Road closure

I WISH to express my concern over the road closure between Northallerton Leisure Centre at Stonecross and Northallerton Rugby club on Brompton Road. We are approximately half way through a 14-week complete road closure.

We live on De Bruce Road in Brompton, and this closure means for instance, a two-mile journey to the train station becoming a four-mile journey when done by car. Due to the traffic congestion the journeys take considerably longer than twice the time.

The path that has been left unfenced for us to use to walk/cycle through the road closure is dangerously inadequate; it's a single-track pathway, so even if two pedestrians attempt to pass, one has to step onto the verge. It is also a cycle route – it is certainly not a safe cycle route given how narrow it is and also shared by pedestrians! I read with interest (D&S Times, Nov 23) North Yorkshire County Council stating "the arrangements for the road closure include safe routes for pedestrians and cyclists being provided".

This is certainly not the case, as the route for pedestrians/cyclists is not safe. I understand that they have completed the sign off as a desk exercise, and not actually visited to ensure the plans for pathway, and road diversion are actually suitable, and more importantly, safe.

My view, particularly on checking the actual progress of work in the compound, is that this does in no way need to be a complete road closure, most of the time if indeed any work is taking place, there are two to three men working on site, and we could quite easily have a single lane open.

I believe that the developers have taken extreme liberties and gone for an easy way of work, simply closing the whole thing rather than taking a tiny bit more effort and arranging segments of road to be closed allowing traffic-lighted single file access through at the very least.

Also, the impact on the little diversionary road is terrible – I bet that the planning at no stage considered the impact on that road, such as shared use cars/pedestrians, or impact on residents on that road?

I find it surprising and concerning that the only consultation the developers have to do is with the highways department; at no time for instance is the local council consulted.

I believe that we should threaten the developers with legal action. I'm sure that most of the villagers would support this wholeheartedly.

Mike Holtham, Brompton

Car parking

PARKING is becoming more and more of an issue in Northallerton. The station car park is always full with overspill into surrounding streets and staff from County Hall have little parking so the same streets have become clogged with their cars too.

For the past few years we have been forced to pay for permits to park outside our own homes. One permit for a designated car and an extra one for visitors to us. Both at £15 each annually.

My renewal notice for 2019 arrived on Saturday. The cost of a permit has gone up. Not only has it gone up it has doubled. No warning, consultation, no reasons given. Just a straight money grab. I wonder how the rest of your readers feel about this high handed approach from North Yorkshire County Council who don't appear to doing much to help with the cause of the problem, which in the main is not caused by residents.

Andrew Reid, Northallerton

Shopping trip

LAST Friday, while shopping in Northallerton, I tripped and fell onto the road at the junction of High Street and Zetland Street. I want to thank all those who quickly came to my rescue picking up me and all my bags and particularly the couple who then took me to the Friarage Hospital in their car.

I was, in fact, meeting someone in the restaurant there but when the young assistant saw my bleeding hand, she took me straight to A&E where I was speedily dealt with.

Subsequently, the same young lady spotted my sister and brought her to A&E plus a mug of tea for each of us.

The three medical staff were friendly, caring and efficient and I was on my way home within an hour of falling.

Falling in one's 80s can be serious but people's prompt action meant that, apart from a seriously lacerated hand and elbow, I have suffered no lasting effects.

Thank you NHS and the people of Northallerton.

Daphne Clarke, Richmond

Deerness Times

I TRULY enjoy reading the letters section of the Darlington & Stockton Times. As a one-time resident of County Durham, for years I thought the name of the paper was The Deerness Times because that was how my farming friends said its name!

I now know better. The views and opinions of contributors to the Comment & Opinion section always provide both amazement and amusement ranging from those who believe that any democratic vote should be re-run if it results in the decision they dislike (amazement) right up to those who try to assert that a certain word does not exist! (Amazement + amusement).

Even an ancient 1940s dictionary describes "fouling" as a transitive verb. On the other hand "fowling" is not an act performed by footballers, dogs and others (amusement).

