County Town

I AM always surprised by Northallerton's sense of entitlement – a view that simply because it is the County Town it has a right to services and facilities that other communities don't necessarily enjoy.

The most recent manifestation of this was your front page report last week "Town given six weeks to save its last Post Office" (D&S Times, Jan 25) which was in itself misleading. There is no risk to the Post Office service, it is simply moving down the High Street.

The mayor of Northallerton, Cllr John Forrest, is no doubt well intentioned but to describe the move as "another nail in the coffin" for Northallerton is just absurd. Such an alarmist claim does the town he purports to champion no favours.

This pointless wailing and gnashing of teeth in the face of changes we might not like but over which we have little control serves little purpose.

We should focus on making sure that the Post Office and WH Smith deliver at least an equivalent if not better service. Our MP seems to sorted out the hours (according to your report an extra nine-and-half hours including Saturday afternoons and Sundays).

The key issue now is the quality of access.

As I said in my letter back in October, the current store layout is a nightmare but it would not take much to make it better.

Use the consultation process launched by the Post Office to make sure they know what a mess the current store is and what needs to be done to make it suitable, namely widen the aisles by clearing out some of the poorly-placed displays.

Provided these matters are sorted out – and they are important – we will have Post Office more centrally located in the High Street with longer opening hours and retain a branch of WH Smith which might otherwise be under threat.

Yes, the current Post Office premises (which are frankly not brilliant, especially for the disabled) will be empty but they would lend themselves to other non-retail uses – such as a decent restaurant which the town really could do with.

Jane Saunders, Romanby

Council cuts

THE leader of North Yorkshire County Council, Cllr Carl Les, met the Chief Secretary to the Treasury, Liz Truss, last week when he was set to tell her that the authority’s financial position is “uncertain and difficult” (D&S Times, Jan 25).

This is the same Liz Truss who has insisted the Government is “not making cuts to local authorities”. But the council has already made savings of £157.4m since 2011 and needs to save a further £40.3m over the next three years. This would see the council’s spending power reduce by 40 per cent, or as most people except Liz Truss call it, a cut of 40 per cent.

The Treasury Secretary was clearly not being straight about the cuts to council budgets, and it is time to take a stand against those in public office who run roughshod over the truth.

The National Audit Office has stated that local government has seen a real-term cut in funding of 49.1 per cent from 2010/11 to 2017/18. That is the truth, and councils in the North of England have been hit disproportionately hard.

Council officers report that there is now insufficient funding to meet rising demand for a range of adult and social care services. This is the reality of a Tory government. Shame on them.

Philip Wicks, Richmond Liberal Democrats

Not the chief

THE first words of your report about the police, fire and crime commissioner Julia Mulligan’s recent revelation (D&S Times, Jan 25) read "The chief of North Yorkshire’s police" and its heading read ‘Police boss’ pledge’ [sic].

The commissioner is not the chief of North Yorkshire Police nor is she its boss. As I have pointed out in your columns before, she has responsibilities for financing the police and setting policy but she does not run the force. The leader of the men and women in the force is the chief constable, Lisa Winward. She is the chief and she is the boss.

The commissioner may like to think she runs the force and she may give that impression, but the responsibility for actual policing of the county still rests with the chief constable.

The proper relationship between a PCC and a chief constable is to be seen in the Durham Constabulary, an excellent force far removed from the shambles we have in North Yorkshire.

Part of the problem could be that the chief constable seems to keep such a low profile. In all the circumstances that is perhaps understandable. I would have said I had read little of her since her appointment but I was pleased to see the final paragraph of your report actually mentioned her.

When the misguided introduction of police and crime commissioners is reversed and the office done away with, as it surely will given all the criticism locally and elsewhere, the office of chief constable will endure.

You should not encourage the PFCC in her delusions of grandeur and you should desist from describing her as the chief or boss. She is only the police, fire and crime commissioner.

If I am wrong about this then why did you give the last letter on your letters page, a letter about the resignation of Cleveland’s chief constable, the heading "Police chief’’? You cannot have it both ways.

David Severs, Northallerton


IN reply to your correspondent Chris Green, who wrote about noisy fellow coffee-shop users (D&S Times letters, Jan 25) – humans are gregarious. We are fortunate to live in a free society where we can meet together to exchange views on all subjects.

Did your correspondent enquire of the chatty groups if any of them lived alone? Meeting together for a coffee and a chat is a good way to beat loneliness for many and gives them a reason to go out of the house.

Social interaction is beneficial for mental health, gives value to the individual and promotes social cohesion. This is something to be celebrated.

