Road closure

IT is with great dismay that the Brompton convenience store is suffering along with other local businesses due to the closure of the main road through Brompton (D&S Times, Feb 1).

North Yorkshire County Council’s head of strategy, Allan McVeigh said the council has every sympathy with the shop owner, but the work is developer funded and Taylor Wimpy had unexpected problems.

Taylor Wimpey said: “We make every effort to minimise disruption."

The road was closed on October 8, 2018 and was used as a storage area for three months with no highway work being carried out. This appeared only to be to the benefit of the contractors so they did not have to pay for traffic control which gave them better access to the construction site with no interruption from the residents of Brompton.

The local county and borough council’s headquarters are not interested as they will soon will be receiving about £1,800 on average in rates from each of the new properties being built, so a few complaints from locals is nothing for them to worry about.

Not to mention that diverted traffic now has to use a 7.5-ton weight limit road that is very difficult for two large vehicles to pass on and virtually impossible to walk on as it is very dangerous with no public footpath in either direction.

This also must have affected local pubs, especially The Green Tree. It just goes to show the total lack of consideration given by all concerned in the planning and building of Thurston Park housing estate towards the business and residents of Brompton for allowing this dangerous state of affairs to exist.

So, when these councillors and local MPs next need our votes, I would ask that instead of sending out large glossy leaflets to every household telling us what they would like to do for our community, they should write on the back of a postage stamp what they can do, as this would make a bigger impact on the community than anything else they have done for us so far.

Malcolm Read, Brompton

Who benefits?

THE traditional road into Brompton has now been closed off to all vehicular traffic and the implications are now becoming increasingly evident. When the planned development of the new estates by Taylor Wimpey were published those of us who viewed them were initially impressed by the idea of a route from Darlington Road through the estates to Stokesley Road so bypassing the Low Gates crossing.

We relied on our representatives North Yorkshire County Council and Brompton Town Council to consider the proposals and act on our behalf in terms of implications for our community. Not so, a big mistake!

It is now becoming clear that the only way of keeping the road open would be some form of junction, perhaps another mini roundabout, or crossroads. This would of course involve additional costs. So the easier decision was taken to close off the road.

Who has benefited from this? Not the residents of Brompton, who will now need to access Northallerton by either going left or right at the T-junction, nor the local amenities in the form of our only corner shop, now struggling to survive, nor the bus companies who used Northallerton Road as a regular route for their buses, nor those who relied on these buses, nor the new residents of the estates being built on the wet lands either side of Northallerton Road.

On the plus side are the residents in the new cul de sac, though I doubt they were consulted about the road closure, Taylor Wimpey, who now are not required to plan for continued access along Northallerton Road, a traditional route into Brompton village.

So where does that leave our elected representatives? In particular NYCC and their transport department.

Keith Torode, Northallerton

Lack of faith

AS a senior officer in the North Yorkshire Police when it was both highly regarded and properly run, by a chief constable with a police committee, I found your report on the survey identifying lack of faith in the police very depressing (D&S Times, Feb 8).

Members of the police, fire and crime panel were right to say the instinct of the public is to hold the police in high regard yet we are told the police have now sunk below councils, buses, trains and health services.

Police and crime commissioner Julia Mulligan says it is the result of police being forced to prioritise in the face of pressured budgets and that there are now stresses and strains on the system that are really quite challenging. Yet similar pressures, stresses and strains have surely applied to the organisations now apparently regarded more highly than the police.

What is the difference between the police and these other organisations? It is surely the commissioner herself. The absence of any acknowledgement that she is at least partly responsible is also very depressing. She says officers feel they are being pulled from pillar to post – by whom? The panel was told there are significant levels of dissatisfaction about policing in the county – it has been patently obvious for years that there have been significant levels of dissatisfaction about her.

Despite the "pressured budgets" she wasted money on her ridiculous intention to build a new headquarters at South Kilvington. We have no idea how much the Newby Wiske Hall shambles is costing. She has wasted money on the excessive use of speed detector vans. She apparently has an astonishing staff of 17. We read in your other report that she wants an increase of 10.3 per cent in her budget without giving enough information to reassure the panel. Indeed, she has wasted money on the very survey the subject of your report because if she had her ear to the ground as she should then she would already have known the attitude of the public to the police, and to her, without a survey.

Local Conservatives meet later this month to consider readopting her. The meeting will take place at Tadcaster, just about as far as one can get from the problems she has caused at Newby Wiske, South Kilvington and in Northallerton – is this deliberate? The people of North Yorkshire expect those attending to do their duty and reject her. We deserve better.

David Severs, Northallerton

Police precept

IN a recent letter, I said it was pointless filling in Cleveland police and crime commissioner Barry Coppinger’s survey on the precept because he was bound to go for the maximum increase allowable.

Sadly, my prophecy has come true and the police precept is to increase by 10.6 per cent, a whopping four times the rate of inflation.

