Area committees

SOME years ago I was made aware that the Bainbridge Ambulance Station was occasionally not being staffed overnight by those at the Yorkshire Ambulance Service (YAS) who determine the rota. We rely in the Upper Dales on the immediate response and first class care provided its front line emergency ambulance staff, being 60 miles from the life-saving James Cook University Hospital.

An old-style NYCC Area Committee was due in Hawes so I raised my concerns and 50 local people arrived to make clear their deep anxiety to the director from YAS who attended to address them.

He promised the overnight rota for Bainbridge would always be filled in the future and I think it has been ever since.

This is an Area Committee working brilliantly as it should by providing a forum for local people to resolve local issues in front of local county councillors who fully understand them.

Under the new-style politically motivated NYCC Area Constituency Committees a meeting will not take place in Hawes, apparently considered too remote, and a member cannot put an item on the Agenda as I did about Bainbridge.

I wonder how an issue of such concern in the Upper Dales can be resolved so satisfactorily if the meetings are only going to be held in Stokesley or Northallerton, both close to hospitals that serve them well, in the absence of an audience denied by distance of coming to make their anxiety known?

Your two correspondents (D&S Times letters, Sept 7 & 14) appeared to foam at the mouth about my decision to only attend these new Area Committees when there is an item of direct relevance to the Upper Dales. Perhaps they might be in a better position to understand why now.

They give a glowing testimonial for Malcolm Warne as your ex-editor but your newspaper adopts a policy of editorial independence. Mr Warne is now being paid by the local Conservative MP and as such he can come along to every Area Committee to speak from the audience, but to make him a member of the committee confers an aura of neutrality his motivation for being there makes it impossible for him to deliver.

When all eight Independents at County Hall suggested there were politics afoot about the new Committees, Conservatives said no and told us to wait and see. Well it did not take long, did it?

County Councillor John Blackie, Independent, Hawes

Well worthwhile

I WAS one of many people of, how can I say, more mature years who attended the Older Persons' Fair held at the Golden Lion Hotel in Northallerton which I understand was organised by our local MP Rishi Sunak.

Can I say what a very worthwhile and rewarding event it was. Every organisation which had something to offer people like me who are either retired or approaching retirement seemed to be represented.

I picked up a lot of useful information and bumped into a very old friend as well which was something of an unexpected bonus. The refreshments were very welcome as we caught up with each other's lives.

Can I thank Mr Sunak for organising this. I would imagine this is not part of his normal duties as MP but it was very appreciated by me and a few other people I know who managed to get along.

Jane Saunders, Romanby

Housing reform

THERE are moments when an idea comes of age and chimes with the times. I think that we are approaching one such moment.

In the spring the D&S published several letters about the so-called viability rule which makes it all too easy for the big house builders to retract from commitments to provide agreed numbers of affordable homes in developments such as Sowerby Gateway and North Northallerton.

The rule allows the builder to cut back on affordably priced homes if the profit on the development is projected to fall below 20 per cent.

As a result neither the Sowerby Gateway development nor the North Northallerton scheme will provide anywhere near the 40 per cent target of affordable homes that is Hambleton District Council’s aim.

It is good to learn from the Labour conference that a Labour Government will remove the viability loophole and consider a range of wider reforms to overhaul the system, giving councils powers to claw back greater than expected profits where developments don’t include the required amount of affordable housing and appointing a team of independent viability experts to back up councils who are in negotiations with developers over affordable housing.

What is there not to like in such a reform?

Trevor Mitchell, Osmotherley

Bus parking

I NOTE with interest in the Leyburn Town Council report of its meeting on September 17, 2018 the issue of parking in Leyburn by the Little White Bus was discussed again as “The Little White Bus obstructing parking was raised”.

Whilst there is no mention as to what was actually discussed at the meeting I presume that there have been further complaints regarding this issue. I myself have been harassed a couple of times when parking the bus in the evening.

As a Leyburn resident and a volunteer driver for the Little White Bus I find these comments to be very unfortunate in light of the good work that is carried out by all involved in the running of this highly valued local service.

