Designer village

I AM amazed that the Scotch Corner Designer Village is going ahead with the intention of opening next summer. The retail sector is having major problems and Debenhams, yet another example, is closing several department stores.

This development might be successful but will prove to be yet another nail in the coffin of the high street in neighbouring towns. It is hardly “sustainable”, as everyone will need to drive there.

Jobs may be created, but how many jobs will be lost in neighbouring high streets?

With good road communication in every direction it would make an ideal centre for manufacturing or even a new village.

Miles Garnett, South Otterington


I WOULD like to make a correction to my letter (D&S Times, April 26). I correctly referred to Cllr Carl Les who made the objectional and incorrect statement about educational standards at Arkengarthdale School. I was wrong, however in linking him with Yorkshire Dales National Park, whose chairman is Carl Lis.

I apologise to Cllr Lis but stand by the rest of my letter. The underlying issue is the lack of basic infrastructure, the responsibility of which lies partly with North Yorkshire County Council and partly with YDNP as planning authority.

David Williams, chair of finance committee, Arkengarthdale School

Rail celebration

THE Stockton and Darlington Railway bi-centennial takes place in 2025. Some people allege the planned redevelopment of York Railway Museum and the area around it - which is highly controversial - is being hurried along to coincide with Stockton and Darlington's moment in the spot light.

York City council announced one week that they wanted to be carbon neutral by 2030. The next week they passed the redevelopment scheme which essentially makes that impossible.

Currently York is one of very few major cities in the UK with a working goods yard which can bring produce into the city. The redevelopment of the Railway Museum area ironically takes that away.

York Railway Museum has a sister museum at Shildon - just outside Darlington. There you can see steam trains in operation if you want. Does York really need to replicate that experience in the heart of York city centre? If you want further tourist attractions in York, open a butterfly farm in one of the parks instead.

The lack of social housing in the York scheme is a major deficiency. The ripping up of Leeman Road without any realistic replacement is just madness.

It is time to take this woefully inadequate scheme back to the drawing board.

This scheme - as it stands - is simply not good enough for York, which is, let us face it, one of Britain's most beautiful and important cities.

Nigel Boddy, Darlington

An epic crisis

NOW we know that the Brexit plan and process are stalled, can we pause to diagnose what went wrong, without resort to insults and the utterly inappropriate language of betrayal, traitors and saboteurs.

We must draw together the best evidence and advice we can, to plan a way forward that unites the nation and achieves the public good. The factionalism and tribal infighting that has dogged the Conservative Party totally, and Labour marginally, must stop.

If we fail as a nation to put pragmatism before rhetoric, the public good before party, will descend either into anarchy or worse, into a form of populist nationalism.

Britain is in a crisis of epic proportions, which requires not extremism but moderation, discussion not threats of disorder, reason not myths. Why are we here? What went wrong, and why?

Cambridge University Professor Andrew Gamble covers this in his, 'Crisis without End' 2014. We are here because of a misdiagnosis of our problems, long and short term, in Britain. We have suffered decades of de-industrialisation at home and the globalisation of capitalism abroad.

Comparative decline was unevenly distributed, with geographically peripheral and coastal areas, the main losers.

At home the dominant policy programme adopted was a mixture of 'do nothing' (or laissez faire), and policies to aid the profitability of now global companies like Amazon, Google, Facebook, Uber, Arcadia, Sports Direct, the foreign owners of our utilities, with de-regulation, tax cuts, diminishing trade unions, privatisations, and privatising our public utilities.

With capital, wealth, jobs, talent already haemorrhaging abroad the Coalition Government decided, short term, to impose a programme of austerity, mainly falling upon those already the losers, while aiding the corporate financial global winners, with bailouts, tax cuts and more de-regulation.

What happened was predictable regional economic decline and social dislocation. It produced anger, divisions, resentments and disillusionment at ineffective government and seemingly, self-serving politicians.

