No consultation

AS chairman of Brompton Town Council I feel it is necessary to respond to Keith Torode’s letter (D&S Times, Feb 15) in which he implies that it was a big mistake to rely on Brompton Town Council to consider the proposals regarding the road closure and the diversion and act on the residents behalf in terms of the implications for the community.

The facts of the matter are that at the meeting of the council held in October last year there was no indication that the road closure was imminent and the council strongly objected to the lengthy time period indicated in the Traffic Order and the route of the proposed diversion.

Yet within days of that meeting the road was suddenly closed and the diversion put in place without any consultation with Brompton Council. A meeting subsequently took place with North Yorkshire County Council Highways and the developer at which the representative of Taylor Wimpey undertook to investigate why no consultations had taken place.

Brompton Council to this day has still not been informed why that consultation did not happen.

Brompton Town Council has continually and strenuously pressed NYCC Highways and the developer to have proper regard to the concerns of residents.

Indeed these numbered 15 specific points that the council and the community urged be put into effect. Very few of these requests were met and consequently the council approached its local MP for assistance. However in essence this did not prove to be successful either.

It is therefore disappointing that the view has been expressed that Brompton Town Council failed its community in some way.

The next meeting of the council will be held in The Methodist Church on Wednesday, February 27 and all residents are invited to attend.

Barry Martin, chairman of Brompton Town Council

Austerity's end

AT the Conservative Party Conference in October Theresa May announced that the "end of austerity" was in sight. The local councils are in the process of finalising their council tax budgets but there is little sign of the end of austerity with taxes going up and services being cut yet again.

In 2010 the National Debt stood at £1077bn (or 69.9 per cent of GDP). After nearly nine years of cuts in public services, benefit caps and caps on public sector pay how much has the National Debt gone down? Not one penny! The latest figures (March 2018) show that National Debt stood at £1786bn (or 87.1 per cent of GDP) and it will increase further by the end of this financial year.

So nine years of austerity has resulted in almost a two-thirds increase in National Debt. Can you imagine what the Tories would be saying if Labour were in charge?

Things need to change and the local elections in May are a chance for us to demand better for this area.

Philip Knowles, chair of Richmondshire Liberal Democrats

Tree sculpture

YOU devote the front page photo, and half a page and another photo on page seven, to the tree sculpture at a refurbished bed-and-breakfast business (D&S Times Yorkshire edition, Feb 15). I wish the business well, as I am sure all your readers will.

It’s a brave decision to invest in a business as the government slouches towards Brexit.

But it’s a pity that one, or possibly two, mature trees paid the price to create this sculpture. We need all the trees we have – they are very effective carbon sinks.

When we burn fossil fuels like coal, oil, and gas we release carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. Carbon dioxide causes global warming, with potentially catastrophic results. Trees take carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere and turn it into wood.

Perhaps the business owners will plant a couple of trees – or better still, more than two – to compensate for the ones lost. We can all take action to reduce our carbon footprint, and every step, big or small is worth taking. Perhaps the Darlington and Stockton Times could run a regular feature about positive actions people have taken?

But tackling the climate crisis also needs government action, and that means voting for the only political party that gives environmental issues the importance they deserve – the Green Party.

John Yorke, Green Party Parliamentary Candidate for Richmond constituency

TV drama

YOUR correspondent John Brant complains there is nothing on the BBC (D&S Times letters, Feb 15).

On the basis of the programmes he mentions it looks as though he only watches BBC1.

As for Saturday nights, for the last 15 years or so BBC4 has shown some of the very best of TV drama.

The Scandinavian thrillers The Killing and the Bridge have set new standards and the French Spiral is probably the best cop show on TV.

If you want more humour and some sunshine then there is always the Sicilian Montalbano.

I do realise there is a problem with all these very high quality programmes – they all come from that dreadful place called Europe.

Ian Watt, Hutton Rudby

Pupil protest

I AM heartened to read that children some as young as nine years old not only in the UK but across the world have demonstrated because of the total lack of effort that politicians have put into the problem of climate change, which is the future that we are going to pass on to our children.

This should be extended to include plastic pollution and the reported decline in insect life which is having a detrimental effect to the balance of life of the planet.

The reaction of government ministers over this was quite predictable because they know best, simply telling the children to get back to school.

Brian Tyldesley, Middleham

Captain Cook

WHY is the Darlington & Stockton Times continuing to propagate the falsehood that the Cooks' cottage site in the Cook Memorial Garden in Great Ayton has anything to do with Captain James Cook's early life?

On February 8, Spectator's column commented on "the dig at Captain Cook’s home in Great Ayton". I suspect this derives from an article about this dig at the Cook Memorial Garden in Great Ayton. The article did not appear in our North Yorkshire edition that week but does appear on-line. The article is headlined "Great Ayton dig at Captain Cook's home" and goes on to erroneously state "hopefully find more evidence of the explorer’s childhood."

What rubbish! I've already pointed out in your pages that a reporter was guilty of writing the same myths last year when she referred to the cottage that was on the site of the Cook Memorial Garden as being "Captain Cook's boyhood home".

The facts are that Captain Cook's parents, James and Grace, built that cottage in Great Ayton as a retirement home in 1755 – when their son James was 26 years old. By that time their son had long left (when the family home was at Airey Holme Farm) having become an apprentice shop-boy in Staithes at the age of 16.

In 1755, when the cottage was built, then Master's Mate James Cook was in the merchant navy working on the brig Friendship but in that same year, he left the Merchant Navy and joined the Royal Navy as Master's Mate on HMS Eagle. So he was well past being a child.

Yet still your paper makes fatuous claims that the Great Ayton cottage (now in Australia) had something to do with Captain Cook's early life.

An article in this week's edition is headed "Dig at Captain Cook's home reveals foundations" and repeats the daft remarks that the dig might "hopefully find more evidence of the explorer’s childhood". He may have visited his parents later in during his Royal Navy career but the cottage wasn't even built when he was a child.

Graham Smith, Stokesley

Yarm Fair

REGARDING the report ‘Future of Yarm Fair could be under review’ (D&S Times Cleveland edition, Feb 15), it would seem that there has been some exaggeration regarding accidents at Yarm Fair in October 2018.

1.The incident stated as a horse and rider careering into a crowd control barrier was not witnessed by those present at the event. However, a control barrier did fall over due to it being empty of water.

2.There was a near miss in a stabbing in Yarm, although not within the boundary of the fair. How could this be recorded as a problem when the incident did not take place within the High Street.

3.There was also a near miss when a little girl ran into a car. As the road was closed to vehicles, I assume the car was parked.

The police think that Yarm does not need a police presence as they have to deal with other incidents in Thornaby and Ingleby Barwick. They may be interested to know that Yarm has had a great deal of trouble from youths clashing within the town over the last few years. Is the fair responsible for this?

Is the fair responsible for the recent tragedy in the town. The answer is no, as it is to the trumped up charges brought in as complaints about the fair.

The people of Yarm do not want to lose the fair where the rides and music give all present a wonderful time before Christmas and long may it continue.

Marjorie Simpson, Yarm