Road closure

THE last two monthly meetings of Brompton Town Council have been extremely well attended by residents concerned about the effects of the current road closure and diversion route that has come into operation whilst the new T Junction is being constructed in connection with North Northallerton housing development near the Civic Centre.

The council is extremely concerned that the developer failed to consult the council about its intentions regarding the road closure and diversion, and that North Yorkshire County Highways did not check to ensure that this consultation had taken place.

What is more surprising is that no safety audit was carried out prior to the diversion route being decided on. Instead of accessing Brompton direct from Northallerton Road by turning left at Stone Cross, traffic now has to proceed along the A684 and turn left at Lead Lane.

Lead Lane, Brompton is exactly that – a narrow country lane, sparsely lit with no footpath and overgrown hedges and a weight restriction.

NY Highways have admitted that the diversion route was planned as a desk exercise and have explained that they are not responsible for hedge cutting. However, a simple walk along the route would have revealed its unsuitability.

There has been an enormous increase in traffic along Lead Lane over the past three weeks including not only cars but HGVs, large agricultural vehicles and buses. NY Highways have refused to introduce lower speed limits, regardless of the fact that Lead Lane is also negotiated by pedestrians who do not have any footpaths to walk along.

They have also refused to implement temporary one-way traffic priority signals, or to increase the gritting frequency during winter of what is a steep hill. At this time of year motorists travelling east also have the low-lying sun to content with.

Two new roundabouts for the new development have been constructed on both Darlington Road and Stokesley Road without any need for road closures and it seems to residents of Brompton that the current lengthy diversion (until the end of January if we are lucky) has been orchestrated purely for the convenience of the developer.

Residents living in half of the village have been left with no public bus service on four days of the week and on two days there is a bus it is a very limited service. This results in villagers having to pay for taxis to get into Northallerton for the hospital, doctors or shopping.

All this comes on top of having been promised by our District Council that there would be a noticeable percentage of affordable housing in the development but the actual result is that with the current phase there will be none at all.

For Brompton on all fronts this is an unsatisfactory situation all round – both from highway safety aspects and from the distinct lack of any affordable housing.

Barry Martin, chairman of Brompton Town Council

Courts lost

ALMOST 25 years ago I was appointed as a magistrate in North Yorkshire. In those days the Hambleton and Richmondshire area had courts at Bedale, Easingwold, Northallerton, Richmond, Stokesley and Thirsk. Now there’s just one court at Northallerton serving an area of more than 26,000 square kilometres with a population of 140,000 people.

Northallerton was fairly busy when I retired about four years ago, but it too is scheduled to close by next September, allegedly through lack of workload. This is a misnomer, the reduction in workload is due to police and Crown Prosecution Service and other prosecution authorities not wanting to go there. It’s easier to staff Harrogate and York courts.

I have a recent and personal painful experience as an example of this “can’t be bothered attitude of North Yorkshire Police. In early October an appalling driver vehicle knocked me off a bicycle near Kirklington. Emergency services took me to James Cook Hospital in Middlesbrough, where I was kept in overnight. Broken ribs, damaged shoulder, long-term prognosis unknown, several hundred pounds worth of damage to the bicycle. A local police officer based in Bedale attended, and later wasted her time visiting me at home for a statement, allegedly wasted more time visiting the driver for a statement - but I now receive a letter from the police prosecution team saying they aren’t going to prosecute, despite the driver admitting liability.

The sentencing guidelines clearly state that personal injury is an aggravating factor in cases of careless driving and yet the police prefer to use some ridiculous driver awareness course as a means of saving any work.

These courses achieve nothing - look at the number of people you know that have attended several, especially speed awareness courses.

I may be cynical, but had this gone through a fair and impartial judicial system and the driver received about six penalty points and a few hundred pounds fine/costs the police would have received none of this, because fines go into central government. By offering this incompetent driver a course he pays about a hundred pounds of which the police get a portion.

No points on his licence, which doesn’t reflect on his future insurance. Would it have been looked at differently had I been dead or seriously maimed for life? I doubt it.

P.A.Sherwood, Thirsk

Prison site

IN your report about plans for the Northallerton prison site (D&S, 16 November) you report the leader of Hambleton council as saying “Should the development be passed …”.

Of course it will be passed – Hambleton council will be applying for planning consent to themselves!

David Severs, Northallerton

Pothole plea

LET’S hope that some of the £14m allocated towards pothole repairs in North Yorkshire (D&S Times, Nov 16) actually gets spent on local roads for local tax and rate paying residents and not on routes used by the ever growing groups of cyclists who only visit for a few days a year and allegedly bring fortunes to the area.

I suggest these events should be held out of the main tourist season. They always appear to be held over Bank Holidays when any half decent business is busy anyway.

Steve Beaumont, Wensley

Poor standard

I REFER to your report that North Yorkshire County Council has received £14m to repair potholes (D&S Times, Nov 16). Whilst travelling in England and Wales in recent months it is evident that North Yorkshire roads are probably the worst in the country and when entering the county on any road from the west the poor condition of the road is immediately evident.