I have no idea whether the numerous spelling errors were created by the authors or arose during the paper's assembly because both are possible. Sadly the errors have not been corrected! I must soon go Barbel fishing – my efforts to catch a Barble with my second-hand Barble rod were totally unsuccessful.

There, their, they're old man, calm down a bit.

Roger Kendall, Knaresborough

Mundane car park

THE artist’s impression of the new Treadmills site (D&S Times, Nov 23) is a travesty.

This is not the promised utopia of a new dynamic development that encompasses the history of the site, but a sketch of what is nothing more than a mundane car park with some desultory members of the public wandering amid characterless buildings surrounded by a few parked cars and empty parking spaces.

Where is the excitement, the trees, the beauty, the art, the history, the innovation, the cycle lanes?

A Essex-Cater, Northallerton

Motorcycle hazards

READING the piece about fewer deaths on North Yorkshire’s roads was encouraging until the last paragraph (D&S Times, Nov 23). Despite the best efforts of police and other organisations the rise in motorcyclist deaths is disheartening to say the least.

I have enjoyed motorcycling since getting my first bike at 17 and, although arthritis is an issue now, I still ride. I am what could be called in the biker community a bimbler and that’s how I have always been.

Even as a teenager motorcycling was never, for me, about speed. The North Yorkshire countryside is in my view as good as it gets for motorcycling but each year I am overtaken by or see riders approaching at excessive speed and at locations where it simply is not safe.

Most obviously escape the potential consequences, which is good, but sadly others do not. Motorcyclists face hazards that vehicle drivers may not and other road users can be the cause of an accident as we well know but speed on two wheels and the inability to react when it goes wrong is avoidable.

Phil Harnott, Richmond

Brexit letters

I SEE yet another letter about Brexit in your pages (Letters, Nov 23). When future historians look back on this sad episode, I think they will deplore a pointless act of self-destruction. Even more, I fear that they will blame our politicians and media for wasting years on this issue while ignoring much bigger and more urgent problems.

One of them is the destruction of our public services and the austerity borne on the shoulders of ordinary people. How could a wealthy country have food banks, homeless people, closed libraries, and closed wards in local hospitals?

And then there is the growing environmental crisis. In just the past few weeks we have heard that we must take drastic action on greenhouse gases to prevent catastrophic global warming; that we are in the middle of an anthropogenic extinction event; and air pollution causes 40,000 early deaths in the UK each year.

If your readers agree with me that these are urgent problems that need immediate action, they will be welcome to join me and other Green Party members at our next meeting at 7.30pm, on Wednesday, December 5, in the Buck Inn, Newbiggin, Richmond. Our discussion topic will be wealth.

John Yorke, Green party parliamentary candidate, Richmondshire

Apology for Brexit

TREVOR NICHOLSON'S apology for Brexit (Letters, Nov 23) consists of stating that he knows why he voted to leave the EU and that he does not wanted to be dictated to by "incompetent, corrupt and unelected has been politicians".

I do not think that those Northern MPs who are concerned for the future of their constituents are corrupt. That is their role. Nor am I corrupt and I challenge Mr Nicholson to prove otherwise.

If voters were not allowed to change their minds we would have a dictatorship. Perhaps Mr Nicholson would like to apologise.

Susan Latter, Scruton

People's Vote

TREVOR NICHOLSON (Letters, Nov 23) thinks that campaigning for a People’s Vote on the final Brexit deal is undemocratic. I know that there is more to democracy than elections – a free press and media that tell the truth, campaign financing and special-interest lobbying, and above all the distortions created by the first-past-the-post system – but surely voting is a pretty basic part of democracy?

He goes on to list what he thinks he and other Leavers were voting for. It remains to be seen whether the final deal includes some, all, or none of the items on his list. Surely he would welcome the chance to vote for the deal if it matches his expectations, or against the deal if it disappoints him. The People’s Vote is about taking back control of Brexit.

