator hears that good news is on the way for those who enjoy quaffing a foaming pint of real ale – particularly if they are train buffs too.

The WensleyAle Festival will be back for the third time from May 26 to 29, courtesy of the Wensleydale Railway and organisers are promising it will be the biggest and best yet..

Passengers will be offered splendid views of the Yorkshire Dales as they journey from Leeming Bar to Redmire Station, and will then enjoy the real ale and live music on offer in a marquee with spectacular views overlooking Pen Hill.

What a wonderful way to welcome the summer.