How can this be justified when, not only has Cleveland Police failed miserably to keep crime off our streets, but its reputation has been ruined by crisis after crisis?

Barry is doing his best, but this can never justify throwing council tax payers’ good money after bad. We are sick of hearing excuses about alleged inadequate government funding. Only a root and branch restructure will suffice.

Cleveland Police should be abolished with the north going into Durham constabulary and the south into North Yorkshire.

Let’s stop this exorbitant merry-go-round!

Steve Kay, Redcar & Cleveland councillor

Force split

Whilst we see and hear a lot of ambiguity, and hypocrisy in the political world it is becoming obvious despite tribal politics that people are getting tired of hikes in tax, whether it's council tax or the latest Cleveland Police 10.6 per cent increase in their precept.

Many believe that a splitting up of Cleveland Police with South Tees teaming up with North Yorkshire and North Tees going in with the Durham force would provide best value.

Could this be a triple bonus for everyone in these police areas? Stronger and safer together?

George Dunning, Ormesby


WATCHING and reading about the Brexit debates gives me the impression that the pantomime season is not over. Neither the Government nor the Labour Party appears to have coherent policies about how to proceed. Now the Government has set up a Sub Committee “AA” (not Alcoholics Anonymous but Alternative Actions!) to sort out the problems.

The announcement by Nissan regarding its future plans to produce the next generation of cars at Sunderland is another example of the Government’s confusing policies. In 2016, Theresa May made a secret agreement with the company to subsidise the development of two new models in order to keep the company in this country after Brexit. The bribe is said to be £61m. Now Nissan has decided that because of Brexit and other factors to transfer the building of the new X-Trail to Japan and only the new Qashqai will be built at Sunderland with Government funding.

But just down the road at Newton Aycliffe, the Government is not prepared to help Hitachi get orders for rolling stock which is now to be built in Austria. Hitachi’s failure to win these orders puts the future of the Aycliffe plant at risk.

BK Fiske, Darlington


I RECEIVED my statement as to where my taxes were spent in 2017/8 from HMRC the other day.

A grand total of £52 was my “contribution to the EU budget” – £1 a week. However nearly nine times that (£450) was used to pay interest – just the interest – on the national debt.

We get an awful lot for that £52 a year as we are now finding out. To put it in perspective, my contribution to the NHS was £1,300 and “street lighting” £120.

On March 29 we will find out what the true cost of leaving the EU is and it is the young people of this country who will be paying for it – they won’t thank us or our MPs for it.

Philip Knowles, chair, Richmondshire Liberal Democrats


ON January 31, a colleague and I attended a full council meeting at Darlington Town Hall, with contributions (and questions) relevant to water fluoridation. We turned out on a freezing night, but we were not allowed to speak due to a breach of protocol, essentially an addressing error – it was mine, and it will not happen again.

One question related to a 2007 paper showing that silico-fluorides used to fluoridate water around the world (and ten per cent of England’s drinking water) can produce chemicals which may disrupt normal nerve function, and could also explain the mechanism of disfiguring dental fluorosis. Do not believe the mantra that this condition is “cosmetic”. Do the research – join the fight.

The other question related to new data which indicates the incidence of tooth decay in five-year-old Darlington children has declined by 25.4 per cent very recently, while tooth decay in children in the fluoridated West Midlands increased by 9.8 per cent in the same period.

The North-East as a whole now has a seven per cent lower incidence of decay than the West Midlands, and most of the children examined in our region were drinking water without fluoride.

The message to our kids, parents and teachers is “well done – whatever you are doing, keep it up”.

But you should know that mass-medication is on the horizon.

M Watson, Darlington


I AM not a great supporter of either rugby of football but will watch the odd match or two to pass the time.

On Sunday, with nothing better to do, I watched the England versus France rugby match.

Throughout the whole of the game many hard and rough challenges were made by both sides, video playback was called for on a few occasions to clarify a few points and every word made by the referee talking or advising players was openly broadcast for everyone to hear.

Not once did I hear a player backchat or use foul language to challenge the referee’s decision.

It is high time that this stance was made in our football matches, where every word by both referee and player is broadcast for everyone to hear, and fines issued to the minority of foul mouthed, tantrum-prone players.

On a final, sarcastic note, the score was England 44 France 8 – we are a nation not to be messed with (Brexit!).

Ray Vincent, Darlington

Nothing on

THE BBC want to scrap the free TV licence for over 75s. I don’t know why we pay a licence fee at all with all the drivel that’s on, Christmas was a waste of time. The only outstanding programme being Call the Midwife.

On a Saturday night all that’s on are repeats and a crackpot of a show The Greatest Dancer. Now at prime time there is MasterChef. Just how many cookery programmes do we need? There is only so much you can do with food.

The next one will be Celebrity MasterChef. It’s all about cooking and reality shows.

I’m sure someone must have a bit of imagination and revamp some of the old drama shows that used to be worth watching.

John Brant, Darlington