When I walk or cycle on the roads near where I live it is clear that a substantial majority of the potholes are in areas that have previously been so called repaired which indicates that the work done was of a poor standard. Also small ones are not repaired but left to grow bigger and ultimately more costly.

If the same policy is adhered to it is clear that the money when spent will be wasted and have no longer term effect.

It could be better spent in other areas where there is desperate need.

Councillor Don Mackenzie, the responsible person for highways needs to carry out a detailed review of council policy and its contractors before the money is spent or it will be wasted as it is now. I suggest that he starts by consulting with his opposite number in Norfolk, another fairly large rural county where the roads are excellent in comparison with ours.

It is too easy to keep repeating the excuse that North Yorkshire is a large county. He could also ask each councillor to give him a priority list for their own area and work on those first so that the benefit of the new money is shared out fairly. I'm sure our councillor would have the few hundred yards from the A61 to Melmerby Industrial Estate near the top of her list. It has to be seen to be believed - it was 'repaired' and transformed from scores of potholes into scores of humps.

David Law, Melmerby

Poppy funds

THE Royal British Legion 100 Voices concert at Tennants on October 28 raised £3,816.

I would like to extend my thanks to all who contributed to this magnificent amount, especially Tennants for hosting the event, Leyburn Band and all the other performers.

A special mention is due to Paul Sowden the MC and Diana Hartley for her organisational skills in bringing it all together.

David Halliday, chairman Royal British Legion, Leyburn & District

Community thanks

I WOULD just like to thank all those towns and villages whose displays of poppies and exhibitions of war memorabilia were a fantastic sight to behold.

The knitting needles and crochet sticks must have been on fire for the amount of poppies produced. The men and women who gave their lives so that we could live in peace would feel so proud. A tribute to all those involved who made Armistice Day a day to remember.

D R Lawton, West Rounton

Local paper

"COUNTY DURHAM edition serving Darlington, Barnard Castle and the Dales" is highly visible on the front page below the D&S Times’ title. How disappointing therefore to go to pages 63-67 ("A fitting tribute, How the fallen were remembered") in November 16th's edition and find no coverage at all of Barnard Castle's events, which took place throughout the day.

It commenced with the annual church service and parade to the cenotaph in the grounds of the Bowes Museum and culminated in the lighting of a beacon near the Castle gates, the Town Crier's "Cry for Peace" - a nationally co-ordinated tribute - and a requiem concert at the Witham in the evening.

Quite how Redcar and Guisborough qualify for such an edition at the expense of 'Barney' is puzzling.

Ian Kirkbride, Barnard Castle Town Council

Hospital services

I WISH to make you aware of our support for the retaining of all possible services at the Richardson Hospital in Barnard Castle.

The services offered here are vital in such a rural area as this, with limited public transport, which can make travelling to alternative facilities at Bishop Auckland or Darlington Memorial very difficult, costly and time consuming, particularly for the frail and elderly.

It seems that some clinics are being reduced in frequency such as audiology which is now being held only once a month. Others are reportedly being underused.

This may be because potential patients are unaware that they are available, because staff answering phones to people requesting appointments do not offer the Richardson Hospital. This includes those manning the 111 phone lines.

There appears to be a covert policy of actively side-lining these facilities by making information, and therefore access, as difficult as possible.

It also seems strange that Lowson Ward has been closed for such a long time. It could surely offer an alternative place of care for so-called bed blockers or even an excellent facility for end of life care.

These services, and also convalescent care, are very necessary for patients in their local area, where visits from family and friends can be more easily accomplished thus keeping patients in touch with their communities.

L Wake, Bowes

Missing raptors

I HAVE recently read of incidents concerning tagged hen harriers and other raptors going missing in upland areas.

Whilst this is heart-breaking to hear, very little mention is given about the hundreds of brown hares that are being systematically slaughtered by criminals trespassing on farmland in North Yorkshire and South Durham.

I am writing in a vain attempt to inform our urban population about what is actually happening in rural areas.

Please, if you spot this happening, ring 999 and give an approximate location to the police.

Paul Chapman, Catterick Village

Funeral parlour

FOR reasons best known to themselves, Richmondshire District Council has agreed to a change of use for a former newsagents in the market place to a funeral parlour.

Well, I am sure this will encourage visitors to the town; indeed some will be dying to go in.

Perhaps they sanctioned it so that Richmond could bask in a monumental pun. Two shops, contiguous to one another: to the left, The Weigh In – to the right, wait for it – The Way Out?

Ha, I could die laughing but I wouldn’t be seen dead in there I can tell you.

And, whilst I have pen to paper, may I make an appeal to whoever is daubing our pavements here in Richmond with orange stencils to find a dictionary. There is no such word as fouling.

Rodney Hall, Richmond