However, if your correspondent had felt uncomfortable in the coffee shop because of loud pop music I would be in agreement. My complaint is that far too many bars, restaurants, cafes, shops, waiting rooms in doctor and dentist surgeries, all play loud pop music which is unnecessary.

If others agree with this then join the petitions of Pipedown which campaigns for freedom from piped music.

Marion Moverley, Richmond


I THINK the amount of stick Cleveland Police and Crime Commissioner Barry Coppinger has taken in the media recently is unjustified. I’ve known Barry for many years on the local political scene and I can say, unequivocally, that Cleveland’s PCC is extremely hardworking – an honest broker, full of integrity.

Although they belong to opposing parties, Barry’s record is like that of Theresa May, tarnished by circumstances beyond his control. Barry and Theresa are constants, like rocks in stormy seas; as others come and go, they take all the brickbats.

Having met Mike Veale several times, I’m sure that, like Barry, I would have wanted him for Chief Constable. Putting aside the unclear allegations against Mike, he had the ideas and drive to make Cleveland Police a force to be reckoned with. From an operational point of view, it’s a tragedy we’ve lost him.

Sometimes, apparent failure is the mother of success and Theresa could yet go down in history as the heroine of Brexit. Likewise, if Cleveland Police avoids the chop, Barry could emerge its saviour.

Steve Kay, Independent Redcar and Cleveland councillor

Grow up

THE ongoing spat between Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen and Labour supporter Barry Coppinger the Police and Crime Commissioner for Cleveland has to stop in the interest of all parties.

If Mayor Houchen wants to close down Cleveland Police then go about it the correct way, talk to the Home Secretary and put forward a case, as Middlesbrough South MP Simon Clarke is doing.

Both sides seem to have forgotten the fact that an entire police service is having to pay the price of the row and the name calling that is going on. Men and women trying to serve the people of Cleveland do not need two grown ups behaving like children.

It must be remembered that the matter in question has nothing to do with whether or not Cleveland Police service is fit for purpose, it has to do with one man, the former Chief Constable Mike Veale who is alleged to have committed some form of misconduct.

Both sides have some element of right, but washing one's dirty washing in public is not the actions of grown men, each trying to score political points over each other.

If the voting public are unhappy with Commissioner Coppinger then in 2020 use your vote to get rid of him, in the same way when Mayor Houchen comes up for re-election cast your vote as you see fit.

In the meantime, very hard-working police officers and support staff still have to go to work and do what each is paid to do – protect the public.

John Merry, Darlington.

Foul language

I REFER to the BBC television programme Danny Dyer’s Right Royal Family, which was broadcast on Wednesday evening (January 23). This should have been an interesting topic but was completely ruined by the continuous stream of foul language and expletives uttered by Dyer throughout the programme.

For him then to highlight the contents of the swear box resulting from his use of foul language only served to exacerbate my disgust.

I was brought up not to swear in the presence of ladies, clearly Dyer was not raised to the same standards and I am appalled that the BBC could broadcast this tirade of foul language at peak viewing times.

I will not be watching part two. This follows his disgusting award acceptance “speech” at the National Television Awards the previous evening.

Dyer is a perfect example of the lowering of the standards of decency which is occurring in this country, aided and abetted by the BBC.

J D Myers, Northallerton


WHEN MPs pass new laws, the legitimacy of their actions is founded on the promises made to voters in their election manifestos.

If they act in direct contradiction of those promises they are no longer acting as representatives but as dishonest and self-interested individuals.

This is an abuse of parliamentary power. Both the main parties promised that we would leave the EU on March 29. Nobody said anything about delaying or stopping Brexit or even holding another referendum.

To have any legitimacy, these ideas first need testing in a general election to see if the people agree with them. We all know neither main party would stand on such manifesto promises which highlights just how undemocratic these parliamentary amendments really are.

Robert Birch, Brompton


OVER the six years we have been operating, Hambleton FoodShare has received generous support from our communities.

This Christmas and New Year we have been amazed at this generosity which has been greater than we have ever known.

Because of this we have been able to provide special Christmas parcels in addition to the regular food parcels.

Customers, particularly children, had a happier Christmas than they probably were expecting.

Gifts come from organisations, schools, businesses and churches, but many are from individuals who we don’t know.

We should like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who has supported us, not only this Christmas but throughout the year.

Without you we could not provide help to people, who because of financial crisis, cannot provide the food they and their family need.

We want to give time for the causes of the crisis to be dealt with.

There is no sign of an ending for Hambleton FoodShare. We are committed to being a channel for compassion of our communities for as long as the need is there.

Thank you again for your generosity.

Michael Webster on behalf of Hambleton FoodShare, Northallerton