Unwanted lights

IF the question was "what does Hawes need?" I’d be willing to wager that it would a very long time before someone came back with the answer "traffic lights!"

Yet this is exactly what North Yorkshire County Council wants to impose on the town, not because of a desperate, clearly identifiable, need, but because there’s a pot of money available and it must be spent – on anything!

This crackpot idea first crept into the light of day two years ago when it was presented to a packed, standing room only, parish council meeting. It was laughed out of the room!

To say it was a humiliation for Cllr Don MacKenzie and Richard Marr of the highways department would be an understatement, but when speaker after speaker rose to condemn their proposal they were forced to concede that the proposals had been rejected by the community and would not be taken forward.

It's hard to be more emphatic than that but if there were any lingering doubts, they were removed a few days later when it was reported that the late John Blackie had attended a county council meeting where he had asked CC MacKenzie to confirm that the draft proposals were “dead in the water" and he was given the very clear answer “yes”.

Little did we know because, far from the proposal being filed under “B for Bin”, NYCC set about re-packaging the discredited scheme and have now come up with plans that will see the miles-from-anywhere market town furnished with its very own traffic lights and a signal-controlled pedestrian crossing.

Although the original proposal has been tweaked it’s still a turkey and, unsurprisingly, it still has little, if any, local support.

Could this be why it’s been slipped out now, under cover of Covid-19, because if there’s one lesson Cllr MacKenzie took from the meeting two years ago it’s this: “Never stand in front of an audience in Hawes and try to sell them something they don’t want!”

Shameful and cowardly it may be, but the scheme will probably go ahead, especially as, thanks to Covid-19, there will be no public consultation and, much to their relief, no ritual public humiliation for the likes of Cllr MacKenzie and company.

We thought we lived in a democracy where our opinions mattered. “It’s your decision” we were told. Now we know better.

Dave Emmerson, Hawes.

Traffic management

WITH changes to local traffic arrangements arousing public interest once again, I am reminded that in the early 1980s university courses involving traffic management were among those most readily available.

Perhaps some of the laggards graduated and have now been elevated to positions of authority.

Bryan Butler, Spennithorne, Leyburn.

Considered replies

YOUR correspondents, Gus Pennington and Alison Clarke (D&S Times letters, July 3) don't like the answers our MP Rishi Sunak gives to their letters. Fair enough.

But I find that on the numerous occasions I have written to him about a big range of subjects, he always gives a thoughtful and considered response.

In many instances I haven't agreed with him but he respects my view and in turn I respect his.

Frankly, I'm amazed he found the time to respond to their letters given the task he has on his plate at the moment which seems to be saving the UK economy singlehandedly – and making a damn good fist of it.

Ben Smith, West Tanfield, Ripon.

Virus origins

IS this Covid-19 virus from God or from some activity of man, or is it just one of those things we get like flu or colds?

I don’t know, but God has allowed it to happen, and amidst all the sorrow and trouble people have shown so much loving kindness to one another.

There is a story in the Bible about when the people disobeyed God he sent a plague of snakes among them.

When they repented their sin, God told Moses to make a model of a snake on a pole and set it up.

The people looked at it and were healed of their bites.

This is like Jesus on the cross. He takes away our sins when we look at him there and see how he suffered and died in our place.

If we believe this and try to live a good life, God will forgive all the wrong we have done, and will take us to Heaven when we die.

Jesus loves us so much he was willing to take the terrible punishment for our sins.

Jean Allison, Northallerton.

Flood prevention

I READ with great interest your article issue covering the inquiry into the massive flooding of the Dalton Bridge area in February of this year and the failure of the prevention scheme (D&S Times, July 3).

There has been an inexcusable failure by the designers of the flood prevention scheme to take any account whatsoever of local knowledge and advice offered by local people at the design stage.

It was blatantly obvious that the scheme could not possibly work if the section of Dalton Lane nearest to the A167 was not raised.

This section has flooded every single time there has been heavy rain in years gone by.

I have seen HGVs stranded with flood water almost to their windscreens in this very spot.

All this was made perfectly clear by many locals along with myself at the public consultancy meeting at the design stage. I also provided photos of this road submerged in previous flood times.

It was completely ignored. Unbelievable! Will anyone be held to account, I doubt it very much in these times of unaccountability.

To save any more red faces I strongly suggest that the powers that be take a very close look at the stretch of Dalton Lane towards Dalton village just beyond Greystones. This is part of the access to the industrial estate.

This also floods and is impassable every heavy rain and was also ignored in the main scheme.

