Children’s home

FURTHER to the recent article relating to Red Plains (D&S Times Cleveland, Sept 7), it should be noted that we are not a campaign group but a number of residents who have been badly affected by the actions of some of the young people who have resided at Red Plains since its opening in March 2015.

It is unfortunate that the managing director of Spark of Genius chose not to acknowledge the serious problems that the residents living in close proximity to the home have encountered since its opening and how it has affected their lives.

It is acknowledged that there was opposition to the home due to its very close proximity to neighbouring properties. Residents expressed their concerns about the possible increase in anti-social behaviour but were told by the managing director on many occasions that they “wished to be good neighbours” and “we would not know they are there”.

Unfortunately, our concerns became reality with many residents experiencing anti-social behaviour, nuisance, intimidation, harassment, vandalism, criminal damage, disturbance and throwing objects in residents gardens with the police attending on numerous occasions.

As a result of the disturbances the family living next door with two young children felt compelled to swap homes with their parents (who had lived in their home for 23 years) in order to protect their two young children from the disturbances. Unfortunately, this shocking behaviour continued after the move.

We are delighted that the home has received an outstanding Ofsted inspection something the new manager set out to achieve from the outset.

We must not forget the immense contribution of Cleveland Police who have played an integral part in this, supporting the residents during what has been an incredibly difficult and stressful time but their numerous visits to Red Plains as well.

Hartburn Residents Group

Grouse shooting

WILDLIFE biodiversity has been hit hard by grouse shooting on Yorkshire Water moorland, with native animals – including stoats, weasels, foxes and mountain hares – trapped and shot to preserve game birds for the guns. Rare peatland habitat has also been burnt, leaving it unable to support specialist breeding birds and seeing vast quantities of carbon released into the atmosphere.

Thankfully, an increasing number of moorland owners have ended grouse shooting on their upland estates and maintained picturesque heather coverage to boot. These conservation successes play host to an abundance of species between them – including hen harrier, curlew, ring ouzel and merlin – setting successful precedents for Yorkshire Water to follow.

If Yorkshire Water wants to be recognised as taking its environmental responsibilities seriously, then ending its grouse shooting leases is the only course of action which will suffice. By removing the negative impact allowing the practice has on wildlife, habitat and the regional economy, the company will truly become the environmental champion it espouses to be.

Luke Steele, Ban Bloodsports on Yorkshire’s Moors

Shoot benefits

YOUR article “Campaigners urge Yorkshire Water to stop grouse shooting on its land” (D&S Times, Aug 31) highlighting campaign activity urging Yorkshire Water to halt leases to shooting estates failed to mention the enormous and varied benefits of grouse shooting.

Not only does grouse shooting support rural communities, businesses, families and schools, but grouse moors are also vital for peatlands which provide 70 per cent of England’s drinking water.

Grouse moor managers work incredibly closely with Yorkshire Water to ensure best practice across a raft of activities on important water catchment land and are proud of providing the best quality drinking water possible to towns and cities. On Yorkshire Water land we collaborate with partners from some of the country’s leading conservation organisations including Yorkshire Peat Partnership and Moors For The Future Partnership, on innovative measures aimed at restoring peat soil to retain water in the uplands, such as blocking of historical agricultural drainage ditches to wet the peat and building resilience while inoculating the moors with special mosses to keep water in the hills and reduce the chances of flooding downstream.

Far from the peatland habitat being degraded as suggested by campaigners, our moorland managers are in fact helping to create healthy peatland which plays an essential role in water quality, flood and wildfire mitigation and carbon capture. This management also creates an ideal environment for a variety of fauna and flora to flourish, notably endangered ground nesting birds.

Globally threatened species such as curlews, lapwings, buzzards, short-eared owls have all been thriving on land managed for grouse shooting, with over 60 per cent of this year’s hen harrier chicks fledging from land managed for grouse shooting.

Amanda Anderson, director, Moorland Association

New treasurer

I AM delighted to be able to inform readers and members that, thanks to the excellent and timely article in this newspaper (D&S Times, April 20), the Yoredale Natural History Society has found a new treasurer.

The society has now had a successful summer of interesting walks and site visits and starts its winter programme on Friday, September 28 with a talk on Hen Harriers by RSPB Project Officer, Aimee Nicholson.

Visitors and new members will, as ever, be welcome to the meeting at Leyburn Methodist Hall at 7.30pm.

Thank you for publicising our plight.

Deborah Millward, chairman

Georgian history

FURTHER to Mr Wilson's letter (D&S Times, Sept 7) I just wish to clarify that I have had no involvement in the art trail process and nor could I name a councillor.

I, along with many just like what has been created. Having been involved early on with the inaugural Bedale museum, I also have an appreciation and understanding of Bedale's Georgian, and significantly pre-Georgian architecture. I watch with interest to see progress based on arguments posed, to the very un-Georgian location and installation of Christmas tree and lights.