The majority of drivers are residents of Leyburn, with others living in Hawes, and they give up their valuable free time as volunteers to provide a bus service for residents of Wensleydale and its tourists in order that they can carry out simple tasks such as shopping, doctor’s appointments, visiting the excellent Leyburn market.

Without this service many elderly residents would not be able to get around the Dale and enjoy a social life.

In this light I feel compelled to write to your newspaper to express my views. When all is said and done we as drivers feel we are giving up our time to support a great cause and help our local community.

Businesses in Leyburn benefit as we bring their customers to their front door and take them home afterwards.

A full day’s driving can last 11 hours and at the end of this long stint it would be nice to return to Leyburn and park the bus in the knowledge we are being supported by its town council and local residents and businesses alike.

I wonder if it would be possible to have a space marked out, perhaps behind the police vehicles, for the bus to be parked?

This would only need to be available between 6pm and 8am, Monday to Saturday and then all day Sunday.

This may alleviate any further concerns from local residents and the town council about where the bus is parked overnight. The bus is parked near the police station for security reasons.

I hope my suggestion will be given consideration by Leyburn Town Council.

Diana Allen, Leyburn

Unplanned growth

GROW with Hambleton. Or so the sign says when you reach the council boundary on that most scenic of roads, Scorton to Northallerton.

However, whatever you do don't die if you live in Romanby seems to be the message conveyed by the front page article (D&S Times, Sept 21).

Surely this is precisely the problem, unplanned for, unrestricted growth that has crippled the town and destroyed so much of what was precious to it?

Traffic congestion from early morning until the early evening leading to toxic fumes that impacts negatively on the health of the most vulnerable, particularly infants.

A gridlocked high street making shopping a battlefield rather than what it once was, a pleasant experience.

Queues at doctors' surgeries, a two hour wait in A&E on a Saturday evening if you fall ill whilst the overstretched, underfunded, superb Friarage staff deal with a large contingent of drunks (this happened to one of our local tradesmen recently).

And a school blog where the principal bravely outlines the strategies for recovery accompanied by an assistant who looks like a frightened rabbit caught in the headlights!

Phil O'Brien, Northallerton

Read in full

I HAVE no problem with people disagreeing with my point of view, however I would have appreciated it if my correspondents Richard Bradshaw and Terence Fleming (D&S Times, Sept 28) were to read my arguments fully and properly.

Firstly, I never once stated that my old form tutor cycled to school, merely that he abstained from driving. He actually used to use the bus to reach his place of work.

My form tutor and I actually got along very well and he, unlike some, had respect for other people's opinions and disagreed with my viewpoint with dignity.

Let's be frank, the D&S Times letters page is a bit of fun – but these correspondents obviously don't understand that concept.

Mr Bradshaw also seems very eager to point out that an overwhelming majority of scientists tell us man-made global warming exists, the tone of his letter suggests that I must therefore keep my opinions to myself.

I'd like to remind him that at different points in history, an overwhelming majority of scientists once told us that the Earth was flat. Long live free speech.

Mr Fleming also attempts to portray me as someone who is unconcerned about the scourge of plastic pollution bringing harm to innocent sea creatures. I hope your readers don't typecast me as someone who is unconcerned for animal welfare, that is a gross insult to all my beliefs.

My letter spoke specifically of so-called man-made global warming, which as far as I'm concerned is merely a cheap excuse used by second-rate politicians in order to justify raising road taxes and excessive fuel duty.

However, I am glad I'm not perched on the same moral high-horse as them. It looks very dizzying all the way up there.

Joseph Lambert, East Cowton

Sincere thanks

MAY I express my thanks to the helpful people of Northallerton, Bedale and all areas around.

My sight is poor, I carry a white stick – I am enabled to be independent by being told when it is safe to cross roads and motorists also help, where buses are going, the colour of milk bottle tops, help with shopping and so many other acts of kindness.

I hope my attempts to say ‘thank you’ are recognised.

You are a wonderful crowd of people.

Name and address supplied