But the powerful, those responsible, managed, as usual, to dodge the blame. Now we must direct our ire to the people who put us up to this: who misled us into blaming our neighbours, claiming that leaving 'was easy', that we would 'take back control' not 'diminish ourselves', that, 'the Germans will roll over as they want to sell us BMW's', that there would be a Brexit bonus bonanza, not the real prospect of endless recession, cuts and hardships. Britain, as a result, has lost world wide political capital and untold billions in wealth.

Please fellow citizens of this wonderful country, don't be fooled again when voting in the forthcoming European elections

Dr John R Gibbins, Sowerby

Record straight

I REFER to a letter entitled ‘Disappointing’ (D&S Times, April 26). To set the record straight, Rishi Sunak voted against an amended motion ruling out a no-deal Brexit, thus, it is wrong to state that he voted for a no-deal Brexit.

The intention was to keep no-deal on the table as a powerful negotiating tool which has now been needlessly squandered. And why would he be obliged to state his views on Europe two years before the referendum took place?

In the interest of fairness and balance, I find myself defending the ERG which, incidentally, is not a splinter party. The group was founded in 1993 by Sir Michael Spicer due to real concerns about continued integration into the European Community through the Maastricht Treaty.

As early as 1952 Winston Churchill said, ‘should uniting Europe take on a Federal form, we must not take part, because we cannot subordinate ourselves or the control of British policy to Federal authority.’ And again, to use his words, ‘we are with them but not of them.’

As to Britain’s influence in the EU, I must point out we are but one of 28 members. Admittedly, we may have more influence than some, but it can be seen that in attempting to improve our position in the EU David Cameron failed miserably, which has led to where we are today.

However, I do detect an element of truth in the letter when it comes to the capability of our politicians to govern an independent nation after being spoon fed by Brussels for more than four decades. And I also question the intelligence of many who sit on the green and red benches, particularly those who pursue their own agendas at the expense of the national interest, such as the SNP.

I must stress there are opportunities to trade with the rest of the world and the Commonwealth in particular who were sold down the river when we joined the EEC.

Rather than timid leadership with Parliament attempting to unravel democracy we need a strong visionary leader. Someone who can explain to ordinary people the enormous opportunities of Brexit and to then forge a clean break from the EU (not a fudge or it will never go away, will it, Mr Farage?)

David Boyes, Spennithorne

No disappointment

I DO not share Susan Latter’s disappointment at Rishi Sunak MP’s support for the option of leaving the European Union without a deal (D&S Times letters, April 26).

My disappointment is at the failure of so many other MPs to do the same. We all know that over 17 million people voted to leave (not just a majority, but the biggest number ever to vote for anything), despite the attempts of so many in power to dissuade them.

We also know that both the Conservative and Labour parties promised to support the referendum result in their 2017 election manifestos.

Theresa May promised over and over again that we would leave on March 29 and repeatedly said that “no deal is better than a bad deal.”

Her failure to keep her promises has caused opposition to her to become rage. It is clear that no one sensibly engages in negotiating a deal without the option of walking away without one – and her very poor Withdrawal Agreement demonstrates that obvious fact.

I do not doubt that Susan Latter genuinely believes that we would be better off staying in the European Union, but the fact remains that the majority of us believe the opposite and voted accordingly.

Her reference to the Whigs and Tories in the 19th Century gives an interesting historical background, but is not really relevant.

Neither the Whigs nor the Tories would have contemplated giving up national sovereignty – and that is what membership of the EU has achieved.

Thomas C.G. Glover, Hunton

MP applause

I NOTE that several correspondents have recently criticised our MP, Rishi Sunak for supporting a no-deal Brexit. To counteract this, I would like to applaud him for his stance as this is exactly what I was voting for in the 2016 referendum.

Ever since joining this unequal club, we have paid in more than we have pro rata received. Only Germany can also make this claim. They don't want us only our money.

Terry Jowle, Leyburn

Poor cobbles

ANOTHER Stokesley council meeting report (D&S Times, April 19), five large columns taking nearly a full page and yet again no mention of the appalling state of the High Street and the cobbles, Springfield, North Road and Station Road.