Phil Wright, Thornborough

Village farms

I WAS upset to read the headline “Farms should no longer be located in villages" (D&S Times, Sept 7).I was also disappointed that it was a councillor who had made the comment.

I don’t know anything about Barton village and its plans for the future, but I know that around us villages grew around the farms and farming communities. They have lived hand in hand for generations.

If you don’t like country life then stay in the town, don’t try and sanitise everything. The countryside is diverse and should remain so.

All of our towns have become copies of each other, the same shops, the same cafes – don’t do the same to the villages and turn them into lifeless shells where no-one knows their neighbours or cares what is happening around them. Live and let live.

Sheila Ashby, Boltby

Low-carbon economy

RECENT extreme weather events in this country and around the world are further evidence that global warming is happening, with disastrous consequences. The government’s response has been boneheaded. They have removed incentives to install solar panels, a proven low-carbon technology; and taken decisions about fracking away from local authorities, to expedite the dangerous production of more fossil fuel which should be left in the ground.

Nearer home, the review of the Richmondshire District Council Local Plan provides an opportunity to adopt more sensible policies. The consultation period for the plan has already started, raising a lot of important issues.

For instance, should we encourage walking, cycling, and public transport, as opposed to car use? Should there be a wider range of housing tenures, including affordable/social housing? Should there be increased renewable electricity and heat capacity, and reduced carbon emissions?

For the record, the Green Party’s answers to these questions are Yes, Yes, and Yes. Despite the erosion of local government powers by the present government, there is still a lot that Richmondshire could do to move towards a low-carbon economy.

The consultation period extends to October 31. You can see the plan, and have your say, at There are also the following drop-in sessions, all 3-7pm: Thornborough Hall, Leyburn, September 27; Richmond Town Hall, October 1;

Gilling West Village Hall, October 4; Colburn Village Hall, October 5.

Whether online, or in person, I urge your readers to have their say on the Local Plan.

John Yorke, Green Party parliamentary candidate for Richmond

Political points

I HEARTILY agree with Edward Harden's assessment (D&S Times, Sept 7) of the behaviour of two of our county councillors.

As a former resident of Richmond who once voted for Cllr Stuart Parsons, I am particularly unimpressed by his decision (along with his colleague Cllr Blackie) to boycott the new local area committees simply to make a political point.

We do not vote for people to represent us who then decide not to take part in that part of the democratic process they find not to their liking. That is not effective representation of our interests.

I wonder whether the two councillors who have decided they are not going to take part in this aspect of the county councillors' work will decide to return part of their councillor's allowance? If they are not going to do part of the work why should we be paying for their absence?

If they want to be seen to be acting on principle, might this not be the honourable thing to do?

Bethany Morris, Tanton, Stokesley

Air quality

I READ with interest the article (D&S Times, Sept 7) about Hambleton District Council’s Air Quality Control Plan that has been approved in an effort to tackle high levels of nitrogen dioxide on Bridge Street in Bedale.

Councillor John Noone was quoted as saying that "the bypass has been a game changer", and stating that he thought "the air quality in Bridge Street is as good if not better there than anywhere else in Hambleton".

That is obviously great news for Bedale. However, Cllr Noone’s statement will certainly be illustrated in Newby Wiske if the planning application by PGL for a children’s activity centre at Newby Wiske Hall is approved, with numerous diesel-fuelled coaches per day arriving at, and departing from, the PGL site.

The air quality in this village will certainly be considerably poorer than Bridge Street, Bedale as a direct result.

I suppose, as long as Bedale has better air quality, it doesn’t matter about the rest of Hambleton district.

Carol Bowe, Newby Wiske

Exemplary care

HOW sad that Brenda Jackson considers having to use James Cook University Hospital as a "nightmare" (D&S Times, Sept 7) when compared to the Friarage.

For the past five years my husband and I have received exemplary care and attention for minor and major surgery at this hospital.

The treatment at the Friarage has been equally as good.

We are very lucky to live so close to such excellent facilities.

Margaret King, Nunthorpe, Middlesbrough

Market place

IN July the bottom of Richmond market place was dug up. Good we all thought – they are going to sort out the water leaking from between the tarmac and the cobbles which has been running for approximately two years.

No, the cobbles were replaced and still the water ran. I confronted a councillor about it and was told it was not a leak but an underground stream.

I have lived here for about 40 years and the water has not been running all that time. So if it is an under ground stream, either someone has dug too deep in the past when replacing cobbles or a stream has been diverted from elsewhere.

I was surprised when in the market place at the week end to see notices outside Barclays Bank that five days of work is to be carried out there.

If the problem is now to be addressed why was it not been done when the cobbles were up in July? This is our money they are wasting.

If other work is being carried out then money is still being wasted as the problem will only get worse with the winter ice. If this happens all over the county that is one of the reasons councils plead poverty and the rates go up.

Lynne Kemp, Richmond