Lawrence Whiteley, Dalton Bridge.

Gas extraction

I AM responding to your report “Approval for gas operations until 2035” (D&S Times, July 10) that Third Energy is asking for approval of a plan to expand the natural gas extraction in the Pickering area by pumping.

The methane gas will then be burnt to generate heat which in turn will generate electricity.

There is a major problem with these plans that appears to have been forgotten by central government.

The burning of the fossil fuel, methane, will dump carbon dioxide into our atmosphere and produce more global warming.

There is no suggestion that Third Energy lock away the waste carbon dioxide, yet we are suffering from high temperature rises around the world leading to many serious problems including flooding in North Yorkshire and extreme weather events.

Our political leaders need to wake up to the situation and stop now all processes that add to global warming.

Michael Chaloner, Green Party Secretary to the Richmond Constituency.

NHS boost

AS the government steps up its Brexit preparations I trust it will announce when the £350 million a week sent to the EU will start to fund the NHS as promised with so much enthusiasm by Boris Johnson and his chums on the Brexit bus.

I fear the silence could be deafening.

Sue Barton, Sessay, Thirsk.

NHS car parking

IT is iniquitous that hospital car-parking fees should be re-introduced for NHS workers as we head out of lock-down. Clapping and rainbows are not enough.

It is surely incumbent upon the Government to cancel all car-parking fees for NHS workers for the foreseeable future and show appreciation in a practical way for all their tireless work over the past few months.

Could not the North-East lead the nation by putting pressure on the Government to reinstate free hospital car-parking for NHS workers?

Here in the North we have a voice. Let us use it now.

Caroline Harvey, Middleton Tyas.

Market traffic

A LETTER from R Davison to your pages regarding Northallerton High Street being closed to traffic on market days "High street" (D&S Times letters, July 3) has moved me to respond.

Hambleton District Council has closed the road to traffic in order to facilitate social distancing and increase the safety of all users of the High Street whether they be shopping at market stalls or in the local shops.

It is an imaginative and creative move and should continue even after the Covid-19 problem has gone away – if it ever does.

I have visited the markets on several occasions since the stalls were allowed to function again and have found the new arrangements far more comfortable and spacious for shoppers, who can now browse the stalls without falling foul of queues waiting for admission to shops, and over-crowded pavements.

It is also better for the traders who have space to spread out sensibly in order to display their goods and supply their customers safely.

The added bonus is that you won’t be flattened by cars when you dare to step off the footpath.

The whole feel of market days is very much more relaxed and manageable.

As for footfall in the shops – our market days certainly increase that and are a benefit to shoppers and shopkeepers alike.

As for parking, the town has on-street parking north of the Friarage Street roundabout and four big car parks, in easy reach of the High Street with a number of walk-through arcades providing access.

East Road is problematic because of the Treadmill development, but this is temporary and when finished will add to Northallerton’s attraction.

It is easy to carp and moan when you do not have these decisions to make.

I am very thankful to HDC for their courage in this matter.

Michelle Haswell, Northallerton.

Brexit looms

I DREAMT that the politicians expert in making a U-turn, formerly the Leave campaigners who now make up the current Tory Cabinet, had once again performed a U-turn.

They had returned us to the European Union. Hooray! No Way Huawei!

I woke to reality and the current nightmare. The same politicians, having had four years to prepare for Brexit and now with just five months to go to the end of the transition period, have yet to negotiate a deal.

They are, through their characteristic “dither and delay" mismanagement, steering us towards a Brexit no-deal that will compound the economic woes being inflicted by their coronavirus crisis mismanagement.

We are denied the best U-turn they could have made. Surely, they could have dithered and delayed just once more to get an extension to the transition time to get a good deal for the UK.

John Hopkins, Crakehall, Bedale.

Habitats lost

I HAVE farmed on the boundary of Teesside Airport all my life.

Working on my own most of the time, one of the distractions is the abundance of a wide variety of birds and animals that have thrived on the airport and my own land with little disturbance over the past forty or so years.

What I have witnessed in the past week can only be described as wildlife cleansing.

As part of the first stage of the south side development there has been the total destruction of all habitats as well as some of the history of the airport.

I am not against creating jobs but when you have a vast area of disused runways and link roads already covered in tarmac, could that not be the place to start building resulting in a small amount of disturbance?

So when it comes to the press day for Ben Houchen's grand vision and everyone has gathered in their high viz jackets they will see a landscape devoid of any features.

If only the late nesting birds had been given their chance.

John Hutchinson, Middleton One Row.