Are our councillors going around with their eyes closed or not driving cars along these pot holed roads?

Derek Whiting, Stokesley

New housing

I OBJECT to the building of new houses at the end of Sparrowhall Drive in Darlington. My main reason for objection is increased traffic 142 new dwellings would create a significant increase of traffic on Sparrowhall drive, and on to Whinbush Way. There was a nasty accident recently where a boy was knocked over and nearly died. I would hate to see an increased risk of road traffic accidents with extra traffic.

Access to the doctors’ surgery for ambulances could also be negatively affected with the extra traffic, which could cost lives. Sparrow Hall Drive is simply not able to cope with volume of traffic of extra houses things are bad enough now, with extra traffic comes increased risk to people.

Having a four-year-old son whom I have to cross the road daily to Asda, the doctors’ surgery and Whinfield school. The traffic on these roads is already extremely busy, crossing the road is already a worry for me and many parents and elderly residents as cars are parked on both sides of Sparrow Hall Drive.

The traffic going into the doctors’ surgery car park, already makes the end of Sparrowhall Drive dangerous to cross. Increased housing will make this worse. Also there will be an increase in pollution from car fumes, my wife and family already have asthma as well as many other local residents.

I can’t understand why, when there will be record numbers of shops and retail spaces shutting in the town centre over the next few years, we can't repurpose those buildings and brown field sites for housing. We are desperate to have people in our town centres, why not have them live there?

We need to save the green spaces for people to enjoy and use. It's a proven fact spending time in green spaces helps mental and physical health. We also need to save as many established trees and wildlife for future generations to benefit, and to reduce the impact of climate change.

I would also like to query where Darlington Borough Council gets its figures from for this extra-large demand for housing, when it has already built many houses in the last few years and is building more? Surely this is council tax farming at the expense of the environment.

M Gardner, Darlington

A big thank-you

WE at the Ripon Branch of Yorkshire Cancer Research wish to thank Richard Egan F.R.P.S for the spectacular fundraising evening of amazing photography recently held in York. This included wonderful landscapes, sunrises and sunsets and his artistic and tasteful nude photography. The evening raised the incredible sum of £3,500.

The committee also receives donations whenever Richard gives a talk on photography. These donations have amounted to several thousand pounds over the years. Well done Richard, we really appreciate your commitment to our charity.

Jenny Moss and Prue Boddy, Ripon

Shooting birds

REGARDING Chris Packham and co’s successful campaign to revoke general shooting licences at a particularly vulnerable time for chicks and young stock.

Presumably if we extrapolate their line of action, after our avian friends are ‘saved’ our mammals will be next. I look forward to cohorts of rats, plagues of rabbits and mice in every corner.

Our anglers will then be forced to put away their rods. Horse racing will be no more and livestock farming will cease to be. Keeping pets such as rabbits, guinea pigs and canaries will be frowned upon.

All of this stemming from zealots whipping up a frenzy among people who have little or no knowledge/interest in the real countryside and how it works.

I neither shoot nor fish myself now and am more than concerned that our management of the countryside is being misrepresented and systematically dismantled.

Stephen Cocker, Bedale

Friarage Hospital

THE front page (D&S Time, April 26) gave full coverage of the impassioned defence of the changes to its emergency services.

Dr Adrian Clements makes no mention at all of the other services which have been lost.The mental health ward and more recently the Allerton general surgery ward being just two.

Why, when the Trust have been told by Rishi Sunak MP, that there is an agency to supply the medical staff needed, have we been told by the Trust that 'it's not a viable proposition'? Why are the doctors & nurses from Catterick Army base now going to James Cook?

The questions go on and on. Personally I'm waiting for surgery which, before March 27 would have been done at the Friarage. I have been told that I will now be joining the list at James Cook. However the surgeon's list isn't even open yet.

Does this sound like you are providing a better public service Dr Clements?

There's more to a hospital than an A&E department. Or there used to be.

Peter Booth, Northallerton