Dave Dalton, Richmond

Europhiles or realists?

TREVOR NICHOLSON (Letters, Nov 23) sounds like a typical “you lost, get over it, democracy!” Brexiteer.

In the two and a half years since the referendum all the assertions by the Leave campaign have been shown to be totally false:

“There will be no downside to Brexit, only a considerable upside,” David Davis, October 10, 2016.

“The day after we vote to leave, we hold all the cards and we can choose the path we want,” Michael Gove, April 9, 2016.

“Getting out of the EU can be quick and easy – the UK holds most of the cards,” John Redwood, July 17, 2016.

The £350m for the NHS on the bus and the shameful poster regarding Turkey's “accession” to the EU. I could go on.

The truth of the matter is that the vast majority of the population had no idea of the complexity involved, and even now most people are only just realising that there will be real consequences to any form of Brexit. There are now only two options for Brexit:

1.The Hard Brexit, much favoured by ultra Brexiteers like Rees-Mogg and Boris Johnson, is now largely acknowledged would be a catastrophe for the country – particularly for the motor manufacturing industry which is so important for employment in the North-East – but for all exporting companies.

2.The current Brexit as proposed by the government appears to make a free trade agreement with the EU possible but we would still have to follow current and future EU rules without having any say in how they are set. Hardly the promised “bring back control”.

Neither option is better than the one we currently have, which is to remain in the EU. But we did have an advisory referendum and the country did vote, marginally, to leave. So it seems entirely right that now we have a much clearer idea of what the options mean we have a second, “is this what you really want?” referendum – the so-called People's Vote.

After all, if you are buying a house and you agree an offer with the vendor but the survey reveals subsidence issues, would you go ahead regardless?

Of course, I acknowledge that another referendum would be divisive but the country is already divided by the first. If we leave the EU under either of the two options above, UK will be the first country in peacetime to voluntarily make itself poorer – and I don't think many people voted for that!

Ian Hobson, Scruton

Three choices

I AM weary of Brexit supporters like Trevor Nicholson (Letters, Nov 23) bleating that we had a referendum in 2016, and so there should never be another referendum on membership of the European Union.

By that logic we should not have had one in 2016, because the matter was settled in the 1970s. If it was democratic to allow the people of the United Kingdom to express their views 30 months ago, it is equally democratic to allow them to do so at the end of the negotiations. The British people have the right to change their minds, and particularly because the 2016 referendum was unsatisfactory in several ways.

Because it was enacted as an advisory referendum, there was insufficient consideration of the need for thresholds either for the percentage of people voting, or for a sufficient majority in favour of either course of action.

Had the referendum been a binding one, like the 2011 one on voting systems, then there would have been a need to consider properly thresholds on such a major issue. In May 2016. Nigel Farage recognised the need for a substantial majority to decide matters, saying in an interview. “In a 52-48 referendum this would be unfinished business by a long way. If the remain campaign win 2/3 to 1/3 that ends it.”

Furthermore, it is now evident that psychological warfare dirty tricks were employed via social media. Likewise, fines have been issued and a police investigation is under way, because campaigners broke the spending rules.

Under the British constitution, the monarch in Parliament is sovereign, not the people. But it is evident that Parliament is split, and it appears there is no majority for Mrs May’s deal, nor for a no deal Brexit. It is also evident that we know far more now about the likely result of leaving the European Union. Despite leading Brexiteers overseeing the negotiations and the Foreign Office, it has not been the promised “easiest deal negotiation ever”, and it appears there is no prospect of achieving a “have your cake and eat it.” Brexit.

So, I believe that there is a case for a third referendum, or Peoples Vote, to settle the matter. It should offer a choice between a no deal Brexit, the deal available, and remaining in the EU. Further, it should not be a question of voting for one of those alternatives, but an opportunity for people to express their first, second and third preference. That would be a truly democratic exercise.

Brian Hazeldine, Northallerton